Being a Christian

What does it entail to be a true Christian? Is being baptized enough for one to be called a Christian?

It’s sad to say that most of us don’t seem to know nor are aware of what it is to be a Christian. My brothers and sisters, we can only say that we are true and good Christians if we live the lessons from the gospel and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

We can find in the gospel of Saint Matthew, Chapter 25 Verse 40, it says: “whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, you do it to me.” What would be the lesson here? If we, who claim to be Christians would see Jesus and serve Him, we must see and serve our fellow man as well. And even beyond that, we must see and serve “the least of these,” because by doing so, we can say that our service is rendered to God for love of Him and for His glory.

Jesus is telling us that God wants our lives to overflow with mercy, love, and compassion. These characteristics are the marks of His kingdom. As followers of Jesus, we are bring challenged as we were given a choice: Either to withdraw because of unsettled issues and realities within us, like fear and doubts, or to follow Him in responding to the greatest needs of our day with love and hope.

Now, why did the gospel put an emphasis on the “least of these”? It is because God wants us to embrace those people who feel that they are the lowest, the less important, the neglected and those who do not have enough strength physically and spiritually to fight for themselves, the poor, the marginalized.

Nowadays, all of us are busy with what we do and what we plan to do. We are so engrossed and involved with work and how we can preoccupy ourselves in the future. We get to that point where we miss the more important things in life, like family, community and God. When the day of judgment comes, where will we go?

This was precisely my point when I celebrated Mass for the 89th birthday of the late Florentino P Silayan last 18 August 2022, wherein I was trying to make an analysis of what is really happening now in our time (amid the pandemic), within the Roman Catholic Church and society to what happens in the end of time. But unfortunately, I was unpolitely interrupted by someone who seems to be more intelligent, more pious, more holier than me. Anyway, the gospel’s message serves as a reminder for all of us that those who are favored by God will inherit the kingdom, while those who are not will have their eternal punishment regardless of our religious affiliation.

Everyone of us will have a place, and that depends on how we treat our brothers and sisters, neighbors or strangers. God, through Jesus Christ, has been reaching out to us and reminding us on how can inherit the kingdom. When we die and go to the final judgment before God, we present ourselves and will be accountable with what we have become. Saint John of the Cross reminds us that “in the evening of our life, we will be examined in love.” Are we prepared for that evening and meet our God?

We are exhorted by Jesus of that every time we encounter people, especially those who are in dire need. The least, those who are poor, who are helpless and powerless, they are God’s people and God is in them.

As baptized Christians, as proud Roman Catholics, do we see the Lord in our brothers and sisters? Did we give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and the prisoner? Can we honestly and truthfully say before the Lord that we see Him and did good to Him through our brothers and sisters?

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