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Are You a Joaquin?

A standing favorite of ours, as of recent, is the animated film, The Book of Life. Not only is it culturally insightful, particularly on the Mexican belief system, but it's also a commentary against bullfighting and the popular notions of heroism. I don't think it hit high commercial success in our region, but I find it to be a noteworthy film.

One of the characters---Joaquin, childhood friend turned love rival of the film's protagonist and son of the film's legendary hero, Captain Mondragon, has a very peculiar way of carrying himself. Apart from donning on all the medals he has ever been awarded---all the time---every single time Joaquin performs an act of valor or heroism, he would shout out his name, "Joaquiiin!!!" very much like a superhero does. If you've seen the film, or get to see it, it's really quite amusing. Nika and I always have a good laugh. But it also made me realize something. There are some people who, like Joaquin, have made a habit out of announcing themselves to the world for every good deed they do.

Are you a Joaquin?

We are currently undergoing training in the Media Ministry, a special non-classroom one. We call it "Humility in Service." Simply put, we serve God and the Feast Alabang community as nameless and faceless servants. And for the most part, we have had quite an opposition. Apparently, many talented people have the will to serve and definitely, the skills to serve, but their hearts for service have yet to be pruned. Their eagerness to serve is driven, in part, by the chance to be acknowledged for their giftedness.

This is natural human character. If you've ever come across Maslow's hierarchy of needs, meshed somewhere between the need for love and belongingness, and the need for esteem, is the human tendency to want some form of acknowledgement thrown their way. That acknowledgement is how they believe their worths can be shaped. Just like Joaquin, who have long burdened under the memory of his great father, wanting to equal him in importance and stature, we often set out to be known for something.

But I learned an important fact, journeying with the Feast and my co-servants: my worth---your worth---is and will never be equated to any achievement, talent, or any worldly status under our names. Our worth lies in being a child of God. How can any medal stand up to that?

We are all works in progress. Right now, you may still feel the need to shout out your name, "Joaquiiin!" I do, too, many times. When I see someone reading my piece, I'd like to come up and say, "Hey, that's me." Then, I shrug it off and pray, "By You, Lord, I am acknowledged." In time, the only name we should ever hope to shout out, in our service, is "Jesus!"