Moments

Found and forgiven

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The story is told about the father of the bride who was grinning from ear to ear on his daughter’s wedding day. When asked why, he said: “It is a happy day because my daughter is finally getting married. It is also liberation day because she finally returned her extension credit card to me!”

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In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us about the happiness and the joy when a lost sheep or a lost coin is found. The whole message of the Gospel is that of coming home and being found. Life need not end in the streets or in the darkness. Yes, the Gospel is the good news that gives us not only consolation but also hope, which we need to hear in our world that is filled with so much hopelessness, helplessness, and despair.

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A sheep or a coin is found because somebody did not give up. Somebody kept on looking. Somebody did not quit. Whatever endeavor, whatever mission, or whatever cause we take up in life will require of us not only wisdom and hard work, but more so, endurance and perseverance.

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One of the things we must not give up in this life is goodness itself. The Lord tells us today that He does not give up on our goodness, so neither should we easily give up on our own and on other people’s goodness. In spite of the rising incidence of war, violence and crime, we must not give up on believing that people are basically good, and that goodness is never gone. As the Desiderata put it beautifully: “With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it’s still a beautiful world.”

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“My goodness!” We usually use this expression when we are frustrated or exasperated with the way other people behave. This suggests that we believe we are good while others are not, or that we are better than the rest. None of us has a monopoly on goodness. But we must not easily let go of our goodness either. No matter what the world says, we must not stop believing in our innate goodness.

It often happens that a person can believe that he/she is rotten and hopeless deep inside.

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How about national goodness? Do we believe in our goodness as a nation and as a people? Do we still believe that we Filipinos are made of good stuff, and that there is still a bright future ahead of us? In particular, is good governance still possible in our lifetime? The Lord tells us today to believe and not to give up on goodness. Perhaps we need to tell ourselves more, as a people and as a nation, that we are good and that we can be better.

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I remember one time when I boarded a jeepney in Bangued, Abra, and sat in front beside the driver. What would have been a boring trip for me and the driver turned out to be a light journey filled with smiles. Why? I told the driver that his jeepney has a good horn. His face brightened up, and guess what? He kept blowing the horn at every opportunity and even needlessly, all the way, feeling good about himself, just because somebody noticed something good and pointed it out to him. Affirmation works. Try it.

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Please remember that while God hates sin, He loves the sinner. In our anger or rage, we may be so caught up in punishing or condemning those who do us wrong, but for God, the bottom line is the conversion, the redemption and the salvation of the sinner. The evil one will promote punishment and condemnation, but God will offer forgiveness, understanding and salvation. As God is not harsh with us, may we also not be harsh on one another.

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Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of the Triumph and Exaltation of the Cross. Today, we also celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. As we journey on, we will encounter the cross and experience sorrows. But, as the Lord will save us from our crosses, let us be confident that our sorrows will also lead us to liberation from our sinfulness and onward to victory. Indeed, the crosses and the sorrows of this life will eventually transform us and set us free.

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Food for thought for the journey: “Remember, there is no sinner without a future, and there is no saint without a past.”

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Here’s a beautiful reminder from a fellow traveler in this life journey: “Whenever you don’t understand what is happening in your life, just close your eyes, take a deep breath and pray: ‘Oh, God, you are in control of everything. I put my trust in You. My life is in Your hands. Amen.’”

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, thank you for being an understanding, forgiving and merciful Father to us all. Amen.

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  • andrew lim

    “Please remember that while God hates sin, He loves the sinner. In our anger or rage, we may be so caught up in punishing or condemning those who do us wrong, but for God, the bottom line is the conversion, the redemption and the salvation of the sinner. The evil one will promote punishment and condemnation, but God will offer forgiveness, understanding and salvation. As God is not harsh with us, may we also not be harsh on one another.”

    I think you just gave an inkling why corruption can never be reduced or tempered here. Napoles and the lawmakers involved are so happy with this statement.

    Tuloy ang ligaya, lahat makakalusot!

    Justice before reconciliation!

  • virgoyap

    The Gospel speaks about the widow who was looking for her lost coin. For me the coin was a one centavo coin. Isang walang kwentang barya. And yet she was intensely looking for it. This is how God is looking for each one of us even if we consider ourselves or we considered other people as a walang kwentang barya.

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