Living Life in an “Extra” Ordinary Way

What Separates You From Others is Your Heart to Serve

When was the last time you compared yourself to others? When was the last time you said you’re better than others, because…? And, you back yourself up with a series of reasons and excuses only you can benefit from. On the other hand, when was the time you remember belittling yourself because you don’t have the life, the wealth, and the possessions your peers have? What good did it bring you?

Today’s Gospel & Reflection

In today’s Gospel from St. Luke, we are reminded about how to live our lives the Christ way. The priest in the church that I attended today’s mass shared four key points in living out our lives as a community of Christ believers:

1. Avoid evil.

2. Do good.

3. Do extra good.

4. Be merciful.

These points are no-brainer, except point three – do “extra” good. Yes, the Gospel today offers revolutionary thinking – contradictory to human practice. What the world taught us is to be good to those who are good to us and don’t bother the people who don’t like us. Yet, if you read the Gospel, you’ll learn the exact opposite. Here’s our Gospel for today, from St. Luke (Good News Bible version).

27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If anyone hits you on one cheek, let him hit the other one too; if someone takes your coat, let him have your shirt as well. 30 Give to everyone who asks you for something, and when someone takes what is yours, do not ask for it back. 31 Do for others just what you want them to do for you.

32 “If you love only the people who love you, why should you receive a blessing? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you receive a blessing? Even sinners do that! 34 And if you lend only to those from whom you hope to get it back, why should you receive a blessing? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount! 35 No! Love your enemies and do good to them; lend and expect nothing back. You will then have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High God. For he is good to the ungrateful and the wicked. 36 Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.

37 “ Do not judge others, and God will not judge you; do not condemn others, and God will not condemn you; forgive others, and God will forgive you. 38 Give to others, and God will give to you. Indeed, you will receive a full measure, a generous helping, poured into your hands – all that you can hold. The measure that you use for others is the one that God will use for you.”

You see, it’s the “extras” that we do that make us different. It’s the “extra” good that we do every day that separates us from the rest of the flock. The “extra” effort that we do every day at work, at home, or in the community may seem unnoticeable at times. We may feel frustrated and we can even blurt at times, “Grabe na nakong paningkamot, pero wala man jud ninyo nakita ang akong effort!”

What we didn’t realize is the more we go the extra miles for the people that we love and for ourselves, the more we are living like Christ. The process may seem excruciating, yet God has promised reward for every effort that we made. Nothing will go in vain. Keep the faith, keep doing good, make an effort to do “extra” good, and you will definitely be rewarded!

You Have the Heart for Service

Just would like to end my sharing with my personal experience, it’s not related to doing the “extra” good, but on the question of “what separates me from others?” I’m fond of listening to TED talks and podcasts about the brain, leadership, self-improvement, and anything in between. Then, I came across Jim Kwik talking about how to remember dreams. You can listen to his podcast right here:

One night, after saying my evening prayer, I just gave thanks to God and expressed my gratitude for everything that I have. I slept in a happy state. Then, I dreamt and part of my dream was me bombarded with all the negative thoughts – I am not enough, I haven’t achieved much, anxiety and fear strikes. Then, suddenly, a question just pooped out of nowhere.

“You know what separates you from the rest?”

There was silence. By this time, I think I gained consciousness, but I just closed my eyes, wanting to hear the answer. Then, my dream continues….

“Your heart…”

“Your heart to serve.”

Tears started to roll down, but I didn’t open my eyes. I tried as hard as I could to remember what the conversation was before that and after, but to no avail, I only remembered those few lines. Yet, these lines were very powerful and they were just what I needed. It has opened my mind to a lot of things.

God really speaks to you and leads you every step of the way. All we need to do is to go near him and consciously seek his presence in our life. Whether it’s through our dreams, our prayers, or just our silence, God guides us to live our lives the Christ way!

Attended the Sunday mass @ Birhen sa Guadalupe Parish, Lantapan, Bukidnon, Philippines. Presiding priest, Rev. Fr. Darwin Alcontin.

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