Moments

In haste

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The story is told about an elderly citizen who was stopped by the police for speeding. When asked why he was in such haste, his answer was:  “Sir, I was in a hurry to go to where I was going before I forget where I was going!”

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In today’s Gospel (Lk. 1, 39-45), we hear about Mary who traveled in haste to Judah to visit her cousin Elizabeth. The haste was not due to pressure or obligation. It was haste filled with awe and joy for all the marvelous things that were happening as a part of the Divine plan that was unfolding. It was holy haste, not something that left one stressed, exhausted, or angry. It was haste filled with obedience, humility, and trust in something or someone greater than themselves.

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Haste does make waste. All the haste, the preparations, the obligations and deadlines associated with the Christmas season can literally drain us if we forget the reason for it all.  When Christmas becomes an agenda or a function, then it is shallow and bereft of meaning and inner satisfaction. When Christmas is about a person, about relationships and missions, then it is something that gives so much joy, fulfillment, and meaning.

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Why all the haste this Christmas season? Are you stressed and pressured this Sunday morning because of your unfinished Christmas agenda? Maybe it is time to pause and really listen to the celebrant of this Birthday celebration! On the other hand, are you simply indifferent and uncaring about Christmas? You, too, need to listen and allow yourself to be told and reminded again of the greatest story ever told: “For God so loved the world, He gave His only Son…” (Jn. 3,16)

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Notice how the reproductive health bill was passed in haste, and how the powers that be did not hesitate to use whatever they had to make sure that the bill would be passed. Notice the great rejoicing, the embracing, and the exchange of congratulations? Congratulations for what? Okay, the RH bill has been passed.  However, let us continue to be vigilant and not allow this culture of death to prevail upon us.  Look, in haste, they are already talking about divorce!

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Christmas is all about life, about an infant that leaped to life in the womb of Elizabeth at Mary’s greeting and visit, who in turn honored Mary, saying: “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” These two women kept their babies, in spite of poverty, problems and difficulties. They had their personal human agenda and plans. I am sure they had their doubts and questions, too, but in the end, they submitted everything to the Divine plan. We, too, should make sure that we leave some space for the Divine in all our thoughts, words, actions and plans. There is a big picture, remember? We are not gods, remember?

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We honor the teachers who stayed, took care of, and protected the innocent schoolchildren who were shot and killed last week in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in the United States. We honor all teachers—and anyone, for that matter—who continue to guide, protect, and provide for the helpless and innocent, and the young the whole year round!

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Dec. 21 came and went and we are still here. The world did not end. Enough of these doomsday news and scenarios. There is no way we can really know or prevent what will come. As far as I am concerned, the end of the world comes to a person the moment he/she stops caring about anything or anyone. The moment you stop loving, you are already dead or dying.

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For three days now I have been without voice and can hardly speak because of a cough and cold, or simply having too Many Masses and talks. It made me realize the difficult situation of people who are “voiceless,” and it made me appreciate the value of being silent. The truth of the matter is that we need to talk less, and listen more, so that we will really be sensitive to God and to the world around us.

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Wishing you all a beautiful Christmas this year with your families, and wishing you and your families the grace and the opportunity to make Christmas beautiful for others as well! Think about it: There were people who were with us last Christmas, and are no longer with us this Christmas. And, there are people who are with us this Christmas who may no longer be with us next Christmas. So why don’t we make this Christmas the best Christmas ever yet, to God, to our family and loved ones, to people around us, and to our very selves?

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Our Christmas Midnight Mass will be broadcast on ABS-CBN on Dec. 24 at 11:45 p.m.  Yes, let us all continue to spread far and wide the greatest love story ever told—that God so loved us that He gave His only Son, and that we are all His children, and that we should love each other. Merry Christmas, everyone!

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A moment with the Lord:

Slow me down, Lord, amidst the haste, and point to me in the silence the meaning of Christmas, the meaning of love, and what’s it all about. Amen.

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