Moments

Sail on… Anchor!

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The story is told about a priest who asked the sailor penitent when was the last time he went to confession: “Ten years ago?” The sailor answered: “Sail on, Father.” “Twenty years ago?” the priest asked again. “Sail on, Father!” “Thirty years ago?” he asked the third time. The sailor said: “Anchor, Father!” After confession, the sailor asked the priest: “If I did not make this confession, would I go to heaven?” The priest said: “Sail on, son.” “To purgatory, then?” “Sail on, son.” Finally, he exclaimed: “To hell, Father?” “Anchor, son!”

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Today is National Seafarers’ Sunday in the Philippines. We acknowledge the contribution of our seafarers to their families and to our country. They sail to distant shores, braving danger, deprivation, loneliness, and even persecution out there so that their families and their beloved Philippines may prosper. To them, we say, “Sail on!”

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In today’s gospel (Mk. 9, 38-43, 45, 47-48), the Lord teaches us to say “Sail on!” to those who may not be of our own kin or kind, but who collaborate with us in our work for His kingdom. Like sailors, we must not be afraid to venture into the deep, and to reach out to others in dialogue and friendship, accentuating our commonalities rather than our differences. God is so big. He cannot be exclusively or mainly contained by anyone or by any group among us.

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Let us not box out each other from the kingdom of God. Unless and until we learn that God is bigger than our religion, beliefs, and creed, we will end up retarding instead of enhancing the kingdom of God. Ask yourself today: Am I a stumbling block or a stepping stone toward the fulfillment of the kingdom of God?

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In today’s gospel, the Lord tells us to “Anchor!” on sin, and all those that lead us to sin. His words are clear: Let people and let things that lead us to sin be done away with. Who are the people, what are the things that lead us to sin? Let us examine ourselves today, and let us bring to the Lord’s mercy everything and everyone that lead us to temptation, and to sin.

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Starting this week, expect a multitude of persons and personalities to present themselves as public servants ready to serve our country and our people. To them, we say: “Sail on!” But to those who are in it for the money and for the family, we say: “Anchor!”  Please don’t make family business out of our beloved country!

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The period Sept. 4-Oct. 5 is Teacher’s Month. This year’s theme is “My Teacher, My Hero.” To all teachers, we say: “Sail on!” Thank you for your many untold work and sacrifices for the education of our youth. Thank you for inculcating in them not only knowledge but also values that help build a solid foundation for our nation.  Mabuhay  kayo!

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We say “Sail on!” to Fr. Peter Michael, SVD, on his 100th birthday tomorrow, Oct. 1. He is our first centenarian in the Philippine SVD who is still with us, and who continues to inspire all of us. His 179-page book titled “They Followed Jesus (A Harvest of Paschal Lives and Words)” will be launched tomorrow.

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October is Mission Month. We also say “Sail on!” to our benefactors and friends who help us raise funds for our Filipino missionaries working overseas. Thank you, especially, for your prayers and moral support for us.

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October is also the month of the Holy Rosary. Always carry a rosary with you. If you cannot pray the Rosary, at least carry one with you or just hold it once in a while.

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The Family Rosary Crusade of Siena College in Quezon City turns 45 this year. The crusade will culminate in a grand procession on Oct. 12 starting at 3:30 p.m. at the Siena College grounds. The crusade is in line with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ pastoral letter on the Era of New Evangelization which mandates: fostering and fulfilling the mission  ad gentes; bringing good news to the poor; reaching out to those who have joined other sects; awakening or reawakening in faith, forming and animating in Christian life our young people and youth sector groups. This year, the Siena College family crusade is headed by Sr. Ma. Sofia Taguinod, OP, and Nereo and Violeta Pecson.

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Inviting you to our traditional Walk with God to Manaoag, Pangasinan, on Oct. 6, Saturday. Take note: We start at 5 a.m. (not 6 a.m.) from Urdaneta Cathedral. We will have the 9 a.m. Mass at the Shrine of our Lady of Manaoag after our 3-hour, 13-kilometer walk of thanksgiving and petition. Let us pray for a good harvest of public servants in the May 2013 elections.

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help me to listen and to obey You when to anchor, and when to sail on. Amen.

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