On behalf of the BCBP Board of Trustees and my family, allow me to greet all of you, my brothers and sisters in Christ a very Joyous and Merry Christmas.
Allow me to start my Christmas message with a short story about Jesus Christ and Santa Claus having a conversation. It goes something like this…
Sabi ni Hesus, “Naiinggit ako sa ‘yo, Santa, at nalulungkot!”
“Bakit naman Hesus, birthday mo pa naman ngayon. Bakit ka nalulungkot?” Tanong ni Santa.
Sagot ni Hesus, “Eh, paano naman hindi ako maiinggit at malulungkot, birthday na birthday ko nga ngayon, pero bakit ikaw na lang ang palaging hinahanap ng mga tao tuwing Pasko! Nagdadasal pa ‘yang mga yan, sana bigyan ako ni Santa Claus ng ganito, ng ganire, ng bagong cellphone, ng bagong damit, ng malaking LED TV, ng malaking bonus para makapagpa-face lift kay Belo, at marami pang dasalin.”
Tanong ni Hesus “Papaano naman ako? Pati nga regalo, nakakalimutan na ako !”
Isn’t this story so true! We are so busy every Christmas season buying and giving gifts to everybody. We spend a lot of time thinking about what to give so and so. Ano kaya ang gusto niya, we ask ourselves. Then we even spend so much time wrapping our special gifts in wonderful, colorful paper in order to please our friends and family. Then come Christmas day, we all attend mass together thinking and feeling good that it is enough of a gift, a homage for our Lord Jesus. But is it?
Tonight, Jesus is asking each of us “What about me? What gift have you brought for me? Ano ang regalo mo para sa akin? It is a question each of us has to answer tonight and every night before we go to sleep. What gift have you brought for Jesus ?
I read an article last Sunday about the Skoll Foundation founded in 1999 by the owner and president of eBay, Jeff Skoll, citing the Gawad Kalinga Foundation for its social entrepreneurship, one of only four organizations in the world to receive an award this year for its sustained fight against poverty. What caught my attention in the article were two statements by Tony Meloto, founder of GK.
One statement he said was “The Skoll Award is an affirmation of hope-builders and poverty-busters.”
The second statement Tony Meloto said was “Gawad Kalinga was established in 1995 because I wanted to be a practicing Christian, not a preaching Christian”.
Three thoughts I offer you if you are looking for what to give our Lord Jesus Christ tonight.
First, be a hope-builder. How? By doing good and encouraging everyone to do good just like what Jesus did with his life. He went about doing good thereby giving hope to everyone He met all for the glory of God.
Second, be a poverty-buster. How? Reach out to the poor, to the less fortunate. Be engaged with the poor. For example, it is not enough to pray for those who have been ravaged by Sendong. Prayers are good, but better to reach deep into your pockets and donate to the calamity fund of the Brotherhood so that we can do much more. Stretch yourselves, brothers and sisters, in helping the poor. We should thank the Lord for the generosity of members. The calamity fund contributions for Sendong victims exceeded Php 1.5 million in so short a notice.
Third, be a practicing Christian. This I believe is the overarching challenge to each one of us. The best homage and gift to Jesus Christ is the gift of ourselves to Him. A gift of commitment. A gift of submission of our will to his. A surrender of our lives to Jesus. To practice and follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ. Be a practicing Christian. To love much those around us, spurred by the love of Jesus for us.
Colossians 3:12-17 comes to mind.
” Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another… And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
As this year ends and the new year dawns on us, we thank God for all the outpouring of blessings on each one of us, our community, our livelihood, our Church.
In a special way, I and the rest of the Board of Trustees whose term of service will be ending this year wish to thank everyone for all your prayers and support. I thank our wives and children for understanding the times we were away serving the community. Next year, our Brotherhood community will have a new set of leadership led by Bro. Manny Jimenez as our incoming President. Prayers for Manny and Reggie, Bong and Beng, and the rest of the BOT and Mancom will be great but your active involvement and service in the BCBP will even be better.
Lastly and most of all, Fe and I thank the Lord for the gift of service, the opportunity to go out and serve Him. It is not the end of course because we will continue to be at the Lord’s disposition in the future.
In closing, Have a Christ-filled season everyone and may our Lord bless us all in the coming year.