Sunday, December 26, 2010

CHRISTMAS 2010

Christmas Eve placed me with great company and new memories. As we sat in the living room, devouring our feast, chitchats of conversations, and enjoying a movie or two, I started to think of what Christmas means. Okay, I know…I’m Catholic and I understand the concept of ADVENT, preparing ourselves for the birth of Christ, to live in righteousness to welcome our Savior but something told me Christmas is far more simple than that.

The thought soon disappeared as I continued to enjoy the moment of creating new memories with people I called family. As I the night ended and I drove home the question returned to my head, “What is the meaning of Christmas?” We become so lost of the image of exchanging gifts and “church” that it has become a routine each year. The pressure of “I NEED TO GET A GIFT FOR THEM” harden our hearts till we find that so called perfect gift for the people we care about and for those we-just-have-to-get-a-gift-for.

(Warning: I’m going to get a little religious and sentimental on you). To be able to wake up every morning is the greatest gift we can receive. To have friends and family to share this blessing is what God has asked us to do. Christmas was taken by pagan belief of the light coming after the darkness.  This time of the year she where we see the darkness times of the year where spring breaks the darkness with light. Hence the birth of Christ was used to symbolize the new light in our own lives.
The exchange of “presents” is not the meaning of Christmas, God told us to enjoy the pleasures of life by living today for what it is. We get caught up what must be done tomorrow that we forget about today. Christmas to me is enjoying the simple bliss of doing nothing with people we love and care about, for their “presence” alone is gift far greater than what can be founded in a box. Materials will not last forever but rather creating memories that will is what God asks us to do.

I think we all forgotten the simplicity of life and small the gifts that count. Mother Teresa said,
“We can do no great things; only small things with great love”
Great love should be shared to those who you love and to those forgot the sense of being loved. Trust me God will be in the center of the room still, regardless if you mention His name. The best way to respect the gift of life given by God is to live it.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!

Confidence is SEXY...

Okay, I shaved my head! And my hear line is receding (my face is so ugly my hairline is running away). I not the best looking guy and my head isn’t the best shape to make me look good. I went to church and people really wanted to see my new haircut but I was afraid to show it.  Everyone was in shocked when I told them I was ashamed. “Jon Jon, shame? No way!” Yes, the funny guy who boost everyone else’s self confidence doesn’t have confidence in himself.

I wore a hat the entire time to make me feel comfortable. Then I started thinking today, we posses so much things to be proud of and yet once we find one thing we are afraid of we cringe and hide. There are times where our fears outweigh our character and whatever left of our self-confidence. Then we hide behind something that covers our faults or fears, very similar to how I wore a hate to cover my ugly head.

When we show our weaknesses in front of people who genuinely care and love you, they acknowledge your strength. If you surround yourself with people who feed off attention, they will pinpoint your weaknesses to validate themselves as “better people” (Even though they are far from better). Who we socialize with also determines your confidence. Friends, true friends, are people who challenge you to be better but yet loving you no matter what. They boost your self-confidence and acknowledge your strength. They make you feel accepted, a sense of belonging. They have faith in you when no else does.  They are honest and blunt when you make stupid mistakes, willing to hurt you a little with truth so you can become stronger. If your friends don’t make you feel this, maybe you need new friends (just saying).

Having confidence is to understand your weakness but displaying your strength to outshine where you fall short. We all have faults; we all have something that we dislike about ourselves but usually that’s just one out of a hundred great things about you. People will only see your weakness when you show them; but will remember your strengths far more. An example would be Babe Ruth. He is known as king of baseball, pointing with his bat that the next ball will be out of the park but did you know he also had the most strike outs in history. We saw his greatness because regardless of his failures he had confidence to hit the next fast ball coming down the plate over the stadium.

We are all made to be great and do great things. Life is too short to contemplate where we fall short. Harness and develop what makes you strong so people will forget your weakness and notice only your greatness. NOW THAT’S SEXY…

Fitting "IN"...

Have you ever felt alone? Unaccepted? Unwanted? Like you don't fit in? I know there was a point of my life where I felt these negative feelings everyday.  There are times where things feelings and thoughts would come back to haunt me but im a different now.  I learned to understand these moments and the people in my life.
It’s weird that we can be around people we think we know and yet feel that we don't belong. Pushed away by an invisible barrier called “cliques”. We all see them: cliques. A group of people, a bond of friends where they know who they want to hang out with and who they don't. This type of people can be good though. Everyone’s basic desire is to feel accepted, to belong and a “cliques” can provide that but if you are outside of the social group it does the opposite to you. You start feel unwanted and alone amongst a crowd.

So how do we fit in? How do we stand out so people want to hangout with you? Well, you can’t do anything. Ironically, we seek attention to the people who don't matter and push away those who do. Don't for the attention from those who barely notice you, be grateful to the friends that already notice the greatness in you.  Ultimately, we are not eager to find acceptance of others but from ourselves. This lays the true test of strength, a test where your happiness lays. Unfortunately, we seek the validation of ourselves in others because to fail the see the good in ourselves. Two of the hardest things to do in life are these: find good in others and finding good in ourselves. Fitting “in” begins by loving yourself completely and finding the people who see the good in you. Don't waste your time with people you neglect to notice you. Learn to be a good friend to you first then learn to be a good friend to others. Those who matter will welcome you with open arms and give you the feeling of being accepted and love.

