December 8, 2023

Thus says the Lord: Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion, shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! See your king shall come to you; a just savior is he. (Zechariah 9:9-10)
The Lord did not only encourage His people to rejoice but He actually commanded each one. We rejoice for something but the rejoicing here is not sheer feeling or emotion. Joy is a virtue.
A jovial person will always be a person who praise and thank God. The gauge, therefore, for a happy person will not always be the face but the consistent act of praising and thanking God.
“I will extol you, O my God and King, and I will bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever.” (Psalm 145: 1-2)
When praise, worship, and gratitude become our way of life, we turn these values into virtues. In effect, we will communicate with our God and we will become more intimate with Him. God unveils himself as a gracious and merciful God. “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. The Lord is good to all and compassionate toward all his work.” (Psalm 145: 8-9)
Even Jesus Christ praised the Father to speak about a deeper relationship. It is called yada in Hebrew. Love becomes more profound with constant communication.
At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and Earth. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” (Matthew 11: 25:30)
In short, we cannot love somebody whom we don’t know and who we don’t communicate. We are therefore encouraged and commanded to have more time with Jesus in prayer.
I recall the strong words of Fr. Martin Jaggi MBI, “One of the reasons why we priests cannot find solutions to conflicts is, we don’t communicate with one another, and we sometimes forget to communicate with God. So have more time to communicate. Yada is intimacy. Yada must become our strength and our solution to problems.
I felt the joy of Ricky Yakak when he informed me about his graduation in senior high school. “Fr. Marcs, I will graduate on July 11. I am one of the students with honors. Please take charge of putting my medal. My parents will march me to the stage and they will hand my diploma.”
I thought it was just a simple invitation. But Ricky was persistent by reminding me about the occasion through text messages and Messenger. On our way home to Bontoc, Mountain Province, he even met me to remind about his graduation and my task.
Ricky was my rectory boy for almost three years at Kilong Rectory. We became a family and he did his work and studies well.
It was a big challenge for Ricky to overcome vices which he was exposed to at an earlier age. I am elated to see his profound changes. It may have been slow but at least there were big changes.
Ricky decided to enter the seminary. I brought him with other Sagada youth for entrance examination and he did well.
I asked his mother, “Ma’am, did Ricky at least inform you about his plans especially his desire to enter the seminary?” She responded, “Yes, padi. He told me. As parents, I and my husband respect his plans and we will support him.”
Ricky is a multi-talented young man. He is indeed a gift to his family, to the community, to his fellow youth, and to the church. He can sing well and play many musical instruments which he learned at the Broken Guitar Project and later became a teacher to his fellow youth and even to the adults.
We pray for his dream to be realized with love. We congratulate him.
Just in case, your kindness and generosity will be a big help for his journey. If you wish to spend your blessings wisely, support him. He is a student who deserves your help. Reach him on his Facebook account Ricky M. Yakak. Thank you.
Reach me at [email protected].