Moments

Orders loud and clear

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The story is told about a policeman who flagged down a taxi driver who was going in the other direction on a one-way street. “Did you not read the traffic sign?” asked the policeman. “Sorry, I was in a hurry, sir,” replied the taxi driver. “I will let you go, but do you know what is ‘one way’ in Tagalog?” asked the policeman. The taxi driver could not answer, and could not comprehend the vague question, until the policeman said: “Isang daan (read P100).”

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In today’s Gospel (Lk. 3, 10-18), John gave very clear and specific answers when asked by people on what they should do to prepare for the Kingdom of God. God’s marching orders are simple and clear. We know what we should do. That is not the problem. The problem is in our openness and willingness to do what God wants us to do.

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God’s message and marching orders are clear, but often we go into diversionary tactics and muddle the orders with rationalization, procrastination and manipulation. May we really listen to what God is saying, and not just to what we are saying, or what the world is saying.

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“I don’t know, and I don’t care!”  Ignorance and arrogance are two most destructive and unproductive attitudes that a person can have. Blessed is the person who can humbly and honestly say to God and to others: “Please pardon my ignorance. How can I be of help?”

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It is heartwarming to know that our police and military personnel and other government employees have decided to forego their Christmas parties and will donate the amount that would have been spent to the victims of Typhoon “Pablo” in Mindanao. That makes me want to salute them 10 times over!  Mabuhay kayo!

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On the other hand, as I write this column (11 p.m., Dec. 14), I hear a continuous explosion of fireworks and pyrotechnics. I went out of my room just now, and I saw a marvelous sight in the heavens above. Nice. But my heart was sad, knowing how expensive the whole thing was, and wishing that the 5-minute display of colors and light could have been given to people who do not even have food or clothing tonight.

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Gambling and drugs destroy lives. How many lives, how many homes have been wounded and shattered as a result of these vices? What is very sad is when government officials and leaders become themselves gambling lords and drug lords—wolves in sheep clothing!

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A beautiful Christmas moment happened to octogenarian couple Alberto and Luvisminda Juanengo when their children Pinky and  Louie knocked at their gate last Nov. 23 to surprise them on their 60th wedding anniversary celebration. No matter how hard the times, Filipinos will always find their way to their families and homes this Christmas season. We acknowledge, too, the efforts of people who do everything and give up a lot just to be home for Christmas.

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Again, if I may repeat, why the haste, why the urgency in passing the reproductive health bill? Let’s put it this way: If there is no money involved in the whole matter, would our pro-RH camp be as passionate and as solid? To our legislators, I don’t know how the voting will end, but when the smoke has cleared, will you be standing with your head bowed, or with your head held up high? It all depends on how you voted and why you voted the way you did.

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Last Dec. 13, I was in Dinalupihan, Bataan, to honor the senior citizens, retiree-teachers and government officials of the town upon the invitation of Mayor Joel Payumo, who has been doing this admirable deed for many years now. It is so heartwarming to see how grateful and happy the elders are, knowing that they are remembered and appreciated. May we find time especially this Christmas to stop for the little ones, the slow, the timid, and those who are just “on the sides.”

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Stopping by a chapel one night was one Christmas moment that gave me so much peace and delight. This time of the year can be very busy and stressful, and all the sounds and lights of Christmas, not to mention the stress of the traffic and the demands to make this season bright, can leave us dazed. After a sick call one late night in a nearby hospital, I dropped by the hospital chapel. As I knelt alone in the candlelight, I experienced the embrace of God, and the meaning of it all. Wishing you simple Christmas moments, be it in a chapel, or in a party, or in a street where in one moment you experience the meaning of it all.

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We are shocked and angry at the news about a gunman who shot and killed 20 young students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in the United States. What idiot could do such a thing?! Please remember, the killing of thousands of helpless and innocent children goes on every day in the womb.

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One with you as we begin today the 9-day Aguinaldo novena Masses this Christmas!

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, your orders are clear. Give me a heart that truly obeys, and not only listens and hears. Amen.

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