Moments

Called and loved

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The story is told of a man who boasted about his stem cell procedure—which made use of a lamb—and how everything turned out well. He said that he feels stronger, and he even looks younger. Everything was fine, except that whenever he burped, the sound “meeeh” would come out from time to time!

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Today is Good Shepherd Sunday. In today’s gospel (Jn. 10, 27-30), Jesus talks about His sheep who hear His voice, whom He knows, and who follow Him! One thing admirable about sheep or lambs is their obedience and docility. Today, let us ask ourselves: Are we sheep or lambs, obedient and meek, or are we wolves—uncaring, disobedient, and selfish?

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Today is also the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. “Vocare” is a Latin word which means “to call.” We are all called for something or someone greater than ourselves. Unless and until we see life as a calling or a vocation for a mission, then life is only an excursion or one big vacation, devoid of meaning, so full of worldly fulfillment and illusions.

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How consoling to know that we have a shepherd who guides, protects, and feeds us. “No one can take them out of my hand.” How assuring! So if we lose our way, it is not our shepherd’s fault, but our choice. Our shepherd is always there for us. Are we always there for our shepherd? Do we really listen to his voice?

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Recently, a young man whom I have known since he was a child told me that he wanted to enter the seminary and become a priest. I was quite surprised! He was an “unlikely” candidate for the priesthood, what with his talents, good looks, and wide circle of friends and acquaintances. Yes, our God is a God of surprises. We should not close our doors to His call and we must leave room for grace to enter and operate.

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Who are we to know God’s mind, or even dare to predict what He wills or plans? For those of you who think that you’ve got it all planned for the future, think again. God may be calling you for a very special relationship with Him, and to a very special mission for Him. Vocation may be translated as “bukás  yon” in Tagalog. Maging  bukas  ka (Be open)! And don’t say “búkas  yon.” Don’t postpone! “If today you hear His voice, harden not your heart.”

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Please pray for us, your priests. May we be not only your shepherds, but really your good shepherds. Thank you for your prayers and support. Sorry for all our failures and faults. By God’s grace, we hope to become more humble, loving, and sincere good shepherds!

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“One must really decide, and not just wish; commit and not just try; take responsibility, and not just hope.” At some moment of our lives, we must really make a choice and not vacillate between being good and being good somehow. The Lord asks of us today: “Are you with me or are you against me?”

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A lot of wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing are going around these days wooing our people’s vote for the coming elections. Let us elect leaders who will serve us, not enslave us, or fool us. And let us elect leaders not from the same pack or family because no single family can claim an exclusive franchise on public service.

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Please remember that the most fertile ground for vocations is the family. The world around us may change, but vocations will bloom as long as there is love, sharing, and praying in our homes. Please watch out for political leaders who seek to destroy marriage, family, and life itself.

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Random Notes: A church wedding, for free, is being sponsored by the Sacred Heart Parish of Kamuning, Quezon City, on June 8, the Feast of the Sacred Heart. The deadline for registration is May 12. For details, call 9290419.

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The Philippine Guidance and Counseling Association invites guidance counselors, psychologists, teachers, social workers to its annual convention on May 15-17 at Miriam College on Katipunan Avenue in Loyola Heights, Quezon City. The theme is “Beyond Knowledge: Wisdom in Counseling.” It aims to enhance counseling competencies and help earn continuing professional education points for licensed guidance counselors. For details, log on to www.pgca.org.ph.

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You are invited to join a pilgrimage to Eastern Europe (Czech Republic, Germany, Poland and Hungary), with a side trip to Switzerland. Included also is a visit to the Shrine of the Divine Mercy of Saint Faustina, and the birthplace of the late Pope John Paul II. Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD, will serve as chaplain. For inquiries, visit Broadway Travel Inc. at 465 UN Avenue, Manila, call 5211608 or e-mail mailbox@broadwaytravelph.com.

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Inviting you to our biennial “Walk with God” on May 4, starting at 5 a.m. at the cathedral in Urdaneta, Pangasinan, and ending with a 9 a.m. Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag.

This 13-kilometer, three-hour walk is offered in gratitude for blessings received and for our special intentions. One with you!

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Bantay Matanda is inviting you to a lay forum on April 27, 9 a.m.-12 noon, at the Arnold Janssen Hall, Christ the King Seminary, E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Quezon City. The topic is “Stress Management (Cause and Prevention).” The guest speaker is Dr. Pia Reyes, geriatric psychiatrist. For details, call 3732262, 9982548, or 09174167849.

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, You continue to call us, not so much because of us, but in spite of us. Thank You, for Your call and Your love. Amen.

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