Brothers and sisters:
I am not ashamed of the Gospel.
It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes:
for Jew first, and then Greek.
For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith;
as it is written, “The one who is righteous by faith will live.”
The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven
against every impiety and wickedness
of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
For what can be known about God is evident to them,
because God made it evident to them.
Ever since the creation of the world,
his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity
have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.
As a result, they have no excuse;
for although they knew God
they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks.
Instead, they became vain in their reasoning,
and their senseless minds were darkened.
While claiming to be wise, they became fools
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God
for the likeness of an image of mortal man
or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes.
Therefore, God handed them over to impurity
through the lusts of their hearts
for the mutual degradation of their bodies.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie
and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator,
who is blessed forever. Amen.
Psalm 19:2-3, 4-5
R.(2a) The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day,
and night to night imparts knowledge.
R. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
Not a word nor a discourse
whose voice is not heard;
Through all the earth their voice resounds,
and to the ends of the world, their message.
R. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
After Jesus had spoken,
a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home.
He entered and reclined at table to eat.
The Pharisee was amazed to see
that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal.
The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees!
Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish,
inside you are filled with plunder and evil.
Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?
But as to what is within, give alms,
and behold, everything will be clean for you.”
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16)
I was born into a very religious family wherein my parents were part of a charismatic community, Bukas Loob sa Diyos. When I grew up, I was being groomed to join the Youth Ministry. True enough, when I turned 13, they “strongly encouraged” me to attend prayer meetings which was held every Saturday. At the age where in I was developing a close knit barkada¹, there were times that I had to flake on our Saturday gimmicks.
They would always ask why I won’t be able to make it. I would shamefully say, “May family thing kami.” (I have a family matter to attend to.) Because of that, they never knew what I was really doing on Saturdays. As I kept attending prayer meetings, I learned to appreciate it. I realized that I was growing not only in my relationship with the Lord but also personally. In the community, my leadership, confidence and speech skills were built.
Growing up with these set of skills has greatly developed my career. One day, I was presenting a major business plan to executives of the company I was working for. I was so passionate in the moment I was presenting and in driving a major point, I accidentally blurted out, “AMEN?” As the word slipped out, the executives smiled and laughed. I apologized but one of them said, “Don’t ever be ashamed of being close to God.”
After that, they asked about my service in the community and as I told them all about it, I did not feel an inch of shame, but instead I felt pride in what I have been through. I then wondered, why was I ever ashamed?
Serving the Lord made me grow into the person I am today. The blessings of Jesus continues outside my community—it has seeped into the life I have outside the Church, in my family and in my career. Always be proud as a servant, for He has blessed you beyond measure. AMEN?
Lord, thank you for the blessing of getting to know You. Always guide us to be proud of a God like You wherever we go in life. May we always uphold Your values as a Christian in all things we do. Amen!
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Photo by: Campaign Creators (@campaign_creators at unsplash.com)