Moments

The secret

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The story is told about a young lion that asked his mother: “Where is happiness?”  The mother lion responded: “On your tail.” Upon hearing this, the young lion started chasing his tail, and spent the whole day doing so. Seeing the young lion tired and exhausted, the mother lion said: “Son, you don’t chase happiness. Just keep moving forward, and your happiness will follow.”

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In today’s Gospel (Mt. 11, 25-30) Jesus reveals to the disciples the secret to peace and happiness: childlike trust and obedience unto him. “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” In other words, when we stop chasing our own happiness, and move towards the Lord, then and only then does true peace come.

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To the proud and the mighty, Jesus’ secret to happiness is foolish. For those who want to control and to manage everything and everyone the whole idea of letting go and letting God does not make sense at all. How true today what Jesus said about the blindness of the “wise and the learned,” and the gift given to the “little ones.”

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Sometimes we make the mistake of pushing too hard the doors ahead of us, when all we needed to do is to pull. Or, trying to chase after a butterfly, when all we need to do is just to sit still, and let the butterfly come to us and settle on our shoulders.

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Jesus’ invitation to all who labor and are burdened is clear: “Come to me”! If we want true, lasting peace and rest, we go to the Lord – not to the mall, not to the nightclub, not to the drug den, not to the corridors of power, not to places of worldly fame and pleasures. It is a very personal invitation. It is non-transferrable. It has no expiry date, but, the sooner, the better. Yes, go to the Lord, and have peace!

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There is a yoke involved when we follow the Lord. There are sacrifices and discipline required, which are tough, but not impossible, hard, but bearable. But along with the challenge is the promise that the Lord’s yoke is easy, and His burden, light. In the long run those who follow the Lord and His commandments will live a life that is full and meaningful, whereas those who disobey Him will live a life that is miserable and stressful.

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The key to true peace and happiness is coming to the Lord, and learning meekness and humility. How many of our headaches and heartaches could have been avoided if we had humility of heart! How many regrets would not have found their way into our lives if only we did not sin because of pride!

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Recently two friends of mine experienced losing their sight. One became very depressed, while the other just took it all in a stride. One took the resentful, angry road, while the other took the trusting, grateful road. They both came to the Lord, but one took the yoke with pent-up pride, while the other took the yoke with humble and contrite heart.

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There are a thousand and one reasons people come together these days. Last week I was surprised to see eight confreres sitting around our reading table at the Mission House all engrossed with their laptops. What brought them together? Wi-Fi signal. They were communicating with the big world out there, but hardly to each other! I “intruded” into their worlds, started some talk, told some jokes, brought in some snacks and drinks, and before we knew it, we had a community going, and ended up sharing, laughter, and yes, prayers.  Jesus’ invitation to “come to me” is not meant only for individuals but for groups, for communities, and for nations as well.

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What are the obstacles that prevent us from going to the Lord?  What are the blocks that hinder us from reaching out to each other?  There are so many reasons we can put forth, but the bottom line is that whenever we are weary or are burdened, we must reach out to the Lord and to each other in humility.

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A lot of our people are tired and are heavenly burdened. Were it not for our deep faith, as individuals and as a nation, we would have given up or disintegrated long time ago. Our faith gives us hope. Our culture gives us patience. But our government should give us the structures and the services necessary to survive and to grow. We continue to pray for good, able, and self-sacrificing leaders.

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Archit Bartolome turned 70 last June 30. Every once in a while, we meet people who inspire and edify us by simply being themselves, and for me Archit is Mr. Positive, not to be dampened by anything or by anyone, bringing sunshine, personifying the adage “Live well, love much, and laugh often.”

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When you come to the end of the day, do you sleep with a sigh or with a smile? Do you have fears in your heart, and do you need the TV, or a drink to knock you out? Try prayer. Simple, sincere, humble prayer, full of trust and total surrender.  And please, don’t resolve issues and solve problems when you are about to sleep.  All you need to say is:  “Lord, take over!  And take care of me and the world while I sleep”!

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, remind me that the secret and the key to peace is humility. Amen

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