Realities and possibilities


The story is told about two old friends, a Jewish rabbi and a Catholic priest, who were having dinner together. “This baked ham is delicious! I know it is against your religion, but you are missing a lot!” said the priest, teasing his friend. The rabbi looked at the priest with a big grin, and said: “OK. I will eat pork, on the day you get married!”

* * *

In today’s gospel (Lk. 21, 25-28.34-36), Jesus points out the signs that will happen prior to the coming of the Son of man. At the same time, Jesus advises us what to do in our present realities to prepare for the possibilities up ahead. Yes, we have our realities, but we also must be open to our possibilities.

* * *

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the time when we take a good look at our sinful realities and open ourselves to possibilities of greater sanctity and true greatness. The overriding attitude of this season is that of hope. No matter how low or how far we have wandered from God’s love, we are always welcome to rise up and to come closer to God’s heart.

* * *

Oftentimes, we are weighed down by fright and anxiety. Fear is useless. Despair is not beneficial. As we face a future that is fragile and uncertain, we must hang on, and be anchored on trust and hope. Otherwise, we will be tossed and thrown by waves of fear and despair.

* * *

Advent is all about change—change for the better. At any moment in our lives, we can choose to change. While there are many realities we can no longer change, the good news is that we can change our perceptions, our attitudes, our values, our mindsets, our very hearts, with God’s grace. And the good news is that such change is available and doable, and it can start now.

* * *

In our final Mass, I always tell my pilgrimage group that I have good news and bad news for them. The bad news is that when we return to the Philippines, we will find that nothing has changed. The same problems, the same people, the same situation, the same conflicts and irritants await us. The good news is that we have changed for the better. If we can go back to our realities as better persons—i.e., a little bit more loving, more understanding, more humble, more patient, more joyful, and more hopeful—then the pilgrimage we did was meaningful and worth it all. May the season of Advent be a season of change and direction, for the better.

* * *

I have seen many conversions. Change for the better starts when a person accepts his/her reality in honesty, and asks for help in humility. When honesty and humility finally set in, the prisoner is freed, darkness is removed, and a new life begins. Advent is the time for us to rid ourselves of denial, dishonesty, arrogance and pride.

* * *

Today is the Day of the Handicapped. We remember, pray for, and support our brothers and sisters who have physical disabilities and challenges. Let us be inspired by their courage and faith. Having said that, let us look into our own personal, relational, emotional, and spiritual disabilities and handicaps.

* * *

Advent teaches us conversion from quantity to quality. Instead of focusing on power, pride, and the pleasures of this world, Advent points to quality time in this world—in particular, vigilance and prayer. Life is short. Death is certain. So let us spend our life in preparation for eternity. Let us not be overwhelmed by our realities. Let us transcend them, and go for better possibilities.

* * *

Our dear Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle concretely indicated the direction to take when he said that he wanted Filipinos not to live “Godless lives,” and to continue valuing their families. Yes, let us be vigilant and be careful of anything or anyone that would destroy the most precious Fs of Filipinos—i.e., our freedom, our faith, our family. Take note: Catholics can be belittled and pushed, but when push comes to shove in matters of freedom, faith, and family, expect Filipino Catholic action for the good of our people and our nation.

* * *

Dec. 8 is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. We ask our Blessed Mother to be with us in our journey, and lead us closer to God’s heart. She was one person who transcended her wretched human realities, and trusted in God’s grace to realize her divine possibilities. “Our Queen, our Mother, remember that we are your very own. Defend and protect us as your personal possession, and never leave us alone.”

* * *

Inviting you to a 6 p.m. Mass followed by a rosary concert at the Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish in Marikina City on Dec. 7 to show our love and gratitude to our Lord and to our Blessed Mother. For inquiries, call 7217457 or 09178228238.

* * *

“Oh Some Moments III,” a collection of stories, jokes, reflections and songs of yours truly and blind girl Fatima Soriano, is now available. Good Christmas gift, good to relieve stress, especially during the Christmas rush and traffic, and good offering to help our Filipino missionaries overseas. For particulars, call 7217457 or 09176282671.

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help me to transcend my realities and move toward my possibilities. Amen.

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Tags: Advent , Catholic , Fr. Jerry M. Orbos , Gospel , Moments , opinion , Religion , SVD

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