What is the secret of the miracle in the multiplication of the loaves? Why do we need to be grateful for all the things that we received or for all the events that happened to us, may be it be good or bad? How will we manage to be thankful despite of unpleasant experiences we encountered?
The topic discussed in Day 4 of the Misyong Pilipino was about curses which will occur up to your third and fourth generation. But for those who love and obey his commands, blessings will come up to the thousandth generation. Aside from this, the Lord is merciful and compassionate because He is slow to anger. There is a big gap on the third and fourth generation compared to thousandth generation. And even humanitarian works or outreach services are included in loving God and obeying His command.
In the previous two nights of the retreat, the topics were about Jesus taking the bread. Tonight’s topic will be about Jesus giving thanks. During the event of the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus gave thanks. There were actually two different translations of this verse. These are Jesus blessed the bread and Jesus give thanks. When we say our prayer before eating “Bless us oh Lord for these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ our Lord”, it is the same with “We give thanks oh Lord for these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ our Lord”. In Psalms it says, “Sun and moon, Bless the Lord. Birds and the sky, Bless the Lord”. This means that blessing and giving thanks are just the same.
You will notice the attitude of Jesus in giving thanks. Five thousand men should be fed during that time but unfortunately the number of loaves are only five. Isn’t it weird (in Visayan language, Werd =)) that Jesus still thanks the Lord even if they have only five loaves? In normal reaction of a person, it is not the way to do it. To illustrate, if you have a party for only twenty people and a platoon of visitors of around sixty people came, definitely you will be pressured to accommodate all of them. It is not a normal reaction to still give thanks even if you will be feeding five thousands men. But still Jesus took the bread, look at the heaven, gave thanks, broke the bread and gave it to His disciples. Jesus wants here to drive a very important point, the attitude of gratitude.
Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy
Luke 17: 11-19 NIV
11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
The Filipino version of this verse is found below:
Sa paglalakbay ni Jesus patungong Jerusalem nagdaan siya sa hangganan ng Samaria at Galilea. Nang papasok na siya sa isang nayon, siya’y sinalubong ng sampung ketongin. Tumigil sila sa malayu-layo at humiyaw ng: “ Jesus Panginoon! Mahabag po kayo sa amin!”
Nang makita sila ay sinabi niya, “Humayo kayo at pakita sa mga saserdote.” At samantalang sila’y naglalakad, gumaling sila.
Nang mapuna ng isa na siya’y magaling na, nagbalik siyang sumisigaw ng pagpupuri sa Diyos. Nagpatirapa siya sa paanan ni Jesus at nagpasalamat. Ang taong ito’y Samaritano.
“Hindi ba sampu ang gumaling?” tanong ni Jesus. “Nasaan ang siyam? Wala bang nagbabalik at nagpuri sa Diyos kundi ang dayuhang ito?” Sinabi ni Jesus sa kanya, “Tumindig ka’t humayo sa iyong lakad! Pinagaling ka dahil sa iyong pananalig.”
The ten lepers Lepers were not allowed to mingle with other people because their disease is contagious. They are not allowed to mingle with the people. The are alive but decomposing. The cheeks and nose are decomposing even if the booger is still there =). It is considered as dreaded disease back then because like HIV, it is uncontrollable.
They shouted from far away. The ten lepers ask for mercy and cure of their disease. According to their customs, the priests will judge if you are finally cured and can live with family. While walking they noticed that they are cured. Only one came back to say thank you. Why does St. Luke emphasized that he is a Samaritan? This is unusual for a Samaritan to kneel for a Jew. He can drink a mountain dew but it is not expected to kneel in front of Jesus.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? This is a very haunting question. There are many answered prayer last year, why are few only say thank you and present in Misyong Pilipino?
In last year’s Misyong Pilipino about healing of relationship. We learned about forgiving and asking for forgiveness and finally giving thanks. Find time to thank the people who made you feel good because anyone who thinks thanks. The nine lepers were not thinking because they did not give thanks from the cure they received.
A Person Who Says “Thank You” is an Educated Person
Anticipating that he might come back to give another retreat, Fr. Arlo continued to the next level the power of attitude of gratitude. One time there was a former presidential advisor of the three former presidents of the Philippines. When he was still alive, He said to the friend of Fr. Arlo, “You can easily distinguished who is educated and non educated person. Even if a person finished a degree in a university, it does not necessarily mean that the person is educated.”
