Thursday, December 14, 2017
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Like a child

The story is told about an American pastor known for his very long sermons, who started his preaching by telling a boy: “Do you know why we have photos of military men and women before us today? This is to honor them who died in the service.” Candidly, the boy replied: “Which service, Pastor? Your 8:30 service or 10:30 service?”

Today is the Feast of the Santo Niño. In today’s Gospel (Mt. 18, 1-5,10), Jesus tells us who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Again and again, we must go back to the most basic lesson in life: We are creatures, we need God, we must not be proud.

Humility has become such a lonely word in today’s world that thinks proud, talks proud, and acts proud. Think of any proud person right now: That person will surely be gone, sooner or later. That person can be gone in an instant, or may grow old, sick and helpless, and forgotten someday. That person is you. That person is me.

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There is so much pride and arrogance, so much badmouthing and bashing these days. What has happened to basic respect, decency, and courtesy?  We need to heed these words: “Get rid of all bitterness, all passion and anger, harsh words, slander and malice of every kind. In place of these, be kind to one another, compassionate, and mutually forgiving, just as God has forgiven you in Christ” (Ephesians 4, 32).

If your life is getting toxic, and you are burdened with so much stress and pressure, maybe it’s time to exit from the fast lane, or from the flashbulbs, and take the road of humility and hiddenness.

A lot of things fall into place when we humble ourselves, and allow ourselves to be embraced by candle-glow moments.

Humble beginnings. That’s how Lorie and Lando Castillo started the Banay-Banay eatery in Lipa, Batangas, in 1984. They offered simple but tasty food, at a humble and affordable price, with humble and personal service. Because of hard, humble and honest work, Banay-Banay is now the most popular restaurant along the national highway, serving an average of 2,000 to 3,000 travelers a day.

Humble beginnings. That’s how St. Arnold Janssen started the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) in Steyl, the Netherlands, in 1875. Against all odds, and with not much resources, this humble, prayerful and diligent priest founded a society of missionary priests and brothers, specifically for the China mission. He went on to found two women’s congregations, namely the Holy Spirit Sisters (S.Sp.S) and the Pink Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (S.Sp.SAP). St. Arnold Janssen, whose feast day is Jan. 15, reminds us again that humility is the key to start, continue, and fulfill whatever endeavor

or mission we undertake in this life.

Congratulations to people who have come a long way from simple and humble beginnings. These “self-made” people are admirable and inspiring, but the problem comes when they become proud and arrogant, and forget the source of all their success and blessings. To those who have come a long way, make sure that you are not far away from God. To those who fly at high altitudes in life, make sure that you don’t have twisted attitudes.

Think about this: “One day, we all will depart on a journey free of cost. Don’t worry about seat reservation—it is confirmed; the flight is always on time; our good deeds will be our luggage; humility will be our passport; kindness will be our visa; and lots of love will upgrade us to business class.” Think about this, too: “One great form of wealth is kindness. It does not diminish no matter how much you give of it. You are wealthier every time you share it.”

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Let me end with the story about a little boy who was asked by his teacher: “Where are you from?” The boy responded: “From Tondo, Ma’am.”

“And where is Tondo?”

“In Manila, Ma’am.”

“And where is Manila?”

“In the Philippines, Ma’am!”

“And where is the Philippines?”

“In the world, Ma’am.”

“And where is the world?”

“In the hand of the Santo Niño, Ma’am!”

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help us to be humble and kind as we grow on, and help us not to forget the joy and simplicity of a child. Amen.

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TAGS: all passion and anger, arrogance, badmouthing, bashing, bitterness, courtesy, decency, Feast of the Santo Niño, harsh words, Holy Spirit Sisters, Humility, Malice, Pink Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, pride, respect, slander, Society of the Divine Word, St. Arnold Janssen, Sunday Gospel
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