Today, I want to give you a little reading that God placed over my heart this week. This is a Gospel Reading that I reflected on last Tuesday or Wednesday.

This is from Luke 14:38 and the heading of the Gospel Reading says Jesus heals many people.

Let me read the Verse to you:

I pray whoever is sick right now that Jesus would put His hand over you

and that He would rebuke that sickness and you would get up on your feet and be healed in that moment.

And then in Verse 40, it says:

But because they knew he was the Messiah, He rebuked them and refused to let them speak.

And then something happens. This is the most important part for me–Verse 42:

A Tragedy

So, He continued to travel around preaching in synagogues throughout Judea.

Let me explain this moment for you.

I had a friend in college and she was one of my closest friends– growing up throughout college, we were very close.

She’s the kind of person who loves life and who’s easy to be around with. Do you know anyone like that?

Friends like that? That’s the kind of person that she was. She loved her life and for four years we were in the same group— we were barkada.

And then we graduated from college and I never saw her again. Never heard anything about her. Back then social media was not very prevalent yet.

You can probably imagine how old I am based on that.

Then, a year after college, the group, the barkada, we were all shocked to hear the news that she took her life– she took her own life. She jumped from a 12-story building and that killed her instantly.

We were at her wake and there we realized not one of us knew exactly what was going on in her life. We were all shocked! I mean nobody knew. Nobody expected something like that to happen.

This incident made me realize that it’s possible that you could be close to some people yet never really know who they are, or what they’re thinking, and what they’re feeling.

Can you look at the person beside you? If that person is close to you, I want you to know that you don’t really know that person — because that person is full of thoughts and emotions. And I want you to challenge yourself to really get to know that person.

But here’s the message of the Gospel: Jesus was healing people left and right.

He healed Peter’s mother-in-law privately. He healed some people publicly.

And yet, when Jesus was about to leave, they said, “Jesus, no, you cannot leave!

There are still so many people who are sick. There are still so many problems. There are still people who are blind, lepers, and deaf you need to heal! All of these sicknesses.”

But you know what, Jesus said? He said, “I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other towns too– that is why I was sent.”

How many of you need a miracle in your life? All of us.

Jesus Came Not To Perform Miracles

You know, all throughout my life, I would always approach Jesus for a miracle: “You know, Jesus, there’s this bill that needs to be paid. My kids are sick. A couple, my friends, their marriage is failing. I need a miracle to show up in my life.”

That’s a good prayer.

But here’s one thing that I realized when I was reflecting on this: Jesus came into this world. He performed miracles, He healed people left and right, but the greatest shocker that I found out is that the reason Jesus came was not to perform miracles– but to preach a message.

What was the message? It was the message about the Kingdom of God.

So, here’s the simplified message to everybody: You pray for miracles, that’s good. But I want you to know that more than just praying about miracles, I pray that you hear the message of God about this Kingdom that He’s building.

Because to me, that’s more important– that there is this Kingdom that He is building. A Kingdom like no other. A kingdom for people who are abused, people who have been outcasts, people who are meek, people who are peacemakers.

This is what the Kingdom of Jesus is all about: People who feel like they are not always the first one in line, know that you’re first in the Kingdom of Jesus.

Jesus says, “Blessed are those who are peacemakers, blessed are those who are who are poor in spirit.” Because they’re the VIPs of this Kingdom.

So, what is the message? Pray for a miracle, but more than just praying for a miracle, pray that you know the heart of Jesus. Because think about it: When you truly know the heart of God, everything becomes a miracle.

What do I mean by that? Even if I don’t get my prayer answered, even if I don’t get the promotion that I’ve been praying for, even if I don’t get the baby that we’ve been praying for, or that healing to the sickness that I’ve been praying for right now, it’s okay– because I understand God’s heart, because I know God’s heart, I know that things will be okay.

That’s the Good News that Jesus is saying– that more than just performing about a miracle, Jesus is preaching that there is this Kingdom where the little ones are the VIPs.


Our message for today, one big message, is this: God sides with the little ones.

 It’s such a reassuring thought. But actually, in our society now, we want to be top dogs.


