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Great faith

 

The story is told about an intriguing sign seen on the back of a car that read: “Rod have mercy.” The sign seemed very religious, but upon inquiry, it turned out that the driver’s name was Rod, and the name of his wife was Mercy, whom he was very proud to have in his life.

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In today’s gospel (Mt. 15, 21-28), Jesus admires the great faith of the Canaanite woman who says, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David!” It is a prayer from the heart, so full of humility and trust. The best prayer is that which comes from a humble and trusting heart.

The second prayer said by the Canaanite woman is: “Lord, help me.” It is a sincere acknowledgment of her need of and dependence on God, and her utter helplessness. Have you ever prayed desperately to God? People who have much, and have others at their beck and call, never really come close to the essence of real prayer. We need God. We need Him more than He needs us. Is there anything you need right now? In humility and trust, just pray sincerely: “Lord, help me.”

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The third request of the Canaanite woman in today’s gospel is: “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” She knows she is not entitled, but she believes that she can be pitied and understood. She has no right, but she cries and opens her heart, with the hope that Jesus will heal her child. The things mothers will do for love!

In our recent pilgrimage to Iloilo, we had with us a pilgrim who did all kinds of hard and honest work for the sake of her children. She told us how she did manicure and pedicure, sold vegetables, and other lowly work just to provide her children with good education. Through it all, she prayed and never lost faith in God. Now she is a big-time vegetable dealer, and a mother of good and professional children. Diligence, persistence and faith pay. Thank you, pilgrim Lydia, for nourishing our faith, and for the inspiration!

Take note how the disciples wanted to send away the Canaanite woman because, they said, she was bothering them. How many people do we send away, avoid, or totally ignore because they are not worthy of our time and attention, and because they disturb our comfort zones?

It was with great faith that Fr. Rico Manook started and finished a big beautiful church in Kawayan, Catarman, Northern Samar. Many said it could not be done, but Father Rico rallied his parishioners and conducted all sorts of fundraising activities to get the worthy project going. Father Rico is a simple priest, but precisely because of his simplicity, humility and deep faith in his Master, he was able to build something beautiful for God, to the delight of Bishop Emmanuel C. Trance, DD, and the people of Catarman.

Last week I bought myself a simple watch at the predeparture area in Naia Terminal 3. I gave P1,000 to the salesgirl, and when she gave me the watch, I moved on. While waiting for my flight, two salesgirls approached me, bringing me the change I had forgotten to take. Senior moment! But it was, for me, a heartwarming moment, affirming the goodness and simplicity of our fellow Filipinos. Yes, a big majority of our brothers and sisters do not cheat, lie, or kill. Let’s continue to have faith in ourselves and in each other. Goodness prevails, and goodness triumphs in the end.

Think about this: “When the ghosts of our sins and the strong winds of problems are daunting, let us remember that we can always call on Jesus. His mercy is real and life-giving. His hands are ready to catch us when we fall. His grace is stronger than our sins and our present dilemmas. Let us entrust our faith in Him.”

Bantay Matanda invites you to a lay forum on “Sleep Disorders in the Elderly” at the Tuklong ni San Jose, Christ the King Seminary, E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Quezon City, on Aug. 26, 9 a.m.-12 noon. For inquiries, please call: 373-2262; 998-2548; 09174167849.

A moment with the Lord: Lord, increase our faith pa more! Amen.

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