To give an example, when you ate in a restaurant if that person did not thank the service crews who served, he/she is uneducated. If a child asked something and the parents gave it. If the child did not thank the parents, that child is uneducated.
Five months ago, Fr. Arlo was in Mister Donut, Trinoma. While waiting to meet up with his friends, he was looking at the people who pass by. There were three ladies chatting towards the location of Fr. Arlo. Apparently, one of the lady is getting something from her bag. Her credit card fell down and Fr. Arlo called the attention of the lady because of the incident. The lady get the card on the floor and continued chatting with her friends without saying thank you. The lady is not educated because anyone who think thanks.
Those who are working in food industry or a medical practitioner. If you have a patient or customer that says thank you, they are educated. It is also fulfilling to do this treatment to others.
Three Considerations of Attitude of Gratitude
1. “Buti na yan kaysa wala” (It is better to have something than nothing)
A child was running towards home carrying a paper from school. He was crying towards his father cleaning outside the house. He informed his father about his test papers with all zero grades. The father told him “Buti na yan anak, kaysa wala.” =)
Will you feel bad if your cellphone is still as huge as the equipment they used in scraping ice for halo-halo preparation? (“Buti na yan, kaysa wala”). Will you feel bad, that you are getting a receding hairline as time passes? (“Buti na yan, kaysa wala”). You should learn how to appreciate what you got. Always remember to be thankful all the time.
Just a review of the last year’s Misyong Pilipino on Spiritual Healing. If we have these sufferings and offer these sufferings to somebody else they become sacrifices. If we do these sacrifices in the name of love, they become blessings. If we have these sufferings and always complain about they become miseries. If these miseries are done in the name of self-pity, they become curses.
You will notice that all people who complain have a miserable life. Look within your family, examine your siblings; those who always complain are the ones miserable. If you are complaining, life is heavy because we are not appreciating what you got. If you think positively, the things you receive may not be perfect but “buti na yan kaysa wala”.
Remember inconveniences, sacrifices, blessings. Inconveniences, miseries, curses.
2. You Can’t Have Everything All At The Same Time
You can’t have everything all at the same time. Maybe you have a strong marriage relationship but you might have financial problems. May be your financial status is great but your spouse has a third-party relationship. Or your marriage relationship is strong and your financial status is good but your child has an illness. You can’t have everything all at the same time.
Fr. Arlo regularly celebrates a mass at the Christ the King Church every Sunday at 6pm. There is a couple regularly going to the mass. The guy is tall and dark. The girl is a Rica Peralejo look-alike. The two are very happy together. During that time, the guy took the Nursing Board Exam. After the mass, Fr. Arlo asked, “Leo how are you?” Leo responded, “Father, I did not pass”. Fr. Arlo continued, “How do you feel?” Leo answered, “It is ok Father, no hurt feeling. I did not pass the exam but I have my beautiful girl friend”. =) You can’t have everything all at the same time.
Maybe don’t have it now, but you might get it next month. But you might have lost something also. If you lose your mother in-law, it’s better. =) You have the full support of your family but you do not have a visa. Do not be afraid if you will lose something, if a new blessing comes; just pray that the previous blessing will stay with you. If you have such blessing, give thanks. Appreciate what you have.
3. Take Care of the Blessings You Have
You got a good or dedicated spouse. On the other hand, there is one thing that you don’t like to your spouse. There is one story of a guy saying, “when I go out of the house, there are many temptations outside especially in the office. An yet I try to be faithful to my wife. She does not know it but I really struggle for it because I love her. When I go home everyday, she confront me and start a discussion assuming that I did something to destroy our relationship. She think that I am womanizing. Sometimes I am thinking to just do it so that it will be real. Fr. Arlo emphasized to all couples, Do not start a fight or discussion. It is a blessing that your spouse is faithful. It is a concern if you mishandled the blessing. You should think thoroughly and communicate in harmony. Show your love to your spouse.
In the work place, our work ethics are different from other races. If we work below their expectation, they can easily terminate us. Even if you worked for ten years already, they can easily remove us. Do not think that they are Filipino. Only in the Philippines that there is what we called Security of Tenure. Here, there is only Yes or No and no gray area. If you ask from God your work in the first place, take good care of it. Handle your job well. The most basic expression of appreciation is to take good care of what is given to you.
