Sharing the Resurrected Life
“Sharing the Resurrected Life”
Bishop Octavio Salvador Tarraya
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 5, 2016
Readings: 1Kings 17:17-24, Psalm 30
We are on the third Sunday in Ordinary Time. This Sunday, we are reminded that God’s divine power has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness in Christ (2 Peter 1:3).This means we lack in no good thing. The lack that we perceive is purely in our heads because we have not learned to believe that God has, indeed, given us everything that we need to live godly, victorious lives.
Our readings today talk about resurrection. 1Kings 17 is about the son of the widow in Zarephath who became sick and died. Elijah prayed and “the Lord heard the voice of Elijah, and the life of the child returned to him…” (verse 22). In the Gospel, Jesus brought back to life a dead man who was about to be buried because He felt compassion for the dead man’s mother who was a widow. After bringing the man back to life, the Lord gave him back to his mother. Resurrection is life. We have been resurrected with Christ, given new life. Our old life is dead. “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me….” (Galatians 2:20). “The love of Christ controls us….one died for all, therefore all died.” (2 Corinthians 5:14). This is a principle. Christ died for all and our old life has died with Him. His resurrection is our resurrection to a new life, a life where we no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who died and rose again on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:15).
Our gathering together as a body for the Holy Eucharist is a thanksgiving to God. “Eucharistus” is Latin for “great thanksgiving”. When we gather together, we thank God for His many blessings upon our lives, for the new life He has given us, “that my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent” (Psalm 30:12a). It is good to be in solitude to read Scriptures, but it is better to gather together to worship God and listen to Him. Reading the Scriptures is like watching a movie to many people. This is why the resurrection has no visible effect on their lives. They still experience lack, fear, anxiety, and so many uncertainties. Resurrection talks about life – the life of Christ and our new life in Him.
Last week I talked about principles. Today, I’ll share with you another important principle that we must live by, and it is that life is to be shared. We share our life when “discipling” another in order to strengthen his/her weaknesses. The strong must disciple the weak by spending time with him/her till the weakness is strengthened. This is how we share our life. Life that is not shared is close-ended. Before creation, life and love revolved around the Trinity; it was close-ended. There was no object of love. This is the purpose of creation. When God created man, the cycle of love became open-ended because love is now shared by God and man. This is how love and life are meant to be – shared and not kept to oneself.
What do we gain when we disciple and give our life to another? In giving of ourselves, especially to the weak, we gain life. This paradox is a principle of God– in giving, we gain more. In the TV series “The Highlander”, they had to kill their kind in order to gain strength and life. This is the opposite of Christianity; we don’t take another’s life but instead, give our life for another. This is discipleship. This is God’s commandment to every Christian – to make disciples of all nations.
I have seen in my own life how God prospers those who give their life for others. I used to live in the darkness. I was irresponsible, always looking for trouble, drank a lot, and my life had no direction, until Bishop Jeric Geronimo took me under his wings to disciple me. He would bring me with him to his bible study classes. I would carry his bags and do anything that he would assign to me, including becoming the praise and worship leader because I could play the guitar. He patiently spent time to teach me and disciple me. After him came Bro. Raul who took pains to boost my self-confidence, always giving me words of encouragement, always believing in me. God has since blessed these two men. Bishop Jeric became a bishop and Bro. Raul, since leaving the ministry, has been blessed materially. As they shared their lives with me, their own lives were enriched by God. Now, my gains are also their gains. This is discipleship. We are called to share our lives and take care of people.
After killing his brother Abel and the Lord asked him where his brother was, Cain said, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The answer is yes. We are our brothers’ keepers. We cannot turn a blind eye to their needs. It is our responsibility to care for them, make them realize that they, too, have been resurrected with Christ and given new life. The time we give to others is our investment in heaven. The life we give to others will gain us more life. Psalm 41: “How blessed is he who considers the helpless; the Lord delivers him in a day of trouble. The Lord will protect him and keep him alive….the Lord will sustain him upon his sickbed; in his illness, You restore him to health….”
Try to bring someone with you, someone who needs God, when you come to church. In Magallanes, I ministered in all six services on Sundays as usher and counselor, and during the week, I taught in bible studies. For all my work, God has prospered me. We can’t lose when we serve God and give our life for others. We don’t stop ministering to a person until he/she is out of the darkness. We should have a heart for people; a heart for the one we are discipling.
I have a crusade – my life’s mission and passion – to spread the Gospel to as many people in as many places as possible. We should act and do something to overtake the spread of other religions. We should have this sense of urgency to bring people to Christ. Instead, many Christians today are so complacent, content to just sit back and watch events unfolding without doing their part in spreading the Gospel. Our life should be a crusade to spread God’s Word and share Christ and His love to the world. This is what resurrection is all about. This is what we shall be learning in this season of Ordinary Time. We should not let a week go by without ministering to one person; without sharing our life. Work while it is day; night is coming when there is no life. Let us not be like the five foolish virgins. Let’s not wait before it’s too late.
The life we share comes back to us in the form of a prosperous, joyful, fulfilled life. God designed life in such a way that we can share it. God gave us life so we can share it. The life and blessings that we gain when we share our life will come from God and not from the person we give it to. Discipleship entails spending time with the person because it is a giving of life. Our holiness is nurtured by the people we care for. Discipleship is character-building. Discipleship is faith-building.