#PeaceBeWithYou

peace

What was your latest ‘tweet’ about?

Lately, I have been looking on my tweets as well as those whom I follow. They vary in humours and seriousness. They also vary in degrees on being ‘whateverness’ or ‘substantialness’. For every tweet of 140 characters or less, anybody can just shout out loud what they want to say. And say what? Also “hashtagging”. Just how these tweets change the course of one’s views?

Perhaps, one of the breakthroughs that our leaders in the Catholic Church had in the past year was to support and convince the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to publish his first-ever tweet (of course, the Holy Father gets some advises too…). Which for me says a lot about the purpose of bringing the ‘tweeters’ to Jesus and Jesus to the ‘tweeters’. I  tweeted him lately just before the year ended. I don’t expect him to reply me back. What caught my attention were some replies  on the Holy Father’s tweets – some were encouraging and assuring him of their prayers, some were insulting, some were disrespectful.

The point here is that every tweet shows a ‘tweeter’s’ values and views on life. Optimistic tweets mean a value of hope for one. Insulting tweets mean a pessimist one. Disrespectful tweets mean a bullying one. Really, just think about how you post your tweets. Those who follow you see your tweets – and they spell a lot about you. Now, what are they for you?

Just like Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites present a lot about our inner longings to connect with other people. The way we hashtag our chosen topics shows a lot how we can connect our thoughts and ideas with others who might share our sentiments. But since hashtags are random and unmonopolized, these can either unify or divide people and communities. Think again. How do you tweet? Do they unify or divide people (or do you not care after all?)?

I plan to have only one hashtag for the first months of 2013. I call it #PeaceBeWithYou. If I’d ever have a tweet, I include this so as to look for others who might share my sentiments. With the Holy Father’s message on New Year’s Day, it moved me to creatively use social media to encourage peace in the forum of nations and communities. It’s our immediate concern, a social concern.

And if we are aspiring for a more humane, humanly developed communities, why not start tweeting #PeaceBeWithYou?

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Simbang Gabi Chronicle #2: HUMANITY AFFIRMED!

ImageDearest Friends:

Peace and glad tidings to all!

For the second day of our Simbang Gabi Chronicles, we have the theme: “Humanity Affirmed!” From this theme, we reflect on the Gospel which speaks of Jesus’ early ancestors, thus affirming the humanness of Jesus (except sin). As our Emmanuel, his presence among us has also to affirm his being human. And for us, we are led to recognize the face of the Word-became-flesh, bringing us hope, peace, joyful expectations, and gladness.

This would be my second day to attend the Simbang Gabi at the hospital chapel where I serve. Honestly, during the Gospel reading, I was craving to sit down because of the long narration of the ancestry of Jesus.  (and I guess, not all names narrated there are named among us, well, only few…). And given the early rise in the morning, I could not help but feel sleepy from time to time (not to mention the fact that I came home late the other day). It is no surprise that with the long list of names mentioned in the Gospel, one (and even I) would simply ask “What can I get from this?” or “Whatever it takes…” or “Is there a shorter alternative Gospel reading from this?” or “Duh? Come on!” or better still, “Ugh… when will this end?”

Well, the good news with these expressions is that our humanness is really there! It’s still a relief that we are not some kind of a floating spirit around, but with the presence of our very humanity. But there is more in the Gospel calling us to realize, and as well as our human nature would speak of. With the affirmation of Jesus’ humanity, one important reality is also affirmed: presence. Take an analogy of our best friends: apart from what my best friend would give me, it would be his/her presence which matters most to me. Nothing beats a friend who would always be there for me! In the same way, much as God loves us, so do He willed to send His Son to be among us, in our humanity.

Perhaps, there is a need for us to go beyond a mere “God-is-up-there” mindset, into recognizing and appreciating our humanity (where the Spirit of God is actually dwelling) – a gift that God gave us. God loves us and would not give up on us no matter how many times we fail Him or even become unfaithful to Him – because we are all His beloved. And perhaps, one good way to appreciate our humanity is to stop looking miserable and enjoy what He has given us. The Emmanuel became among us, and there are inestimable reason to celebrate life! Hence, it is actually a call for us to celebrate life as we affirm our humanity! However, there is a needed concrete response from us:

“How can we celebrate life in the ordinariness of days, not only during Christmas?”