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Beyond expectations

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Beyond expectations

Sharing with you two text messages I received recently, which sort of amused me as they were beyond my expectations, so to speak. The first one read: “My sister just died. Please pray for the eternal refuse of her soul.” And the second one read: “Thank you for officiating our wedding. Till next time.” (?!)

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Today is the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord. In today’s Gospel (Lk. 3, 15-16), the people are filled with expectation about the coming of the Messiah, wondering if John the Baptist might be the one. John put an end to all that by flatly declaring that he is not the one. Here was one honest, no-nonsense person who knew who he was and who did not pretend to be what he was not. If there is one thing we can say about John the Baptist, it is this: He was not a politician, nor was he in show business.

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Power, popularity, and wealth are such big temptations, and many of us fall for them. They present themselves subtly and slowly, and before we know it we have become chained to them. Let us be careful of rationalizations and half-truths. A sincere and constant listening to the Lord in prayer can help us avoid the sins of pride, selfishness and vanity. The best starting point is our sinfulness, and the best prayer is: “Lord, have mercy on me,

a sinner.”

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Do we really listen to the Lord? If we listen more to what people say, or to what we ourselves say, we are bound to err and go astray. Take note that what matters most is not that people say we are important, not even our thought of self-importance, but that we hear the Lord tell us: “You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.”

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To be pleasing to the Father doesn’t mean to be sinless. If that were so, then none of us can ever, ever, please God. Again, God sees the heart, especially the humble, contrite heart that tries, and keeps on trying, and

never gives up. Let us not forget that God is a God of mercy and compassion. He loves us more than we know, more than we can imagine—yes, more than and beyond our expectations. Is that being presumptuous? It is better to be presumptuous of God’s love than to doubt God’s love.

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By virtue of our baptism, we become sons and daughters of God, and become members of the Church. As sons and daughters of God, we are supposed to be like Him in our thoughts, words and deeds, and make Him real and present by our very lives. As members of the Church, we must not become delinquent members or mere bystanders. We must get involved, and we must share and spread our faith to others. Our being sons or daughters of God is not just a gift but also a responsibility. Our Church membership is neither exclusive nor merely for decoration purposes.

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We say goodbye to “Master Showman” German Moreno, who spent much of his life giving joy, hope and, yes, light! As someone once said: “If through one person, a little more love, a little more goodness, a little more light and truth come into the world, then that man’s life has had meaning.”  May we all live beautiful, meaningful lives pleasing to the Father.

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Ask yourself today: Am I living a life pleasing to God? When God looks at me, is He smiling, or is He shaking His head in disappointment or in disgust?

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Fr. Vic Cisneros, SVD, chaplain of the Prison Ministry in Batangas (Archdiocese of Lipa), is inviting us to “Lakad-Takbo ng may Awa” (Walk-Run with Mercy) to be held next Sunday, Jan. 17, to promote prison awareness and help in raising funds for the prisoners. It starts at 4 a.m. from the SVD Mission Center (Km. 97, Aguila, San Jose, Batangas), and will end on the same spot at 8 a.m. with a Mass to be celebrated by Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, STD, DD. Take note: This is not a fun run or walk by the prisoners, but for the prisoners! For details, please contact 09198738045 or 0917828254.

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As I write this column, we are watching the traslacion, the procession of the image of the Black Nazarene from the Luneta to Quiapo Church. It is a moving experience to see this slow but sure, labored but hopeful journey of people expressing their faith and freedom, expressing our journey as a people and as a nation. One with you in prayer for a better Philippines!

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Inviting you to join our pilgrimage to the Holy Land on March 7-16 and also to our Eastern Europe pilgrimage on May 11-24 which includes Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia and Poland. For inquiries, please contact Executive Resources at 5214156.

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, remind us that You love us, and that Your love is beyond our imagination, beyond our expectations. Amen.

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TAGS: Baptism, black Nazarene, expectations, German Moreno, Lakad-Takbo ng may Awa, Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord, Traslacion
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