Imagine your children asked for a PlayStation. You even went to Gitex in Dubai to get a good bundle. How will you feel when you see them after playing, the PlayStation is just lying on the floor? You might feel that they did not appreciate what you gave.
Be More Thankful, Receive More Blessings
If you learn how to give thanks more often, you will receive more blessings. The secret of the multiplication of the loaves is giving thanks. Jesus looked up to heaven and gave thanks. The act of God who knows how to say thank you will receive more blessings in return.
In Mindoro, whenever they remove the cover of the cooked rice; they put a sign of the cross on top. They do this because they believe that it will not be emptied. Fr. Arlo thought it’s just like pizza pie, you cut it into slices. =) If they cooked for 30 people and 60 came, it is not being emptied. May be it will not increase like mathematically when you get it will be refilled again or when you remove the top portion, it will be full again. Maybe when the people ate the rice, it will expand in the stomach. Or instead of three cups, only one cup will be sufficient and make them full.
Three Kinds of Blessings
1. Something good that happen to us
You got a new job, it’s a blessing. You are with your family in UAE, it’s a blessing. You got your visa, it’s a blessing. A part of this was also discussed in Day 6 of last year’s Misyong Pilipino entitled Love of God.
2. Something bad that God did not allow to happen to us
Fr. Arlo is driving going to Tagaytay. He went out from Sta. Rosa Exit. He was speeding up when he saw 50 meters away from him a motorcycle standing still and seems like waiting for something. When he was 10 meters away from the motorcycle, it suddenly went on U-turn. Fortunately, the accident did not occur. Otherwise, the driver will be dead. If that happened, he will support all his children. If he will be alive, Fr. Arlo will maintain his needs until he recuperate. Something bad that God did not allow to happen to us.
Your salary is sufficient even if its little because God does not allow your children to be sick. It is a blessing. Imagine in the crowd there are people scheduled to have breast cancer, but because of your prayer it will not happen. It is a blessing.
3. Something Bad that God Allowed to Happen
An expiration of your visa is a blessing in disguise if you still have faith to the Lord. Continue praying, if you don’t have ill feeling towards Him, it might be a blessing in disguise. Sometimes, if it not bad at it seems we coined it as “Buti nalang ganun lang”.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Be cheerful always, pray willingly, thank God at all times because that is the will of God through Christ Jesus.”
Even if we are tired, even if we feel that everyone has turned back on us, even if we are burdened with difficulties and rigors of life. Do not forget to always be thankful. Just like the verse above, thank God at all times. Try to look at the bright things of life, pray even if you don’t want to pray; even if you are not F na F it. (Feel na Feel) =)
The Secret of the Multiplication of the Loaves
Being thankful in times of pleasant and unpleasant events in our life, the compassion of the Lord will be showered unto us. That is what Jesus did when He multiplied the loaves. That was unpleasant to see five thousand people but still he looked up to heaven and thank the Father for the five loaves and two fishes they have. That was the secret of the multiplication of the loaves.
If you give thanks to pleasant things, you can accept it freely. Thank you my wife have visa, thank you my child passed the exam. You can accept these pleasant things freely. But when unpleasant things happen, you cannot accept it freely. Lord thank you because my husband will go to jail. Like singing in a choir you might be saying it in an out of tune manner.
Fr. Arlo seldom read books all these years. In 1988, he read a small, tiny book authored by a reverend father which depicts to thank God at all times. The reverend father was a military chaplain in a camp. One time, a soldier is running towards him crying. The soldier told the reverend that his wife is filing a divorce. The soldier asked for advice from the priest and they begun to pray. They went inside the office and the reverend teach the soldier to pray. He told the soldier to follow my lead. While crying, the soldier followed. “Lord thank you for all the things that you gave to me. Thank you because my wife is filing a divorce with me. After saying this the man started crying hard.
Two weeks after, holding a paper the soldier was running towards the reverend. All smiles with extent of the lips up to the back of his neck like a double zipper of a luggage bag, he told to the priest, “During the time when we are praying, my wife attended a prayer meeting back home. After that she decided not to file the divorce”. The priest and soldier give thanks again.