We want to be right up there. We want to be in control. We want to be in authority. We all are trying to do that. We all want to be on top of our companies, our businesses. You know, on top of the food chain– and that’s our earthly pursuit.

But if you want to get to know God’s Heart, God is telling us: He sides with the little ones. He likes the underdogs.

He sides with those who are oppressed, the judged, the criticized, the lowly, and the poor. Because for Jesus, He did not just read the law. Jesus had the heart behind the law.

In our Talk series, we’re going to see a lot of laws in the book of Deuteronomy.

So many laws. Some practical, some deep, some heat up in the hand.

But you will never go far and that you will never go wrong if you do not just look at the letter of the law, but look at the Spirit of the law. Look at the heart of the law giver. And laws are not meant for us to have a rigid life, for us to be, you know, boxed up. No!

The laws are for our freedom. Because the heart of the Father, the heart of Jesus, wants you to be free, wants you to live a full, meaningful, powerful life— not just for you.

Here’s the hint: The laws are not just for you. They are also for the people around you.

Practice Spiritual Humility

Today we will see how Jesus understood Deuteronomy. We’re going to read big chapters, breathe through some chapters, and we’re going to pick the thoughts and the feelings of the Father for us.

Because the laws have one goal: to side with the little ones, to take care of the little ones.


And so, I want to practice spiritual humility with you today.

Sometimes, we need to be reminded that we are the little ones. If you’ve come here, you feel so little, you feel so poor in physical, financial or even poor in spirit, if you’re hurting, if you’re doubting, if you feel abused, if you feel oppressed– come to God’s heart today.

And we are talking about just you and God. Today, we’ll be reminded that God’s heart is in your heart, and it’s in my heart. And you know what that means?

We don’t have to be little alone. We pull each other up, we build each other up, we protect each other, we care for each other. And that’s a beautiful community just like the Israelites—God’s chosen people. We are God’s chosen people.

And we are learning about the heart of the Father and again, to take care of the little ones. If you feel like you are the little one, listen up. Because God’s heart is for you and the people you think of. These are the people who I’ve identified in my life– aside from me. I see some people I recognize that they are little ones also in my network, in my life. This is also for them. But foremost, it is for you– because God wants to change your heart, and for you to be closer to Him. also for them. But foremost, it is for you– because God wants to change your heart, and for you to be closer to Him.

‘Irrelevant’ Laws

Let me read the Word, from Deuteronomy 26:

His heart is for the Levites, foreigners, orphans…

I pray that as we go through ugh this Talk, you will be closer to God’s heart– you will see how the Father sees. And we welcome all the prodigals, in Jesus’ Name.

We’re going to study and breeze through the chapters of Deuteronomy. And if you’re going to ask me what’s it all about—it’s about a bunch of laws, long list of laws, practical ones.

If you just read this Chapter as it is, sometimes, you’re going to get confused. Sometimes, you’ll see this doesn’t apply here and now.

You might be saying, “This is not relevant to me anymore.”

For example, Deuteronomy 25:4 says, Do not muzzle an ox while it is shredding out the grain.

There’s no ox here in the Philippines. “Ex” only…J

“Do not muzzle the ox while it’s shredding the grain.” What does that mean?

Remember, during that ancient time, the Israelites were in an agricultural society—it was high for cattle, for grain.

Not disturbing an ox may be just trivial. But actually, the heart of that commandment is to care for your animals because the animals give you livelihood. And if they give you livelihood, they give you Life. The law honors the commandment of God which is, “Thou shall not kill.”

So, actually, the laws are broadly grouped in the order of the Ten Commandments.

That’s the chapter that we’re unpacking now.

And again (as we said in the previous talk), Deuteronomy is wisdom literature.

It is not like, you know, this is the law, follow it to the letter.

No. Remember that this was written 3,000 plus years ago– for a particular group of people with a specific context.

Practical Laws

For example, here’s one more practical principle: Deuteronomy 23 gives a practical law on how to do a “number two” while you’re at camp: “Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself as part of your equipment you, have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself dig a hole and cover up your excrement.”

Backgrounder: To the modern society today, this is common sense.

