(A Reflection on Mark 6:53-56)
A tagline from a famous TV ad back in the late 80’s can fittingly describe the kind of Christianity that is sometimes practiced nowadays. I call it the “Bilmoko” Christianity.
“Bilmoko” is an abbreviated term for “Ibili mo ako”. It speaks of a one-sided relationship werein one party does all the giving, while the other party does all the receiving. One party conveniently asks the other, “Bilmoko nun. Bilmoko nyan.” The other party, on the other hand, readily submits.
Sometimes, we treat God the same way. We come to Him only when we need something. We recite our prayers persistently only when the deadline is near and the bills are due. We go to mass or church services only when the test results are about to come out, or the work assignment is about to come in. We read the bible only when the grave is near and the tumor is real. Yes, sometimes, we think of God only when we’re in a tight fix. Just like many of those people in today’s Gospel…
Jesus was tired and was trying to withdraw to a deserted place, when people started flocking to him for healing and more healing. They came because they wanted to ask and Jesus was willing to give. They came not to give but to receive. They came, not to deposit but to withdraw. They came not to bless but to be blessed.
Even the practice of many churches today subscribe to the “Bilmoko” concept. They preach blessing and avoid preaching on the suffering. They entice people to the reward without demanding from them sacrifice. They attract people to the gift more than the giver. They portray God more like a genie than a father.
I, myself, am not blameless. Sometimes, I think of God that way — a God that I can manipulate and abuse and customize to my own liking.
While it is true that God is a generous and loving God, we must not abuse this reality by insisting on a one-sided relationship. God’s focus is to bless us. Our focus is to love Him. His focus is to save us. Our focus is to live a life of gratitude.
To live for God is to give to God. That’s the way to go!