Why can’t we hear God’s voice?

In today’s Gospel reading, we read the story about how Jesus healed the deaf man:

[Jesus] took [the deaf man] off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”) And [immediately] the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. — Mark 7:33-35

Most of the time, we cannot hear God’s voice because there are obstacles that are preventing us from hearing Him:

  • Our busyness
  • Our daily worries and anxieties
  • The deadlines we have to meet at work
  • The noises in the real world
  • The noises in the world of social media
  • Our sins
  • Our regrets and frustrations
  • Our lack of faith that He truly is present
  • Our laziness to pray

And the list goes on.

Today, let us offer these impediments. Let us offer to God the things that are holding us back from praying, from listening to Him. Let us offer the obstacles that are preventing us from hearing His voice.

For God is always speaking to us, especially in the silence of our hearts. We only need to listen.

 

P.S. In every moment, listen to Him.

For the times we fall short

Let us continue moving forward, despite our sins.

Whenever we sin, whenever we fall short, whenever we make a mistake, it’s easy to beat ourselves up.

It’s also easy to forget that we are God’s children. That He is our Father who loves us, who is always willing to welcome us back with open arms.

Yet, the faith shown by the Greek woman in today’s Gospel reading gives us hope:

[Jesus] said to her, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She replied and said to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.” Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.” — Mark 7:27-29

The context of these verses is that Jesus’ message of salvation is preached to the Jews first, then the Israelites, and finally to the Gentiles. 

Yet, even if the woman felt like a dog, she continued to have faith and God answered her prayer according to her faith.

Sometimes, when we sin, we no longer feel like God’s children. Sometimes, we feel like dogs or even worse.

Yet, God tells us to remain in faith. To continue praying and trusting in His love. After all, even if we are sinners, we remain to be His children. Let us not lose hope or be discouraged because of our sins.

Today, God is picking us up. Let us move forward once again. Let us walk with Him. Let us accept His love and forgiveness.

Let us learn to forgive ourselves as well.

Only by standing up once again can we change our ways. Then, let us commit to changing our lives, to truly repent.

Moving forward

How do you move forward when you don’t feel like it?
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For most of us, we have dreams and ambitions. But, how can we achieve them if we are not willing to put in the work, especially when we don’t feel like it? How do we move forward?

“But what comes out of a person, that is what defiles.” — Mark 7:20

We simply cannot allow our feelings to dictate our actions. Even if our hearts are dejected, even if we are discouraged, we have to move forward.

We need to remind ourselves to be the person God wants us to be and to do what we are supposed to do — even when we don’t feel like it.

Take action even if you feel otherwise. Commit.

"Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will act." — Psalm 37:5

Loving and honoring our parents

What are you doing for your parents?
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For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother shall die.’ Yet you say, ‘If a person says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is qorban”’ (meaning, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. — Mark 7:10-12

When I first joined a charismatic community and attended Bible studies, not only did I spend less time with my parents but also had unfair expectations from them. I expected them to understand me the way people in our community understood me.

When I felt I didn’t get the understanding I wanted from them, it came to the point when I dishonored them by saying hurtful words to them and not giving them the respect they deserve. But the reality is, they understood me. They just loved me in a different way than I wanted them to love me.

How ironic it was that I was attending Bible studies, yet not following God’s commandment.

Honestly, I still don’t know when things changed between us. And I know I still fall short of completely honoring and respecting them at times.

But how I love spending time with them, especially now that I don’t get to spend as much time with them as before.

I wish I could do something for my parents or give them something that they need, but until now, they are the ones who continue to support us, especially when paying for our hospital bills when my wife had to undergo surgery a month ago.

The only things I can give them right now are my time and my love.

One day, I pray that I will once again be able to give them something even if they don’t need it. But while I cannot give them something material yet, I wish to honor them, love them, and spend more time with them.

To my father and mother, thank you for everything. Thank you for your love and support. Thank you for working hard to raise us and provide for us. Thank you for teaching us about God and sharing God’s love to us.

In this little post, I wish I was able to honor you. I love you.

What are you doing for your parents?

 

P.S. While I don’t know when things changed between us, I know how they did. The more I knew about God in my heart, and not just in my head, the more I learned about how much my parents love me.

In sickness and suffering

Are you in pain? Seek God.

In today’s Gospel reading, the people “scurried” about the surrounding country to bring their sick to Jesus so that they may be healed. Without any other way, without any other hope of being healed, they went to Jesus.

They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. — Mark 6:55

Illnesses have a way of bringing us back to God. My wife’s post yesterday reminded me of a paragraph in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC):

Illness can lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes even despair and revolt against God. It can also make a person more mature, helping him discern in his life what is not essential so that he can turn toward that which is. Very often illness provokes a search for God and a return to him. — CCC Paragraph 1501

Are you suffering from any affliction — physical, emotional, or spiritual? Do you have a friend or a family member who is sick?

Sometimes, God allows sufferings so that we will go back to Him and seek Him in our affliction.

Put your hope and peace and joy in God and surrender to His will.

For many of us who are not sick, let us also not wait for sickness and suffering before we turn back to God. Let us also bring God to those who are sick with the strength that God has given to us.

 

P.S. My wife and I are in the fifth month of our pregnancy. Because of my wife’s delicate condition, there is a huge chance of losing our baby. We even had to undergo surgery just to minimize that chance. But in our suffering, we sought God even more and, honestly, I feel that I have grown a lot — in faith and as a person — from our suffering. I have never prayed and trusted like I do now. And never have I been more content, appreciative, and grateful for what I have — especially for the days that our baby is still with us. Because of our sufferings, I also get reminded of what truly matters. Thank you for your prayers for us and our baby.