But for thousands of years, this wasn’t common at all. Some 200 years ago, in many cities of civilized Europe, people threw human feces everywhere— on streets, alleys, canals, rivers, vacant lots, and open fields. As a result, they spread diseases and even caused epidemics that killed thousands.

That’s because they did not know yet about the Germ Theory—that certain diseases are caused by microorganisms (like in the poops) – too small to be seen except through a microscope.

And you know, the microscope was discovered only in 1668 by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. And only thereafter that the Germ Theory was developed by Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister, and Robert Koch in the 1860s.

But during the epidemics throughout the centuries, the Jewish communities did not suffer that large extent of sickness in their community and in their family.

You know why? Not because they knew about germs, but because of their religious rituals. Because of the Deuteronomy laws. They had lots of rituals about hand washing. They had rituals about caring for the body, and even this trivial commandment to bury your poop. They also quarantined people with contagious diseases, as instructed in the Bible 3000 years ago. There were a lot of epidemics, but Jewish communities, they were following God’s laws which protected not just one person — it protected everyone.

At the core of these laws was they wanted to live in a community that cared for each other.

God’s Heart is not just for one. God’s Heart is for everyone. So, maybe you’ve come here wanting to have a Feast and enjoying, you know, the beautiful celebration with Father Paolo. And then there’s a bonus– to see Sis. Rissa Kawpeng. Buy her book today. And then there’s Audee, and then there’s this Talk and Worship time.

The point here today is it is not just about you, but it is you with the rest of the Community. You attend The Feast today, and tomorrow, bring The Feast experience to your community. You be the light of the world as God called us to be in our Light of Jesus Family.


So, I’m going to enumerate some Bible passages, some commandments, and how they point out God’s Heart.

We have heard in the previous talks the law of gleaning. From Deuteronomy 24:19:

The orphans, the foreigners, the widows, especially in their context, especially in their time, they were considered to be poor because they had no property.

Especially the widows, the orphans no longer had household income when they lost their primary provider—spouse, parents. They were God’s poor.

And the commandment tells us: “Huwag kang gahaman.– Don’t be greedy.” Leave something for them to harvest as well. Don’t harvest everything because there will be people who will also benefit from your harvest.

Because in the world’s scoreboard, we’re always looking for our personal gain, we always want to secure ourselves. We want to be rich, and getting richer every day. That is good. But that world gain is not just for you. God’s Heart says it’s also for the little ones who don’t have anything.

God’s scoreboard is communal game. It’s not just for your personal good. It’s for everybody’s good. In God’s Kingdom, you cannot get rich alone. God has a plan for you and for your family. And maybe some of you would become cycle breakers in your family. You will be the first one who will be debt-free, or will have a wholesome family. Maybe it will be you who will raise in a better way, whatever you call it, the children. Yes.

But sometimes, the ego has a tendency to claim, “Ako yan. Ako yan! Me. Me.”

But remember, God’s Heart, it’s not just for your gain. God’s Heart is for our communal gain. It’s for everybody’s gain. You cannot and you will not be happy to be rich alone.

Practical Principles

That’s why we have this Community.

You know, the other day and yesterday, there was this Lux Couple’s Retreat held by the LOJ Couples Ministry. Finally, we did it after the Coronavirus Disease (COVID) Pandemic. There were 23 couples: a lot of couples less than five years old married; 10 couples married 15 years and up.

I was so happy to be there and to give a talk. The Retreat was so beautiful. You know why? Because they learned relationship lessons, there will be groups, and there will be couples who will be fighting for marriages. We’re not just alone. We’re a lot of people doing that. We’re trying to do it at our best and together, we’ll be happier.

Practical principles of sharing harvests: If you want to feed the hungry, share to the group.

For corporates, you know, share the recognition with your team members. If you’re a person in authority– you’re a manager, a supervisor– practice what I learned from my mentors: the Elevator Principle.

You ride the elevator and the elevator will bring you to high–up, up, up– levels. But the elevator does not just go up. What does the elevator do?

It also goes down.

Once you’ve experienced what it is to be on top, once you’ve experienced a certain level of influence, leadership position, you go down to a different level, a lower level, and then bring someone with you as you go up again.

