Be bold! Be brave!

YOU must be bold and brave to exercise your prophetic role nowadays. You must be willing to suffer, to undergo hatred, condemnation, ridicule, and persecution. For your beliefs and principles may not go along with the popular ones, with any political party or religious leanings. They may not even be in congruence with the views and positions of president and the senators of your country. They may not even agree with the opinions of your family members and friends.

But if in your heart and conscience you know that you are right, then you must speak up!

If you are a Christian and you know the life, ministry, and teachings of Jesus Christ, then the words you speak and write must come from the Person of Christ and the Gospel he preached. You know very well that Jesus came to bring mercy and forgiveness to sinners and help for the poor. He came to bring healing and compassion to those who suffer from all forms of sickness. He came to grant hope and consolation to those who feel alienated from the society.

You know that Jesus came to bring life, not death, unity, not division, and peace, not rebellion. He came to show his love and care for people of all races, religions, languages, and cultures.

So why would you have doubts and fear about what you think, say, and write? Why would you be concerned about those that do not agree with your viewpoints? Be bold!  Be brave!

You speak up in the name of Christ, on behalf of God.  That’s what a prophet does.

If your mighty and the not-to-mighty works bring smiles and hope in people, if they alleviate their sufferings even for just a bit, then, by all means, keep proclaiming these testimonies of faith. If your deeds have the power to inspire people to love and to be kind to others too, then keep preaching about these actions and the meanings they convey.

It’s what Jesus did in this Sunday’s Gospel. He kept teaching his people and reaching out to their needs despite their rejection and doubt. As long as the sick got healed and the people felt loved and cared for, he bravely continued with his mission and purpose.

You may not be perfect. You may be a sinner like others. You may have faults. You may have made mistakes in your life. Own your imperfections and keep on loving, caring, and being kind. Anyway, it’s the grace of God that empowers you. Remember these words from the Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”

Once again, be bold and brave! Christ’s power is with you!

 

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From a Filipino immigrant family, Reverend Rodel G. Balagtas was ordained to the priesthood from St. John’s Seminary in 1991. He served as Associate Pastor at St. Augustine, Culver City (1991-1993); St. Martha, Valinda (1993-1999); and St. Joseph the Worker, Canoga Park (1991-2001). In 2001, he served as Administrator Pro Tem of St. John Neumann in Santa Maria, CA, until his appointment as pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary, Los Angeles, in 2002, which lasted 12 years. His term as Associate Director of Pastoral Field Education at St. John’s Seminary began in July 2014.

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