a work by Jose Dennio P. Lim jr.
I cannot consider myself as an ardent and faithful follower of Christ. Just like everyone else, I do get swayed by temptations easily and fall into sin. But despite that, I'm trying hard to follow his living example.
Lately, I had been finding myself engaged in deep reflection. I've been trying to scan the past 20 years of my life if I had been able to do something for Christ and if I had been able to somehow live out his examples in my life. Well, I found some.
There had been several instances wherein I had been able to give alms - specifically food. I had also tried to become active in several church-based and Catholic organizations (like YFC and SFC). I had been also, once in my life, tried to pray the rosary everyday that lasted for quite some time. I had also been attending mass regularly (though there had been times that I had not been able to). I had tried to put up a blog in the past that tried to defend Catholic doctrines and teachings (inspired by the relentless attacks by INC and Ang Dating Daan). And just recently, I had been religiously visiting the adoration chapel to spend some time in prayer.
But as I look in each action that I did to follow Christ, none of them had been really of service to him.
The Mass (for Catholics) is the highest form of worship that we can ever give to Christ. It is the time wherein we are all gathered in front of Him to praise and worship him. But for me, even if we regularly attend Mass, it is no sign that we are indeed following Christ's teachings on love.
We can sing our hearts out for him, actively participate as a lector, commentator or lay minister, give thousands of pesos to the church or feed the poor. But these things are not enough. Even Christ recognizes that.
He rebuked the Pharisees and Scribes for being too superficial with their faith (Matthew 23).
He reminds us that we cannot truly follow him if we cannot leave behind our riches in this world (Matthew 19: 16-24).
He tells us that we need to take up his cross and follow him (Matthew 16:24).
He asks us that if we truly love him we need to feed the sheep of his flock (John 21:17).
But what do all these bible passages have to do with truly following Christ so we can serve the people?
Christ simply wants us to take the path where most people never even dared to walk through.
As we all know, being an activist or an outspoken critic of the status quo in this country is dangerous. You would surely get killed or immediately tagged by the military as a communist. Leftists in particular, are often criticized for their seemingly irrational acts like the recent events in PUP and UP. Leftists are often branded as barbaric, uncivilized and war freak people who only wanted to sow 'terror' and disturb the 'peaceful life everyone has.'
But what these people failed to realize (especially for Christians), that if they're going to put themselves in the same context that Christ lived, they were the ones who crucified him.
It would be a bit too much to liken activists/leftists to Christ. But, we should also realize that in Jesus time, he was also heavily criticized by these 'holy and righteous people' because Christ had been very radical in his words and action. People then were scandalized to see Him eating with taxpayers, mingling with a prostitute and healing lepers. They could not accept then that a 'man' like Him would claim to be the Messiah and God himself.
He was decried by many for his breaking the rules, disobeying the laws and taking into his fold the most oppressed people of that time.
And while those who claim righteousness are busy in bringing Christ down, they turn a blind eye to the people whom Christ are evangelizing and helping.
Now, isn't it the same as what these 'civilized' people are doing?
Christ is calling each and every one of us that if we truly want to serve him, we have to serve his people. Sacraments and traditions are okay but they are just the tip of the iceberg. The real meaning of being a true Christian lies in being able to reach out to the people of God and be one with them so that one day we may be truly free - freedom from injustice, oppression and poverty. But he also tells us that it won't be easy. People will see it as scandalous, barbaric, radical, anarchic and an irrational act that only aims to disturb the status quo.
Well, that's what Christ wants us to do.
He want us to disturb the present social order. He wants us to enlighten the people. He wants us to give our all no matter what happens - just like what Christ did on that cross.
He was crucified for simply carrying out the real message of love: service to the people.
Reflect on that my dear friends. Reflect on what happened thousands of years ago on this Good Friday.
And may it enlighten us to truly FOLLOW CHRIST and SERVE THE PEOPLE.
*The title is derived from the call to action (or is it tagline) by the Student christian Movement of the Philippines or SCMP, a militant, progressive, mass-oriented youth organization in the Philippines. For more info about them visit their Facebook Page or see this article about them here.