Tuesday, January 16, 2018
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Fr. Jerry M. Orbos

Disturbing

The story is told about a CNN reporter who hurriedly boarded a twin-engine plane which was then warming up, presuming that it was the flight he had chartered. Once in the air, he told the pilot to fly low over the valley. When the pilot asked him why, he said: “So that I can take photos of the forest fire.” After some moments of silence, the pilot hesitantly said: “So… you’re telling me that you are not my flight instructor?”

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In today’s Gospel (Lk. 12, 49-53), Jesus tells His disciples that He has come to establish, not peace, but division in the world. This may come as a surprise, or even a shock, to us who presume that Christ and His message are all about peace, comfort and unity. The peace that our Lord is talking about is a peace that can be disturbed and disturbing.

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People often tell me: “Father, now that I am closer to the Lord, how come I encounter more trials and temptations? I thought I would have a more peaceful life now!” Our presumption is that the presence of Christ means the absence of conflicts, tensions and divisions in our lives. The presence of Christ in our lives gives us peace, but He will disturb our peace to challenge us to grow, and become better persons.

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Someone beautifully said that God is a God who comforts the disturbed, and disturbs those who are comfortable. Our journey to God’s heart is not only about being peaceful and complacent. It is also about being disturbed and challenged. God’s love is both tender and tough love.

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The main focus in our journey to God’s heart is God Himself, and not the sunshine or the storm we encounter along the way. In other words, the presence of God is what should give us peace, whether we go through peaceful or raging waters in our journey. God is with us, so we should have peace no matter what conditions we go through. If we have God, then we have that true peace which the world can neither give nor take away.

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It is very disturbing to see, hear, and experience what is happening around us. Our faith in God is not a pair of sunglasses to protect us from the glare of harsh realities, but a pair of eyeglasses to make us see better and deeper into the realities around us. With faith, we can see God, and feel His presence in the most ugly, dirty, sad, stupid, disappointing situations and conditions we encounter in our world, here and now, and our faith should further lead us to involvement and commitment.

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We have opinions on present-day issues. The internet has provided the venue for our netizens’ views and opinions, from the sacred to the profane. Sure, we are free to spread our points of view, but let us not forget to respect one another. And let us make sure that our views and opinions are born out of prayer, not just out of an emotional outburst, or out of a personal agenda. Respect and dialogue have become such lonely words.

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Tomorrow is the Feast of Our Lady’s Assumption to heaven. Many of us have forgotten the “uplook” in our lives as we are so engrossed in our personal agenda (inlook), as well as our worldly agenda (outlook). The alphabet reminds us that life starts with A (God, the Alpha), begins with B (Birth), continues with C (Choice), ends with D (Death), and goes on to E (Eternity). May our Blessed Mother who has gone ahead to Heaven show us the way to get there, in that Kingdom where there are no more tears, no more problems, no more intrigues, no more traffic, no more politics, and also no more disturbances, no more conflicts, and no more goodbyes.

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Someone noted that even a clock that has stopped will at least tell the correct time two times in a day. The two fixed moments in our lives are the day we are born and the day we die. What happens in between is something we ourselves have to fix. How we journey from point B (Birth) to point D (Death) is pretty much our C (Choice). Let us choose goodness over evil, joy over sorrow, humility over pride, love over selfishness. Yes, let us choose Christ.

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During our seminary days, many times the sign “Do Not Disturb” would be seen outside the door of our rooms, especially during examinations. But I remember one seminarian who once put a sign saying “Please Disturb”—and that disturbed us all, making us realize how selfish and how self-centered we can become.

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Think about this: “God has a purpose for your pain, a reason for your struggles, and a gift for your faithfulness. Don’t give up. A breakthrough is coming.”

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Bantay Matanda invites you to a lay forum on “Frailty” at the Tuklong ni San Jose, Christ the King Seminary, E. Rodriguez Sr. Ave., Quezon City, 9 a.m. to 12 noon. For inquiries, please call 9982548 or 09174167849.

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, comfort us when we are disturbed,

and disturb us when we have become comfortable. Amen.

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