The act of faith is stronger and deeper because you can say thank you even if unpleasant happened to you. This means that you can surrender to the Lord and thy will be done. At the same time saying, Lord thank you. Because of these, the lord will give you what you need.
For example you have two children, Tukneneng and Prekepweng. They both asked for something. You gave all what Prekepweng asked, but Tukneneng only received a small portion because of lack of resources. Tukneneng says Thank you and I love you. If your child is like that, you will give them again whenever they ask because they appreciate what give to them. The Lord is will do the same when we thank Him whether we receive big or small.
After reading the book, Fr. Arlo experienced a series of giving thanks. He recalled one story when he parked his car at their house in Frisco, Maximburg (Barrio Masambong) =) It was July 15, 1996, Thursday, he joined his family for a sleep over because he is tired. His sibling wake him up around 6am informing him that somebody stole his things in the car. They went down and checked the trunk. Everything was lost including Fr. Arlo’s mass kit, stole (which might be used in carrying the stolen things), his ordination chalice which very dear to him, car tools, spare tires, small karaoke, his dubbed tapes and his bag of camera worth P40,000 since he was in photography. Even his toothbrush was stolen. =)
But he remembered the message of the book he read, thank God at all times. He murmured, “Thank you Lord, somebody stole from me”. But still, he really felt bad. Even during confession, the three old ladies who went to him with combined problems will not match what happened to him. Aside from being nose bled, he got ear bleed. =) At the same day, Fr. Arlo had a mass at Uniwide Cubao at 6pm. He used the same car, but while opening the garage gate, he stepped on a stool. =)
While waiting for the start of the mass, he asked the Uniwide charismatic community for the misal and he saw the Gospel which made him cry again.
“Come to me all of you who are burdensome and I will give you rest”.
For the first in his life, he was crying from the start of the mass until the end of the mass. It was his longest homily. He told to the whole congregation what happen to him that day. But, amazingly after that peace is flowing like a river and he accepted that indeed somebody stole his things.
He remembered that he used to have a Springmaid toothbrush, one side of the bristles going to Magallanes and other side going to Monumento. =) But now it was replaced with an Oral B brand. His stole which is used to teturon textile was replaced with a Clothman brand. He thought, “Hmmm, my things are getting nicer.” After a week, somebody gave him a set of tapes, all instrumentals. And when he went to Los Banos, her secretary told him that a visitor left P50,000 for him.
On the first Sunday of August, Fr. Arlo went to the seminary school store to replenish his lost things. The store keeper told him that a parish priest was looking for him because someone left in front of their church the mass vessels that Fr. Arlo lost particularly his ordination chalice. Back then it was the best chalice Fr. Arlo saw that will be suited for him. It worth P12,000 in 1983. Fr. Arlo felt like a warrior holding his sword with his chalice brought back to him.
Whether you have pleasant or unpleasant experience, give thanks to the Lord. “Thank you Lord, I have cancer”. “Thank you Lord my child is sick”. Remember that the Lord have compassion, he will give you what you wish.
Going back to the scene of the multiplication of the loaves. How many loaves? Five loaves and two fishes. How many to be fed? Five thousand men excluding children and women. If you know how to thank God even if it is unpleasant, He will give you what you want. Lower your self and thy will be done and say Lord, thank you.
Before the end of the mass, Fr. Arlo showed a video about a daughter requesting her father to let go from childhood until on his death-bed. It is like letting go of our faith in God. Even if you are restrained to go home because of work. Just let go, you can’t have everything all at the same time.
Here is the video clip:
I firmly believe on the essence of attitude of gratitude. Aside from being thankful all the time, positive thinking is being nurtured and harnessed within us. In our personal experience as a family, what we do before sleeping and waking up, in our prayers, we never forget to thank God for all the blessings that we receive and we pray to be a blessing as well to others. We ask the Lord to make us instruments of His compassionate love to His children. We also send a little prayer of blessing to someone we want to be blessed (like a person we met in a grocery, a friend who have problem or even a person that wronged us). I have learned from this talk that indeed blessing and giving thanks is just the same, when we bless somebody; we give thanks as well.
What are your ways of giving thanks to the Lord or to the people around you? Share your thoughts and meet us in the comments.
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