He Can Beat Them All!: An Easter Message

                     They all felt its power…

 

            …the young drug-addicted teen-ager on the brink of suicide

            …the angry father who lost his family to a tragedy

            …the bankrupt businessman with a pile of rising debts

            …the cancer-stricken young mother of five

            …the grieving parents missing their child who tragically passed away

            …the burnt-out missionary who can no longer seem to see the significance of what he does

            …the inexperienced politician whose only impetus for running is his desire to see change

            …the innocent man behind bars.

 

            Hope…

 

            …that what is barren can be thriving with life

            …that what is empty will soon be filled

            …that what is painful will soon pass away

            …that with every door that closes a bigger window is opened

            …that with every tear follows a smile

            …that with every failure comes the opportunity to succeed

            …that in the midst of darkness, there can be light

            …that in the midst of pain, there can be joy

            …that for him who seems defeated, victory awaits

            …that with every Calvary Cross follows the Empty Tomb.

 

            Peter felt it when he saw the stone moved.

            The Emmaus-bound disciples felt it when their hearts were burning as He spoke.

            Thomas felt it as he dipped his finger on His side.

            Paul felt it as he fell from his horse on the road to Damascus.

            John felt it with every revelation he saw on the island of Patmos.

            Francis felt it when he gave everything away to embrace poverty.

            Kolbe felt it when he volunteered to face the firing squad.

            Karol felt it when he was asked to be Pope.

            Teresa felt it everytime she kissed a leper.

 

            Today, I am feeling it too.

 

            Everytime I pray with my wife and children.

            Everytime I sit down in front of my computer to write an inspirational book.

            Everytime I stand to preach before every crowd day after day.

            Everytime I choose to remain a missionary despite the temptation to pursue a more lucrative career.

            Everytime I choose to love even if it hurts.

            Everytime I choose to sacrifice even if it seems not worth it.

            Evertime I choose to give even without receiving anything in return.

            Everytime I choose to have faith in the midst of the most difficult times.

 

            And you?

 

            You may have felt it too…

 

            When you almost gave up on that dream.

            When you endured that pain.

            When you overcame that addiction.

            When you bounced back from that failure.

            When you held on despite all the reasons to let go.

 

            If you have yet to feel it, then I invite you to open your heart this Easter season. It is there. Available. Abundant. Amazing.

 

            It’s the power of the resurrection. It’s the power of Easter. It’s the power of hope.

 

            That if Jesus defeated death, there is nothing else He cannot defeat.

           

            Not that addiction.

            Not that depression.

            Not that frustration.

            Not that pain.

            Not that insecurity.

            Not that anxiety.

            Not that weakness.

            Not that bad habit.

            Not that wrong mindset.

            Not that resentment.

            Not cancer.

            Not parkinsons.

            Not AIDS.

            Not Satan.

            Not death.

            Nothing else.

 

            The power of the Empty Tomb is but a word — Hope.

 

            Hope in the face of all your challenges combined.

 

            It’s that unshakable assurance within that exclaims this timeless truth: If Jesus has beaten death, He can beat them all…for you!

           

           

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Easter Sunday Reflection: The Miracle Still Happens Today

“…he saw and believed…” (John 20:8) 

On this day four years ago, we lost our dear Dominique.

He or she was only a few months old inside Jeng’s womb when Jeng suffered a miscarriage. It was the most difficult moment in our young married life. We cried. We grieved. We questioned. The tears took some time to dry up. In fact, the pain was too much that we never thought that the tears would.

Nights were long. Days were short. Our sighs accompanied us everywhere we went. The burden of regret weighed heavily on our backs. Questions lingered and remained unanswered for months, even years. 

Today, we remember Dominique. But not for the pain of his/her lost. But for the joy of his/her gain. Yes, we believe he/she has gained the promise of Easter — resurrection with Jesus, a promise we all long to be fulfilled in our own lives.

Bad news: For many of us, it will still be years before we receive the complete fulfillment of this promise.

Good news: We can all have a glimpse of resurrection power now in this lifetime.

Take it from me. I know. As a lay preacher, I have witnessed its power. Just like John in today’s gospel, I “saw and believed” (John 20:8). Tell me…

…Isn’t there resurrection power when a former drug addict turns over his life to Jesus and becomes a missionary?

… Isn’t there resurrection power when a couple grieving over the lost of their only son through SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) can still smile and praise God?

…Isn’t there resurrection power when a young, timid woman is able to spearhead a spiritual revolution in her office?

…Isn’t there resurrection power when a young mother graciously and joyfully handles her excruciating chemotherapy sessions?

…Isn’t there resurrection power when young people choose to live for Jesus and say no to the enticements of the world?

Yes, Christ’s resurrection still happens day after day. We just need to open our spiritual eyes and be sensitive to the different manifestations of its power.

My friend, I invite you to tap on to the power of the resurrection today. The empty tomb wasn’t just an event which happened years ago. It is a miracle that is repeated today, day after day. Look around you. Feel its thunder. It is real. It is available. It is here for you.

Be freed of that bad habit. Restore that broken relationship. Heal that painful memory. Rise above your insecurities. Step beyond your comfort zone. Achieve that dream. Change. Choose. Challenge.

Yes, the miracle still happens today.

Surely, our dear Dominique will attest to this!

A victorious Easter to us all!

