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Wake up and shape up

By Fr. Jerry Orbos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:57:00 11/28/2010

Filed Under: Religions, Belief (Faith)

MANILA, Philippines?The story is told about a catechist who, wanting to impress the visiting parish priest, asked her Sunday schoolchildren: ?Why do we have to be quiet at Mass when Father is preaching?? After a long silence, one little child stood up and said: ?Because people are sleeping!?

* * *

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. In today?s Gospel (Mt. 24, 37-44), the Lord tells us to stay awake and to be prepared, for the Son of Man will come at an hour we do not expect. May we not be caught by surprise, may we not be caught off-guard. We do not know on which day the Lord will come.

* * *

?You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I?m telling you why? Santa Claus is coming to town!? This popular Christmas song reminds us that with the onset of the Advent season, Christmas is not far behind. However, our preparation should go beyond that of Santa Claus coming to town. We should be ready to welcome the Lord, at any moment of our lives and prepare for eternal life.

* * *

A couple told me recently that they are not in the mood and not at all excited about Christmas because times are hard. I understand their personal reasons, but I went on to tell them to anyway see Christmas as a time of joy, especially for their little children. Let us not deprive the children of hope just because times are hard. In fact, precisely because times are hard, we must help them see beyond what meets the eye.

* * *

Times may be hard, but please don?t forget that times are more hard for so many people around us. One very important preparation we should not miss is that of preparing something for the least and the last among us, especially this Christmas season. Please put it in your checklist to make Christmas happen this Christmas, not only for yourself or your family, but for others too.

* * *

An Irish confrere Fr. Mike Sommers, SVD, treated us with authentic Irish coffee yesterday afternoon which he himself prepared. The coffee was very good, but the preparation itself was an eye-opener. It had to be done with a lot of diligence and patience. It could not, and should not, be rushed. When it comes to quality, there can be no instants. Worthwhile things take time and patience. Same with our preparation for eternal life.

* * *

Father Mike told us this Irish joke: It takes three minutes to fill up a good pint of Guinness Irish black beer, so what do some Irishmen do? They order a shot of whisky while waiting for their pint. I suppose we all also have our own ?shot? while waiting for our pint. In life too, we all have our instant pleasures on the side, which often could divert us from that which we have set out to have. Let us stay focused on things that really matter in this life.

* * *

As of this writing nobody has won yet the P650 million prize for the 6/55 Lotto. It is there, but nobody owns it, yet. Maybe that is what eternal life is: It is there, but it is not for us, the living, yet.

But it is there. It gives us hope, but, it is not as if this would excuse us from hard work in our present situation. Remember what was once said: ?Pray as if everything depended upon God, and work as if everything depended upon you.?

* * *

Today is the day for the handicapped. Let us be aware that there are people around us who have to exert so much effort to do what we often take so for granted. Perhaps it would be good for us to reflect on what 17-year-old blind girl Fatima Soriano tells us: ?I don?t need pity, just be kind. Just give me courage, I?ll be fine. I know this world has its own mind, so thanks for stopping, dropping by, for us the slow, the timid, and the blind??

* * *

I visited a confrere who suffered a stroke recently. He who once was mighty and busy had slowed down, and have become so prayerful. He said he is lucky that he is still alive, and has been given the chance to prepare for eternal life. Whether we take the slow or the fast train to eternity, may we all be given the opportunity to prepare well for our meeting with God.

* * *

The Perpetual Rosary Movement, in coordination with the City of Marikina, the San Jose Manggagawa Parish, and the Riverbanks Center, presents a Rosary concert and healing Mass ?Alay Kay Maria, Marikit na Ina? at the Riverbanks Center Amphitheater on Dec. 7, 2010. It will start with a Holy Mass at 6 p.m. to celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the anniversary of Marikina cityhood. Admission is free.

* * *

The Society of the Divine word (SVD) announces with great joy the ordination to the priesthood of Rev. Garry Bacol, SVD, Rev. Antonio Gilberto Marqueses, SVD, Rev. Manuel Mijares, SVD, Rev. Joey Ruega, SVD, and Rev. Wang Peng Fei, SVD, on Dec. 4, 2010, 9 a.m., at the Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay City. Ordaining prelate is Bishop Buenaventura Famadico, DD.

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help me wake up from my worldliness and shape up for eternal life ahead. Amen.

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