Catholic Sunday Reflection
by Rev. Fr. Tristan Jasper D. Laforteza
When the late Pope John Paul II visited Los Angeles, California in September 1987, a man named Tony Meléndez performed for him the song Never Be The Same. But Tony is no ordinary singer. Tony was born without arms, and he plays the guitar using his feet. He would usually remark: “When I sing, I hear the Lord.” With his disability, Tony could have lost his hope and gotten mad at God. But instead of resenting his fate, Tony learned to overcome his disability. He did not allow his fate to stop him from learning the guitar exceptionally. Tony’s desire to create a change in his life took him a lot of courage. His reliance on God’s undoubtable presence allowed him to be still and make a difference.
Point #1 BRING CHANGE. We can always bring positive change to our own lives and the lives of the people around us. In the First Reading, the Apostles were successful in responding to those in need. God’s Word says, “A great number of people would also gather from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all cured” (Acts 5: 16). Aside from physical disability, there were other forms of disabilities like broken families, poverty, hopelessness, idleness, crimes, corruption, etc. Truly, we strongly need people who can create good and positive transformation in the world and that change begins with oneself. A simple act such as faithfully obeying the traffic laws makes a difference. What positive change would you like to create in your own life and in the society you live in?
Point #2 TAKE COURAGE. Change will never be possible without courage. Courage is a mental power and moral strength to endure all sorts of difficulties that produce a change.
John, in the Second Reading, mentioned about his own distress and endurance to continue his mission. He said, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid’” (Rev. 1:17). Jesus was giving John a full assurance that those who follow Jesus will have nothing to fear. Hence, we are called to be courageous to withstand challenges in life. I remember the words of an author, “The Winner says: ‘It may be difficult but it’s possible.’ The Loser says: ‘It may be possible but it’s too difficult’.” What holds you back from accomplishing something great for yourself and for others? Do you allow negativity to overpower you?
Point #3 KEEP CALM. In the Gospel, it was said, “Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands’” (Jn. 20:26-27). These words of Jesus remind us to keep calm and to outdo emotional instability. Jesus summoned His disciples to relax and to feel His undoubtable presence. We cannot perform our mission and duties well if we are rattled. We will continue to live in fear until we find our Center and that is Jesus who gives us courage and strength.
Whenever I hold special parish events, I find a quiet place to sit down, pray, and make a list of things I need to accomplish ahead of time. Praying and planning help me to be more creative and productive as I go through every preparation. Indeed, the post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus remind us to keep calm and be free from all worries. This is possible if we put our trust in Him. What are the worries or anxieties that consume you?