Who Are You When Nobody is Watching?

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.

You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Peter asked Jesus if this was directed at the apostles, or was that message meant for the entire crowd?
The message Jesus gave to Peter was (essentially), don’t be a slacker! You have to be prepared, because you don’t know the day when we will be called.

I’ve heard it said the true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching. I think this is very true. So who are you when nobody is watching? I like to keep this thought in my mind throughout my day as a reminder, but I digress. I think that message of character applies here as well. Jesus is telling us, through parables, that we can’t just “act the part” at the end. It’s not enough to stand up straight and look ready when the master appears — that will be too late. You need to be ready and doing what is right ALL the time.

The parable ends with a mightier message: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” We interpret that to mean, God expects ALL of us to lead good lives and follow his commandments. But even more will be demanded of the leaders.

Who is a leader? In the church, we have the priests, bishops, deacons, as well as other members of the church leadership. And on a higher level of the church here on earth, we have the cardinals and the pope. But even on the lowest level, Jesus is referring to anyone who might be (or could be) a role model: parents, teachers, leaders in the community.

Keep in mind, we go to church to give praise to God and participate in the Eucharist. But when mass is over, WE become the church. It is our mission to carry. Who are you when nobody is watching? I think we should all strive to be as hardworking and faithful as possible at all times. That would be a good start. You need to be ready and doing what is right ALL the time, not just when it’s convenient or when it’s comfortable to.

It’s important to remember we can’t just be slackers, and show up on the last day expecting a ticket to the show. We have to earn our way in.

Defining Vigilance: What Does It Mean to You?

Have you ever stayed up into the night to care for someone in your family who was ill? Or, if you are a parent, have you stayed up late, waiting for a child to arrive home safely?

Vigilance is defined as the action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties. Defining vigilance personally can lead us to different meanings of the word.

What’s that over-riding feeling you have at those moments? When your parent’s fever spikes to 101, or your baby won’t stop coughing? I just want my loved one to be safe, I don’t want them to be harmed in any way.

I know, personally, as a parent, I’ve actually stood by the window waiting to see that pair of headlights to come down our street, late at night. You just want your children to get home safely, even if it is a half-hour beyond the time you wanted them home from a party.

It’s a nervous emotion, this feeling of vigilance. You need to be prepared.
And that’s what Jesus meant in the message today from Luke:

“Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.”

Jesus then goes on to add that the master will then wait on THEM, those who are vigilant. Indeed, even if the Master arrives in the second or third watch (meaning, later in the night), those who are vigilant, ready and prepared, will be rewarded.

What is the meaning behind the message? Is it to prepare for the end of the world? No. My understanding is first, there is no timetable for His return (it could be in the second or third watch — later than you want!). Regardless, you must remain prepared every day to ward off temptation. You must be ready and prepared to avoid the evil that exists in the world, to continue to persevere in your belief in God and the Holy Family. When personally defining vigilance, that is my definition.

How would you define vigilance, in your words?

God Always Accepts Us Back

Sin, it tears us away from God. While it tears us away from God, many forget that God always accepts. It is our guilt that keeps us from going back to God. God always accepts us back when we have strayed. A terrific post, titled What God Thinks of Sinners (Luke 15:1-10) shared a very wonderful verse that I wanted to share with you:

Luke 15:3-7

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

It justifies the love that God has for each and everyone of us. He does not give premature judgement but accepts us, gives us a chance and welcomes us back into His arms when we go astray. Our God is the God of love and forgiveness. There is none greater than the One True God. There is no love greater than His love. God always accepts us back because he is so great.

Leading Means to Serve, Not to Be Served: Pope Francis

Pope Francis is a man of humility and no one can deny that. Leading means to serve, not to be served and he shows that each day. He chose to live in a humble home, commute, and carry his own luggage. He is a person who does not want to be served. He is a real and great example of a leader whose heart’s desire is to serve and not to be served. He renewed the faith of many Catholics who had lost some of their faith. A great blog: Beyond Hemlines: What A Pope Can Teach Us About Modesty by Deborah Farmer Kris perfectly pointed out how Pope Francis has restored the meaning of humility in its truest sense.

“Pope Francis’ news-making decisions to shun certain “allurements of fashion” is what first endeared him to his new flock. He carries his own bags, swapped the apostolic palace for a room at the Inn of Saint Martha, celebrates mass each morning with rank-and-file Vatican employees, and is driven around in a Ford Focus.”

The Pope’s call for the Catholic Church to be a Church of the poor is a reminder to all Catholics to remain humble and to share. He is a great example to world leaders, that leading means to serve, not to be served.

Make Strides in Your Daily Life

Today I read an interesting post titled, There Is No “Catholic Awareness” Ribbon. Upon reading it, a realization came to light that would probably answer why Catholics are often fond of symbolism. Most of the time, we see pictures of saints, a crucifix, and statues in Catholic homes. This sparks constant arguments with non-Catholics. While I was thinking of this fact, I thought of something else.

Andrew, the author of the blog was offered a pink ribbon for cancer awareness and he declined because he said he already knew about breast cancer and there was no reason for him to be wearing the ribbon. He also wrote about how he bought a new car and hung a rosary in the rear view mirror. The rosary ended up being a reminder for him to be kind on the road.