Bobby Q.

Black Saturday Reflection: The Transformative Power of Easter

“…then he went home amazed at what had happened…” (Luke 24:12)

“Amazed”…like when you see a magician perform a magic trick?

“Amazed”…like when you witness a tightrope act in a circus show?

“Amazed”…like when you watch a well-made sci-fi movie?

I don’t feel so comfortable with that word “amazed” especially when used in the context of our reading today. But that was Peter’s reaction to the sight of an empty tomb. He was not inspired. Or challenged. Or even encouraged. Just amazed.

How could Peter’s reaction be so lame? He just witnessed the greatest event in history of the world and his only reaction was only one of amazement. But lest we be quick to judge Peter, let us look at ourselves…

Could it be possible that sometimes we also respond that way to the story of Easter? We marvel at the story of Jesus rising from the dead. We cheer for Him. We applaud for Him. We exclaim joyfully the “alleluia”.

But that’s about it.

When Monday comes, we revert to our newspapers, office deadlines, changing diapers and election issues. Pretty soon, our memories of Easter are simply that of Easter eggs and bunnies. Really, I guess we are no different from Peter.

This is sad. You see, Easter is not about simply being amazed. It is about being transformed. It is about being changed from within.  It is about having a total make over from inside out.

Today, I challenge you to make this Easter Season truly different. Embrace its full power. Reckon its full impact. It isn’t enough that we are amazed by Jesus rising from the grave. It is important that we are transformed by it.

Get rid of wrong mindsets.

Let go of negative thoughts.

Turn away from bad habits.

Start making new good ones.

Believe in God’s ability to make your dreams come true.

Rely on God’s capability to fulfill them for you.

Enough of mediocrity.

Raise the bar.

Have more faith. More discipline. More courage.

God isn’t impressed with amazement. He wants to see transformation.

And just like Peter who was eventually transformed by the power of Easter, may we, too, use the reality of the empty tomb to do great things with our lives.

More than amazing indeed!

Bobby Q.

Good Friday Reflection: The Cross is a Positive

“…It is finished…” (John 19:30)

Your thunderous laughter echoed through the halls of hell that late afternoon.

It was heard the moment the last nail was driven. Or when the last sigh was made. Or when the last prayer was uttered. Or when the last tear was shed.

You really thought you won, did you? You honestly believed that you were the victor, eh? You sincerely jumped for joy thinking you finally beat your enemy, right?

Well, now you know your folly.  Now you know how big a mistake that was. You took the bait. You fell into the trap. You made the biggest booboo in the history of the world.

When He said, “It is finished“, you misunderstood it to mean that he was referring to His suffering. Little did you know that He was actually referring to you. That your reign of sin and death is, in fact, over. That your dominion over human souls is finally done. That your era of power has, in reality, drawn to a close.

See what His death has accomplished…

Souls, like mine, have been saved. Sins, like mine, have been cancelled. Burdens, like mine, have been lifted up.  Because of His sacrifice, we can now live in freedom and victory.

Go ahead, Satan. Laugh all you want. The joke is on you. Have you ever wondered why we little humans now have the power to say no to your enticements? Or be at peace in the midst of our worries? Or be victorious in the midst of our struggles? Or remain faithful despite our pains?

Look to the cross. You can find your answer there. For on that fateful day, that afternoon in Calvary, the meaning of the cross changed. From a symbol of death, to a symbol of life. From a symbol of shame to a symbol of salvation. From a symbol of hatred to a symbol of hope.

Have you ever wondered why the plus sign (+) is shaped the way it is?

Jesus’ death on that first Good Friday changed entirely the meaning of the cross.

The cross is now a positive!

And no one, not even you, Satan, can do anything more about it!

Holy Thursday Reflection:Never Too Dirty for A God Who Loves

“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” (John 13:8)

I have a question for you: If your car breaks down, do you fix it first before bringing it to the car shop?

I don’t think so. Because once you fix it, you don’t need to bring it to the shop, right? It’s just logical.

Unfortunately, what is logical in practical life isn’t so practical for most people when it comes to the spiritual life. Let me tell you what I mean…

Some people refuse to go back to God unless they first fix their life. They say:

“I can’t attend that bible study. Let me fix my marriage first.”; or

“I don’t want to join that prayer group unless I am able to give up this bad habit.”; or

“I don’t want to go to mass without first turning away from this sin”.

Some people have this notion that the church is only for the holy and the righteous.  That unless you get your act together, you are not welcome in church. That you need to have a “bad habit-free” life before you can go back to God.

They got it all wrong.

Go back to God first and He will help you fix your life. That, my dear friends, is the proper sequence.

Take the case of the apostles in today’s gospel. 

Jesus didn’t wait for the apostles to clean their feet before He decided to wash them. No, Jesus chose to wash their feet at their dirtiest and filthiest state. Why? To remind us that what he did to their feet, He can do with our souls.

No matter how dirty. No matter how filthy. No matter how soiled. If we turn to God this Holy Week, He can cleanse our souls, purify our hearts and give us all a fresh start.

Jesus said:  

“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”(John 13:8)

Go ahead. Admit your shortfalls. Repent of your sins. Resolve to do better. Re-dedicate your life to God.

Remember, just like the apostle’s feet, your soul is never too dirty for a God who loves!

A blessed Holy Thursday!

Bobby Q.