If you’re a business owner, give opportunities for your other business owner friends. And even if you don’t know that person, just do good. He’s also a Filipino, a human being, a child of God.

There was this week, when I was invited to give a corporate talk. And I was like, I could always just say, “Sorry, I’m not available.”

But I realized, oh, this was an opportunity (to share the honor with another corporate manager). You know what I did?

I asked the organizer, “May I refer Bro. Audee Villaraza…? The opportunity could have stopped with me. I would have not gained anything– but my friend could have. You know, leave the opportunities for some other people. As well as bring opportunities to them.

That’s one transmutation of this principle of “sharing your harvest.”

So, let’s dive in from Deuteronomy 22, read it together with me:

Don’t ignore your responsibility. This is us becoming responsible not just for our own things but for the property of the loved ones around us, even our friends, even the neighbor who may be living far away.

Would you be comfortable: you left your iPhone 13 or 14 in this session hall. Are you confident enough that if you lost it here in this session hall, it will be given back to you?

What is the law giving us? It’s giving us a literation of the seventh commandment: “Do not steal.”

And you do not just act on it– do not just steal. You have a personal responsibility to the persons around you. Care for the property of the other people around you.

A practical example: Leave the bathroom clean for the next person to use. Here, I am guilty: If you drive within your lane and you do not swerve, you’re also protecting the other people around you.

So, there’s the Heart of God saying, “Magmahalan kayo.—Love one another.” Not just in words but also in action– and especially during the times when it’s hard to do so. Especially when property is at stake– when, “Hindi naman akin yan.

–Anyway, it’s not mine…”

Walang sinuman ang nabubuhay para sa sarili lamang. Walang sinuman ang namamatay para sa sarili lamang. Tayong lahat ay may pananagutan sa isa’t isa. Tayong lahat ay tinipon ng Diyos na kapiling Niya. — No one lives for one’s self. No one dies for one’s self. We are responsible for each other. God draws us together to be with Him.

Please, imagine a world where your neighbor cares for your stuff because he or she cares for you. Imagine a world when your neighbor cares for your well-being.

Talk to your mother, your father you quarreled with. Honor your mother and your father.

In Deuteronomy, you’ll read about slavery.

Please remember that this is a part written in a particular society, in a particular time, in a particular context.

Some people would ask: Why didn’t God just ban slavery?

Answer: Deuteronomy was working with the ugly reality of our broken, fallen, and messed up world.

The laws limited the worst tendencies of human beings to do evil. And as we said in the previous Talk 5, it was damage control.

So, here’s the Bible passage about the abused and taking care of the abuse. Deuteronomy 23:15-16:

And you see, the context there is maybe the person was being maltreated by the master. Maybe the person was having a hard time. It’s not right, and the commandment is that everyone gets protected.

Please take care of the abused. How do you apply this now?

When someone asks for your help, listen first before you deny– and maybe if there’s any power in you that you get to help, please help that person.

Let me clarify: Sometimes, the help is also tough love. Not necessarily all the time– because we’re going to be empowering the abusers if we just seem to be mild-hearted. No. Sometimes, tough love is the solution.

But the practical principle, ask yourself after this stuff: “Do I recognize anybody in my company, in my team, in my family who is abused? If there is anything in my power to help them, to care for them, I would.”

And you know, my family and I saw this with my parents… That we have a good house for seven children. And yet, we still have enough space for those people who come to our house seeking some shelter.

Some people stay for days, some stay for weeks. And a few who stayed for months. It could have been their fault. It could have been the fault of the society. They could have lost their job…

But it will always be good.

In God’s goodness, it will always be good when there will be caring people who will welcome and provide shelter for those who may be feeling abused.

You will see it in Deuteronomy that God cares for even the borrowers. Deuteronomy 24:6 says:

Maybe you’ve been asking, what is a millstone? It is used to grind the grain from the harvest so the grain becomes food. So, the law is saying do not get even the millstone that the person could be using for food. It’s protecting the borrower as well.

Furthermore, in Deuteronomy 24:12-13 says:

In Tagalog, “Huwag kang mang-api– don’t oppress– even if it’s in your right to do so.” Be a good person. Show some mercy, and you will be shown mercy.