So my realization was that crosses, rosaries, and statues of saints can help make strides in your daily life. These strides can be like Andrew being kinder on the road, or they can be seeing a rosary and deciding to pray more that day. They help us be aware, and be constantly reminded that we should love our daily lives according to our faith and according to the teachings of God.

Getting Involved at Your Local Parish: Don’t Be Nervous

I believe that there are a lot of individuals who want to belong in their Church community or parish but some are hesitant. So why would they be hesitant to get more involved? Getting involved at your local parish should be easy right? Based on my own experience, it’s not that easy. People get really nervous about things when they don’t know what to expect. I was afraid of not belonging when I wanted to start helping out more at my local parish. I was scared that no one would accept me and I would not know anyone in the ministry to talk to. This is normal, but sometimes leaving your comfort zone to doing something new can be amazing. I started helping out with my parish’s catechism program for children, and I love it! I’ve met so many amazing people.

If you are having the same fears I did, try reading this blog post from HDYDI: Find Your Church Ministry. If I read it before I got into the Church Ministry, it would have helped me decide to join in sooner. I found her post easy to relate to.

If your desire is to serve God, he will pour his blessings down on you and open opportunities for you to be exactly where you want to be.

Let Us Not Be Divided

The blog post One in Christ featured on Roses Near Running Waters, gave new insight today. Well, perhaps not that new but an age long plea. The blog post shared a wonderful verse:

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)”

God has called all of his believers to be united in the name of Jesus. Let us not be divided! No matter what the religion and the differences in beliefs and traditions, all Christians believe in one true God and the God of salvation. God calls for unity of those who believe in him, and I am hoping that people will listen and understand that it is now more than ever that we need to be united in the name of Christ. I believe that what keeps us all divided is pride, we need to recognize this and set it aside. This should be so, so that we Christians, the warriors of Christ might begin our true purpose as servants and disciples of the Lord. The faith is waning and more people are tearing themselves away from our faith while we stand and watch doing nothing.

May God give us the strength to recognize our weakness, accept it, and correct it for the glory of God. Let us not be divided, we are so much stronger together.

A Beautiful Psalm: My Thoughts on Psalm 121:1-2

I read an inspiring verse at Writing Sisters titled Draw Near to God:

“Day Three: Taking time for the journey

I lift up my eyes to the hills –

where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,

the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 121: 1-2″

Upon reading this beautiful psalm, I had a personal moment of realization. I just thought that through all my troubles, when no one was there to rescue me or to lift me up from a difficult situation, God has always there to come to my rescue. He never fails-Never! I sometimes feel like whenever I call for help, help will always come, with no delays and in perfect timing. God’s timing is always perfect.

God made the world wonderful and he created many wonderful things within it. His providence is not only on our basic need but also provides for rescue in our day to day endeavors. Our God is a God of love and is a God of generosity. The beautiful psalm reminded me of this today.

Pope Francis Calls for Social Justice

The leader of the Catholic Church has received some criticism because of his thoughts on humility, freedom, and responsibility. I am a personal admirer of the Pope Francis, and Pope Francis calls for social justice. More specifically I am referring to his views on helping the poor. I feel that he represents the image of Jesus quite well because he is humble, wise, and he keeps a poor spirit. So why is he now being scrutinized? Mostly because he has shown love for the poor, he dedicates himself to the poor. Often are his speeches and prayers directed to the poor. People have asked, what about the rich? Personally, I think that this is a call for contemplation for those who have much to give, not a condemnation of them. As a recent article states:

“We must not equate every call for social justice to communism. Justice is most possible amid a culture of freedom, but freedom also requires responsibility to one another.”

You can read more from this thorough blog post titled Really, is Pope Francis…a communist? In defense of one of my favorite people in the whole world, I do believe that freedom requires responsibility and we must learn to face this fact. This means caring for our fellow human beings, especially those who are struggling.

Martyrdom Through the Ages: From Ancient Japan to Today

We are all lucky because we do not have to go through the same form of persecution that some Japanese Christians had to endure long ago. Back in ancient Japan, Christian believers were tortured and killed just because of their faith in God. It surprised me to read about martyrdom through the ages because it has been so vicious and cruel. When St. Francis Xavier went to Japan, he planted the seed of Christianity well into the minds and hearts of Japanese people. So well in fact, that it grew to great numbers. The believers increased to two hundred thousand strong and that alarmed the authorities. Deviating from the religion that they were used to, these numbers were seen as a threat. Many were punished and tortured to death.

Today we are faced with a different kinds of torture. The media, the people, and the ways of the community are constantly enticing us to deviate from the teachings of Christianity. We may not be physically tortured but we are constantly tried. We do not need to run away from soldiers, but we need to keep away from the things that break our souls and weaken our faith. Read more from an inspiring blog post featured on Crisis Magazine called Lessons Drawn From The Japanese Martyrs. Of course, martyrdom has existed since even earlier than ancient Japan. However, my main point was to show that martyrdom has existed for a long time, and despite its changing form it will exist forever.