By Ronnie Caballero, BCBP Makati
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19-20
The 7th National Catholic Charismatic Congress (7NCCC) which ended last June 7, 2015 at the SMX left an indelible mark on me in more ways than one. One of the most memorable segments was Fr. Herb Schneider’s sharing about his early Catholic charismatic experiences in the late 60’s in Germany as a ‘baby’ priest.
Among the priests who experienced the ‘renewal’ at that time, there was this unstoppable urge to keep talking about the Lord and the experience among each other. It became so uncanny but pleasant that neither the time nor the repetitiveness of their sharing Jesus with each other almost would not come to an end. Their desire to share Jesus and to find opportunities to do so soon brought out their identity as “The Jesus People”. Fr. Herb described it as an accompanying experience with Jesus that would never leave him wherever he would go.
This was clearly the reason why the BCBP had a profound experience on me and many others who would accept ‘the invitation’ to taste and see.
This was an experience that resonated with me in my initial contact with the BCBP breakfast in the summer of 1986. Upon entering the Metro-Club breakfast I was greeted by people as if they had known me for years immediately making me feel ‘at home’. Upon sitting down, people were genuinely interested in who I was and how I made it to the breakfast. Before the sharing started, the music was so different than I had ever had heard before (being a rock music buff then). The opening prayer by the emcee was said in a way I had never experienced before in my nominal Catholic life. And the ‘sharer’ and his story had this special ‘glow’ and warmth that penetrated my inner being and yearning that I had never been aware of before. This had me coming back for more week after week after week.
Now, I understand! Jesus was in the greeters. Jesus was in the fellowship at the table. Jesus was in the opening prayer. Jesus was certainly in the ‘sharing’. But more importantly, Jesus accompanied me from the breakfast, to my office and to my home! Jesus never left me even after my wife and I completed the BCLP No. 11 without an absence. And it has been 29 years of His accompanying presence ever since! Alleluia!! Jesus People had brought me to Jesus!
The wonderful thing about other 7NCCC revelations was that the Lord Jesus is just about to get started! In the 50 years plus of Catholic charismatic experiences, we thought we had seen everything already but there is more, much more fire to be seen!
My take on all of this is we have to keep that fire of being ‘Jesus People’ that the Lord needs day in day out in His many ministries and communities. All of us have unique gifts that the Lord has spread and prospered for the sake of His church and for the unchurched.
“Jesus People” are the evangelizers that the church needs in this new evangelization we need to undertake. “ Jesus People” are the salt of the earth overflowing with their loving encounter with the Lord ready to share the same with others. “ Jesus People” are those who have found their treasure in the Lord. “Jesus People” are those willing to travel through the narrow gate and road following Jesus. ”Jesus People” are those who know that it is Jesus who makes all things possible and not themselves. To become “Jesus People” we need to follow Jesus no matter how tough the narrow road may be.
One of ‘The Word Among Us’ reflections says: “ Following Jesus requires precision and exacting care about how you use your time; what you read or watch or talk about; where you seek spiritual, mental, or emotional consolation; where you find pleasure and how you amuse yourself. It takes patience chiefly with yourself as you try to make your way, and fail, try again and again and again…..If the road seems too hard, remember Jesus wants to give you everything you need. He enjoys giving you the precision and endurance and faith you lack…. He is on your side. He is by your side. He will help us along the way.”
Let us keep the fire burning O Jesus People!!