Sunday, December 28, 2008

Funeral Sermon for My Kuya

Originally posted May 11, 2008

This is the message I gave at my brother Josias Jose (December 1952- May 2008)

 On behalf of the family I would like to thank you for coming to help celebrate Josias' life.  

Matthew 10:29-31 where Jesus said:

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Interestingly, Josias is the name sake of one of the good kings of Israel Josiah.  Josiah the son of Amon became king at the young age of 8.   Now Kuya wasn't king of a nation but we siblings looked up to him with a similar respect. Kuya (my kuya) was 15 years my senior and he wasn't around a lot when i was growing up I was probably 3 or 4 when he moved out of the house.  So when I did get to see him it was always special.  He often gave me gifts or treats and out of the five of my brothers, he was definitely my favorite brother.  He is in some of my earliest memories as a kid.  I can remember when My mom was pregnant with JT our youngest brother (I had to be 4) and Kuya asking me if I wanted the baby in moms stomach to be a boy or a girl... I said "boy"... I was right!  I remember one time talking with him in the kitchen as he was cooking crab.  He gave me a piece and told me I could eat the meat inside the shell.  I asked him where the meat came from... do the crabs eat meat?  He said in a familiar yet profound manner "just eat it"

When I was a boy, I loved going to LA to visit him cuz he always was first to have the coolest things...

The coolest audio gear

the latest Photograpy equipment 

He had Intellivision when most people had an atari.

He had a Karaoke machine before karaoke anyone knew what karaoke was.

Recently JT was regaling me of a meal that Kuya prepared not too long ago.  He made a salmon skin salad and a sumptuous prime rib that was mouthwatering and delicious. When it came to food you see he was a man of passion.  If you've ever had the good fortune of sitting down to a meal he had prepared you knew that for sure.  We often talked about the various foods I might enjoy like Korean BBQ or the different types of tacos I should try if at an "Authentic" mexican taco stand.  If there is a lesson we might learn from Kuya's life, it is ENJOY LIFE NOW!  Of course this lesson I learned from his love of food is the same lesson that could be applied to all of life, If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well!  He could do anything he put his mind to from building kitchen cabinets to fashioning brackets on his motorcycle.  He was one the smartest guys you might ever meet.  He always seemed to have answers to lifes questions.  As you've already heard from my brothers and sisters, he was wise beyond his years and a father figure to all of us siblings.  He was passionate man and also a compassionate man.

I remember 6 years ago shortly after his last heart attack, we were in the hospital he was sitting up in his bed.  He tearfully said to me that I need to take care of myself so that I wouldn't have go through what he did.  He was always looking out for me, for us.  He was a compassionate man.  You see, physically, he had a weak heart and ultimately his weak heart was the end of him. Today I'm thankful that Kuya is in a better place with Mom and Tay in heaven. 

Today is a day to remember Josias and the awesome man that he was and our purpose for being here today is to honor him.  I believe the best way to honor him would be us to reflect on our own lives and the significance we each personally strive for.  In honor of him I would like for all of us for the next few moments to reflect on our own lives and on our own hearts.

Some observations about the Human Heart -

We describe a person without compassion as "heartless" and we urge him to "have a heart"  

our deepest hurts we call "heartaches"  

Jilted lovers are "brokenhearted"  

Courageous soldiers are "bravehearted"  

The truly evil are "black-hearted" 

and saints have "hearts of gold"  

If we need to speak at the most intimate level, we ask for a "heart to heart" talk.  

"lighthearted" is how we feel on vacation .  

And when we love someone as truly as we may, we love "with all our heart"   

But when we lose our passion for life, when a deadness sets in which we cannot seem to shake, we confess, "my heart's just not in it"

It has been said that there are 2 things that can pierce the human heart.  The first is BEAUTY.   When we are young, we believe that everything is beautiful.  Life is great and God is good.  Recently my daughter Annie wanted to learn to ride a bicycle.  I took the training wheels off of her bike because I agreed she was ready and off we went.  I ran beside her holding her up and before we knew it, she was riding by herself.  As she realized that she was doing it all by herself, she let out the most gleeful giggle.  It was the MOST concentrated pure unadulterated joy ever expressed.  I swear if you could just bottle the joy that she and I were both feeling, you could solve all of the worlds problems with getting along with eachother.

Sigh, I wish that the world only had beauty to offer but alas it doesn't.

The second thing that could pierce the human heart is AFFLICTION.  This is a certainty that we all know.  The arrows of Affliction come in all sorts of forms.  Sometimes they are little insults when we are children like "your ears are too big"  or "You are STUPID".   Some arrows are bigger like "losing a job" or "a failed business venture" or maybe a broken relationship.  Sometimes these arrows come fast and often and in order to provide ourselves respit we go search for significance bars and bottles. Maybe the biggest and worst arrow is the arrow we shoot into our own hearts and that is the disbelief in God.  We find ourselves shooting this arrow so as to kill the heart so that we don't have to feel anymore pain from all the previous afflictions.  The problem is that the arrows of affliction accumulate over time and when there is so much affliction without any healing, you lose heart and frankly life isn't worth living.

My question for you today is "what is the state of your heart"?   Here's the deal, I'm not even going to set up the joke, I'm just gonna give you the punch line.  The true source of Beauty in this life is Jesus.  Jesus can heal the afflictions you've experienced, he can remove the arrows that have pierced your heart and he could give you the significance your heart truly desires.  I'm suggesting that the compassion that Kuya displayed to me years ago is from the wellspring of compassion that only Jesus can bring.  Jesus wants for us to care for each other and for ourselves.

Each of us has a circle of influence.  There are a handful of people that are around us that we care for deeply.  Our spouses, brothers and sisters, friends.  I'm suggesting that you would honor the memory of my brother and honor Jesus by loving those that are close to you.  You can do this by performing spiritual open heart surgery.  Become an invasive instrument, get inside the chest of the person or people that you love... and help discover those long forgotten arrows of affliction and invite Jesus to heal them and restore you to a life of passion and compassion.

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