I feel more than blessed today as I received God’s Scandalous Grace.
What a word to describe how bountiful God’s blessings are; and God never asked for a plethora of thanks and worships. Our God is a silent God who gives us more of what we deserve and forgives us even when our sins are boundless. His blessings pour on us immensely.
These are the thoughts I embraced while feasting with other HWR attendees of The Feast Alabang from all walks of life. God’s words are astounding and utterly life changing and I wasn’t just the one who substantiate that — there are many who can testify how God’s words assembled their unorthodox lives.
And I witnessed how my life changed in 3.5 hours of listening to him and worshiping him. Let me share you what transpired during the HWR 2015 at The Filinvest Tent
In the morning of Black Saturday, I invited a friend from the office to come and attend the last day of recollection since we’re just nearby the area. She willingly agreed to come, of course. The venue was filled with people who wanted to be spiritually blessed that day and the view was just overwhelming that I had goosebumps all over me.
My favorite spiritual builder was, of course present in the event; Bro. Arun Gogna who at that time preaches His words with all his wit that you’ll be ashamed to have the guts to yawn. He went on telling the story of that one and only man who called Jesus by his name – Dimas (the Good Thief at Jesus’s crucifixion) who pleaded to the Lord,
“Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).
And he replied:
“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Reflecting on numerous sins I have made, I felt being the Dimas of the modern day. I realized the reason why I was there that day. He called me. He wanted me to seek Him because I have a direst need of Him. He called us. He wanted us to seek Him.
It was such a lively talk that even us who just came out from graveyard shift managed to swallow and digest the scriptures he delivered. Brother Arun’s constant reminder that ” YOU ARE NOT ALONE” made me feel God’s presence all the time. And we sang to our hearts content.
Emcees then called Sis Chol Cordero to share her testimonial of God’s will to mankind. She wore a black blouse and I can feel her grief as she started to speak. Her voice cracked as she spoke every memories she recalls. Sis Chol Cordero; a wife to a beautiful and responsible husband; Had a 17 year old charming and athletic daughter; Still a mother of 4 adorable children, is none but a tough woman who endured the pain of losing a husband and a daughter. I felt her pain throughout her testimony. She said she knew that God was in charged that fateful day her husband and daughter battled for their lives. It dawned on me that I use to complain with little things I don’t have, I have lost, I cannot have and there’s this woman who lost two of the most precious people in her life yet, she didn’t complain or asked God for an answer why she was given that kind of pain. She believed in God. She believed that God has a concrete plan for her.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
To complete the celebration, the crowd welcomed Rev. Fr. Mario Sobrejuanite, the priest who is seen on television every Sunday morning preaching the Word of God, as the Guest of Honor to end the 3-day-Recollection. We know how boring it is attending a regular mass, right? But Fr. Mario nailed it. He did not just awaken the crowd, he also gave us a very entertaining time to listen to God’s powerful words. He imparted the story of Lance Raymundo (yes, the singer/celebrity) who have just undergone a challenging mishap and instead of exhibiting grudge and getting even to justify the circumstance, he left everything to God. According to Lance, 3 things are essential for healing: Forgiveness, Detachment and Seek God.
Lance felt the most intense pain. Blood covered his eyes but he could hear his trainer crying in Tagalog, “I’m so sorry, I have killed you!”
He forgave his trainer. “It’s not your fault,” he immediately told him. “Just take me to the hospital.”
And we all know that actors’ crowning glory are their coveted faces, Fr. Mario joked about things we value much. He threatened,
“Mag-ingat ka, kung ano yung pinakamahal mo, yun ang unang kukunin sa’yo.”
And indeed, it hit a nerve. We must learn to detach ourselves to things that are only superficial. Lance face’ his bread and butter but he did not complain seeing a broken face in the mirror, instead he sought God.
“I realized the gravity of my situation. I was half blind, the small crack on my skull made me vulnerable to meningitis and seizures. Through my one functional eye, I took a good look at the mirror and didn’t recognize my own face because it was disfigured. I thought I looked like Voldemort—only Voldemort looked better, But for some reason, instead of feeling angry, depressed or negative, I just took another look at the new me.
I smiled back at my reflection and thanked God I was still alive. I had personal a moment with God and asked Him to guide me in planning how to live an effective and meaningful life with my current situation. I also found it within me to completely and sincerely forgive the fitness trainer who accidentally dropped the barbell on my face and prayed for his peace of mind.”
Right now, Lance’ face is even more handsome than before. It’s indeed one of the many things God granted him.
The last thing Fr. Mario shared was the parable of a seminarian who was accidentally killed by a priest and later on, the boy’s father granted the priest absolution instead of getting even and sending him behind bars. I could not remember if this is a true story or not. He thoroughly distinguished 3 biblical words through this.
Justice is getting what we deserve.
Mercy is getting less of what we asked for.
Grace involves our getting that which we do not deserve.
This is akin to what God, the Father had done to us. He gave us his only Son, Jesus Christ who died at the cross to pay for the sins he did not make. He paid for our sins. He isn’t worthy of the pain we have caused Him. This lent, he has asked us to bask with the grace he has given us even though we are all sinners. He called us to celebrate more of life and to recall His mighty salvation of humanity.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Bro. Arun and other spiritual builders wrapped up the event by praying for each cliques such touching and glorious prayers pierced right through our hearts. Bro. Arun allowed us to deliver our own thanksgiving to the Father Almighty and our Lord Jesus Christ. I can’t help but shed a tear as I whisper how grateful I am with His blessings. It’s over pouring. I have a long list of things to be thankful for and I bet, it will take forever for me to finish. I thanked Him big for giving me Andre; for giving me someone I can be with for the longest time possible.
It was indeed one of the most meaningful and delightful lent I have ever celebrated. I sincerely welcomed Jesus in my heart again and let Him lead the way for me. The Feast Alabang paved a way in renewing my vow to Jesus. I will never be alone because I have the Omnipotent guiding me. He will go before me and He will never leave me. I deserve nothing from Him yet he provided me more than what I needed. He blessed me more than what I asked for. Truly there is really a vast reason to be thankful for. God will never give us challenges that we can’t win; fears we cannot overcome and; problems we cannot solve. Indeed God is bigger than all the bumps we have.
To GOD be the GLORY.