The Word became flesh, and he dwelt amongst us. God being Creator knew only too well human ways. Jesus’ coming down to Earth served not only divine intentions but proved divine love in human terms as well. “No one has greater love than this, that one lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13. And we all know too well how Jesus did just that on Calvary. The Father was in no minor role either, giving up his only Son to die for all our sins. Great sacrifice. Great love. Great God.
The Lord is Present in our Service
But what does all this have to do with us finding joy in service to the Lord in the BCBP? I believe the strongest reason, though you may have others, of the existence of joy in serving the Lord is because of the PRESENCE OF THE LORD IN OUR SERVICE.
The Lord in calling all of us to service assures us of his PRESENCE: The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshipped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20.
But before we come to a conclusion, take notice of verse 17: When they saw him, they worshipped, but they doubted. Fr. Gerry Orbos SVD in one of his PDI Sunday columns about the doubting St. Thomas said that doubt can be a very healthy thing when it comes to our faith. All of us individually should make it our holy grail or our highest personal journey to find the convincing living presence of the Lord in our very lives. Because the LORD’S PRESENCE CAN BE FELT AND HE IS ALWAYS THE REASON FOR OUR TRUE JOY.
Enjoying the Lord’s Presence
Personally I have the firm conviction that the best place to enjoy the Lord’s presence aside from His sacraments is IN SERVING HIM. Some brothers and sisters may not be aware of it but the MAIN REASON why we are drawn to our assemblies and our mission IS THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD.
This all has to do with another principle in loving and that is “LOVE is best proven in sacrifice.”
Attending the BCBP anniversaries has always spoken volumes of grace to me personally about the saving power of the Lord. I remember that many years ago I had been to this place when there was not even one BCBP brother in it. Several years down the line of mission, sacrifice and brotherly love we found ourselves celebrating with no less than 2000 brothers and sisters from all over the BCBP country. This was at the 23rd Anniversary celebration held in Legazpi in 2003. I don’t know about you but this thought just floors me whenever I remember that event.
And I am sure that many of you BCBP brothers and sisters have had the experience of returning to a former outreach that has now become a full-grown chapter. The missionary memories of sleeping on bamboo benches, in tents on beaches, the loneliness, occasional despair in prayer, and even panic at times, are just golden memories now as the hand of the Lord has broken down all barriers.
The Lord Rides a Tricycle, Too
As the anniversary celebrations wound down late in the evening that time in Legazpi, I was drawn to the entrance where a tricycle was waiting. Even though I could easily have phoned my driver, I hopped in by instinct. I was still in euphoria trying to take in all what the BCBP 23rd Anniversary meant to me when a strong sense flooded my mind, “Didn’t it all start with a tricycle ride?” the inner voice said. Immediately, my eyes were filled with tears. It was the Lord! He was bringing me back to my first hesitation in jumping into a tricycle on our first mission hop in Legazpi. “Yes, Lord, it did! Thanks for pushing me in!” I said. And my heart was flooded with joy as I rode back to my hotel in the tricycle with the Lord.