Brave heart


The story is told about a man who went to confession and told the priest that he had found a wallet with lots of money in it. The priest asked him if he had returned the wallet or turned it over to anyone. He replied: “Not yet, Father. I am still deciding if it is a temptation from the devil, or the answer to my prayer.”

* * *

In today’s Gospel (Lk. 4, 21-30), Jesus became the source of amazement and, at the same time, the source of fury among his very own people. For some, He was from God, but for others, He was from Satan. There were also those who could not decide what to think or what to make of Him. Through it all, Jesus was focused on His identity and mission without much consideration to human appreciation or rejection.

* * *

Jesus was not a crowd-pleaser. He was a truth-teller. He had no agenda except to proclaim God’s Word. He was a prophet who did not go for personal profit. He was not afraid to “rock the boat,” braving rejection, persecution, even execution. In contrast, how many of us would bend and break our creed and code just to get going with our personal selfish agenda?

* * *

There are people who, instead of specializing in pleasing the Father, are highly specialized in “placing.” They neither take risks nor go out of their comfort zones, and just play it safe in life. These people just go with the flow and sway wherever the wind blows, lucky people who have the “best of both worlds.” Lucky, yes, filled with worldly benefits, but shallow, vain, and empty.

* * *

By the way, as you and I know, there are people whose favorite hobby and passion are just to talk about other people. These self-appointed critics and commentators would do well to take a good look at themselves and examine their own performance and self-worth. As they say, we cannot please everyone. And we should not. In our work for the Lord, may we not be dismayed by criticism and opposition. Neither must we be inflated with pride in the face of praise and appreciation.

* * *

When we finally face our Creator, may we not be filled with shame that we did not go out of our way to follow Him. May we hear Him say “Welcome!” because we remained faithful to His offer and calling. Today, let us ask ourselves: What have I done, what have I sacrificed for God? Do I have a loving heart, and a brave heart?

* * *

We honor today countless and faceless people who continue to do good with or without appreciation. There are so many unknown and unnoticed people who do not blow the trumpet to call attention on themselves, and who in fact do not need human applause and adulation. On the other hand, we can’t help but be dismayed with people who in every and any way would seize the opportunity for self-aggrandizement and fame. Whoa!

* * *

Judge not. Let us think kindly of other people. May we be charitable in our thoughts and not measure people with our own measures and standards. Please remember that all of us have our own individual battles to fight, and mountains to climb. Life is hard enough. May we not make it harder for others.

* * *

I would like to share with you this beautiful prayer: “Dear God, I don’t know about the challenges my friends are facing, but you know everything; I hear their silence, you hear their pleas; I see their laughter, you see their tears; I see what they received, you see what they sacrifice; I see their happy faces, you see their scared souls; I know their faith, you know their doubts; I know about their dreams, you know their fears. Bless them all, Lord, I pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

* * *

Jose Orolfo, our maintenance man at the Mission House, died due to a stroke at the age of 54 the other day. He was a simple, soft-spoken person, with simple dreams for his family and loved ones. In my book, he is greater than those who ride on the waves of greatness and leave behind so much hurt and destruction in this world because of their greed, selfishness, and pride.

* * *

Take note that the Lenten season begins already on Feb. 13, Ash Wednesday, and Holy Week will be on March 24-31. Time flies. Life is short. Remember, what is done for others and for God is never wasted. What we have done for ourselves dies with us.

* * *

February is the month of hearts, to remind us that matters of the heart still and do matter. May we not be so engrossed in practical, pragmatic, and beneficial concerns at the expense of sacrificing or lessening the stuff we are made of as persons.

* * *

Speaking of hearts, may we have brave hearts that dare to be true and honest in a world that is so full of dishonesty and manipulations.

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, give me a loving heart. Give me also a brave heart that holds on to the truth no matter what. Amen.

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Tags: Catholic Church , Fr. Jerry M. Orbos , Gospel , Jesus Christ , Lent , Moments , opinion , Religion , SVD

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