“People will walk in and out in your life. Continue to walk forward and those who matter will walk in and walk with you” –jon jon-

The “Truth” of sharing FAITH

The world we live in today has changed. Morals and values have shifted to a new evolution of people where a materialistic world has become an enemy and ally of teaching and sharing about Christ. But is having a relationship with Jesus, SEXY? (Yes, I just used Jesus and sexy in the same sentence). I am not talking about the physical definition of sexy but the urban definition meaning “hip”, “the-new-topic”, “anything that is cool”. As a CCD teacher and activate member of my church’s youth and young adult ministry I have witnessed a wave of students enter the process of confirmation and watched them leave just as quick. We are not connecting or re-connecting our students with their faith with Christ. The bond, the INTERDEPENDENCE between CHRIST and “activate” parishioners are weak, hence a weaker response in sharing real values and morals of Christ.

Why is that an average of 100 people get confirmed from my parish each year and no more then 5-10 people return to continue their faith journey? (In my case I was the only one who return to serve and 10 years later I’m still active in ministry). I heard all the excuses: I don't like the people there, there are too much cliques, I don't fit, I’m too busy now or what people at church are hypocrites (which is true). We easily see what others are doing wrong to us but we forget what we are not doing right. FAITH begins with you. Everyone else that we encounter is essential people to teach you things along this road called life. Remember, we should do things that better yourself. We start by strengthening ourselves, increasing the light within us so we share the light to others. A life of Christ is difficult one. It’s because HIS life goes against the crowd, our society and the image of a normal life. We seek the approval of people rather seeking the approval of God. Jesus asked you to follow HIM but His intention wasn't for to stay a follower but for you to become a leader. God doesn't need people to blend in, He needs people to standout. To speak the Truth and share it. I know that might not be sexy in today’s society but who cares. I find it to make people far more stronger as a person. Their smile are real. Confidence and a positive attitude makes a person “sexier” then the clothes they wear or the people they hang out with.

The “truth” about sharing your FAITH can be scary because we don't know how our friends and family will react. But faith is not only shared by your words. "Preach the gospel always, If necessary use words." ~ St. Francis of Assisi. We preach, we share and we live our Faith. God didn't tell them how to live their lives without showing them first. We shouldn’t be afraid that what we are doing is out of the norm. Embrace what is right and turn away from what stirs you wrong and brings you pain. Living a life with faith and truth with pain is far better then living a life of false hopes and misleading friends. Choosing to better yourself when everyone else decides to turn away displays strength. Strength is a characteristic that is only received by those who seeks the truth and are not afraid to endure pain to receive a greater good.

As a concern Catholic I think we have failed to show people how to live their faith in a world that forgot about the morals it grew upon. I am still trying to do my part to teach and display a “good” life and the simplicity of what God asks use to do daily: Say Good, Do Good, Be Good. When you live your faith, you share it the same time. Now that is the truth…

I want to be SUPERMAN


Do you know who is Superman? The DC comic character with blue tights, a red cap who is faster then a speeding bullet, stronger then a locomotive and able to jump buildings in a single bounce? He is my fictional character I admire growing up.

We all have heroes that we look up to. Some might look towards a fictional character such as Superman or Batman; others will seek role models from celebrities, business people, family members and close friends. These people and characters posses the characteristics we admire and strive to become as individuals. Secretly, we think of ways to become these people so we may be closer in achieving their greatness. Each day people are examining their life and comparing their lives to their role models to reach their level of achievement. There are those who surpass their role models, some who reaches their level and others that fall short. We all have the opportunity to be something great but we forget that are own greatness are different from the people we admire. Successful and happy people achieve greatness by also admire individuals with characteristics they wish they posses to one day obtain. The different between these individuals who reach their level of happiness is that they analyzed where they were in life, their passion, talents and view where they want to become. They used their time and energy to remind themselves what they want to achieve, putting every action of their lives to reach it.

Superman was a simple man with powers that were greater then many people. He used his powers, talents, skills and gifts to better and care for the planet he cherish, the people he loved and those who couldn’t defend themselves. I admire the character Superman because he always saved the day, doing selfless acts to help others. Superman also had a weakness. KRYPTONITE! It reminds me of how life can be; we all have are own kryptonite that brings us to our knees and their days we want to give up or it seems we are set for failure but somehow, someway we pull through.

We are all heroes that posses the gifts to create miracles in people’s lives. Each and every one of us is geniuses in some way, where we more are gifted then others. Whatever that is, that’s your power.

I want to be Superman. I want to save the world. I want to save people. I want to care, comfort and console. But we can’t be heroes because the title of being a hero or a heroine is viewed by the people he/she serves. Sometimes our heroic actions will be seen unnoticed or taken as for weakness but are actions in helping others should be the rewards and not the recognition. I help people to bring joy into their faces when their bright skies are covered with rain storms. I want to be the arms that embrace them in hugs rather then the ones that rejected them with a push. I want catch every tear that falls from their eyes and remind them that tears are only meant as an escape of happiness to show others how bless thier life is. I want walk with them when you are confused what direction they want to take. I want to remind them how my shoulders were made to carry the heaviest hearts. I want to be the person they can depend when they feel the rest of the world seems to be too busy to listen to them. “I know I won’t be able to solve all your problems in life, I can promise that you won’t face them alone.”