It’s like the Father’s Heart telling us: “Child, feel the suffering of your siblings and do something about it.”

Even the borrowers are cared for. Imagine that community and society. Those in position of power– the ones who are lending– even if you have all the right to do so, instead of trying to be right, you can choose to be kind.

How do we apply this law in our life? Don’t incur debts. And if someone borrowed from you, think of how you can ask for his payment. Do it with a kind heart. If the person cannot pay, ask God for the payment—for sure, He will return to you what the person borrowed.

In Deuteronomy, we encounter again the law of tithing– offering, giving to the Community. We think that it is us giving to God. It is true. But because we’re giving to God, what God does with our giving is He gives it back to us a thousand-fold.

So, look at Deuteronomy 26: 10-11:

Our faith, our practice as Christians, is that when we harvest, we put a portion in a basket and we give it to worship, we give it to Church, we give it to God.

Because God is doing something with it.

So, your tithing feeds the Community. It is not just to honor God.

Because by honoring God with our first fruits, we get to do this: we get to build Feasts.

You know, I’m a product of the Community’s kindness. There was a time when our family was in trouble– when my dad was going through dialysis three times a week. It was so hard because I was in med school and some of our brothers and sisters were already, you know, supposed to be in graduate school but they skipped, they just worked in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) this and that.

It was a hard time, but you know what, the faith community where my parents were members at the time, the Bukas Loob sa Diyos, gave us some sort of allowance just for us to get by.

I like a community where we’re all giving so we are able to help those in need.

And thanks be to God, we get to share our resources with the Levites, the poor, the oppressed.

We get to help beneficiaries of our Mercy Ministries: The Anawim Home for Abandoned Elderly; Grace To Be Born (for unwed pregnant women in crisis); He Cares Mission for street children… It’s because there is an entire Community, a large Community that you are part of, that gets to help those in need.


Let me continue:

“Then you must declare in the presence of the Lord your God I have taken the sacred gift from my house and have given it to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows just as you have commanded me. I have not violated or forgotten any of your commands. I have obeyed the Lord my God and have done everything you have commanded me.”

You cannot say that you have done everything that God has commanded you if you do not include the little ones, if you do not feed the poor, if you do not help that person who is abused and oppressed. You cannot tell God that “I have done everything that You have commanded,” if you do not care for the poor.

God’s poor, the Levites, the widows, those representatives of the poor ones in our communities.

God calls us to be His partners in co- creating Heaven– Eden here and now. You are not just a mere creature existing in God’s creation. No.

God is telling us, “You co-create with me.” Create Heaven in the midst of this world. You bring to others that heavenly gift, you bring that beautiful experience of love, peace, kindness, and joy.

Hey, in this dark world, you, the Light of Jesus Family, The Feast community, your role is to feed people. Still shine light through the dark times of the oppressed, of the hurting, of the sick.

In Heaven, Eden includes my neighbor too — especially the suffering.

This Is Us

Last week, we launched the Feast Conference and I met someone who told me “I bought tickets already.”

I said, “Oh, congratulations. Thank you for supporting the Feast Conference!”

And he said, “Doc, help me pray. Help me pray because this ticket is for someone I don’t know yet but I’m buying this one because I know God wants me to buy this one for someone that I don’t know yet.”

And that is a sign for me– that is a sign that we are becoming a Community of generous people, a Community of not just looking after your own seat, but looking if are there people who don’t have seats. The Community is not just here.

You know, there are people watching online. I know of people who are bedridden– they cannot come here but they are here, they have been here supporting us all the time, giving all the time.

There are parents, the young parents, the first ones, first second-year of having a baby. The sound system here is too loud for the babies, but the parents still come.

We now have a kids’ area because we still welcome them to The Feast where the young kids can play. Parents or guardians can attend The Feast there as well because we are streaming The Feast online and we have a screen in the room for you so you can watch the Talk, the Mass. I’ve asked our Eucharistic ministers to bring the Communion there. We do that.


Because this is us, this is God’s Community. This is you and me.

This story was first published in the Feast Family Online News Magazine

Published by THE FEAST (September 17, 2023)


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