Sunday, August 8, 2010


Sunday Gospel
(Lk 12:32-48)

"...That servant who knew his master’s will
but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will
shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will
but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating
shall be beaten only lightly.
Much will be required of the person entrusted with much,
and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more."

If one interprets Jesus' words here literally in isolation, it would seem that those who have been endowed with much talent and knowledge would have a bigger burden to bear. Much will be required of that person so endowed, or else "severe beating" would be due. Wouldn't it then be far more desirable to be untalented, stay uninformed and therefore be more relaxed, unperturbed, and carefree? To remain blissfully ignorant, passive and unresponsive just so one only deserves "light" punishment?

More than nine years ago before I became active in a Catholic Charismatic community, I was quite exhausted with the demands of my office work. I managed our company's IT department and I felt it was a very demanding job. The remaining spare time that I had was spent on recharging myself, and occasionally having late-night outs with some close friends to unwind. I felt I was maxed-out and there was no time left nor nothing much else to do. I was attending Mass on most Sundays (which was already fair enough I thought) but other than that, I simply neglected my spiritual life.

I was indifferent, cranky, much too busy, and much too tired anyway.

In the year 2001, my wife and I succumbed to a persistent invitation by a close friend to join the Couples For Christ (CFC) community. We gave in to the invitation more as a favor to that close friend rather than a real desire to attend a 13-Saturday CLP formation program - the entry point to CFC. I was a reluctant, nonchalant participant as the first few talks started, but as the formation program progressed, the spiritual passion was gradually stirred within me. To cut the long story short, my wife and I eventually became active members of CFC starting 2001. Since then we eventually became household heads and unit heads where we were entrusted various couples under our pastoral care. Since 2004 we have also concurrently served in the Parish Pastoral Council as Family and Life Ministry couple coordinators, where we pursue family-oriented programs for the parish as well as conduct pre-cana marriage seminars. We also joined the CFC ProLife Ministry where my wife and I got ourselves qualified as certified instructors to be able to volunteer in teaching Natural Family Planning courses. In all this time, my wife and I still held our full-time office jobs. She is an Associate Director in a large hospital. On my part, my responsibility in our office has more than doubled in the time being, since our CEO also assigned me starting in 2005 to head the HR department on top of my responsibility in managing the IT department.

There is much, much more on my plate right now compared to more than nine years ago, but I am not complaining. Wonders, but there is still much left for quality time with the family, plus some recreation on the side. Compared with the years before I became active in the church, now I feel much more organized, fulfilled, relaxed, and the most amazing thing is that I feel so much more...well-rested.

There is no irony when God is at work, after all He is the one arranging our schedules, managing our difficulties, and blessing us with time and resources to fulfill His will. When we commit ourselves to serve, it is God's work, and we are just instruments. It is God who makes things possible, and His handiwork becomes manifest in our lives. We are blessed and empowered and I understand why St Paul says we are going to be made prosperous in every way so that we can be generous for others in every way. I also understand why this Sunday's Gospel also says that to whom much is given, much is expected in return.

There should be nothing to worry about regarding the Master's will, because Jesus also tells us: Come to me all of you who are tired...and I will give you rest.

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