Time to change

The story is told about three prisoners who were put on solitary confinement. The first one requested that his room be filled with booze. The second one requested that his room be filled with books. The third one requested that his room be filled with cigarettes. When their rooms were opened six months later, the first one was found to be thin and jaundiced. The second one was calm and happy. The third one was a nervous wreck, and his angry question was: “Does anyone have a light?”

What we have or don’t have can transform and change us. In today’s Gospel (Mk. 9, 2-10), we hear how the transfiguration of Jesus at the mountaintop forever transformed the disciples Peter, James and John. The presence of the glorified Lord was an experience that changed their lives forever.


Things, people, or events can transfigure or transform us for the better or for worse. It all depends on how we filter or process these. Let us pray for the grace to be really open to conversion and transformation. Let us not play the game of denial, rationalization, postponement, or manipulation when we are being called to become better persons.

“This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.” That’s it. We have to listen to the Lord as we go through life in the here and now. There are so many things happening around us at such a fast pace, and in such loud ways. Let us take the time to listen, listen hard, and listen well; otherwise, we will get lost and confused. Take the time to stop, look, and listen to the Lord.

Inspiring people transform us. Last week we said goodbye to Fr. Gino Batongbacal, SVD, who went back to Brazil, his first foreign mission assignment, after his three-month vacation in the Philippines. He is now 72 years old—43 years as a priest, 42 of which were spent in Brazil. This missionary from Pulilan, Bulacan, just keeps on going, and keeps on

inspiring us who come after him.

It was with a bit of sadness that I met Tomas and Tessie Hizola and their daughter, Charity, at our Mission House last week. The Hizolas were there to help their son and brother, 33-year-old Father Apiong, pack his things for his first mission assignment, the Netherlands. It was a big letting go for all of them, all done out of love for and commitment to Him who calls us to leave everything that is dearest for the Kingdom of God.

My accident last Feb. 7 has transformed me in many ways. More than ever, I know that life is short. When it’s game over, then we go, and we carry literally nothing with us. It can happen at any time, and I, too, have realized that the way we live largely determines the way we die. There are no shortcuts. Everything just adds up. Yes, we who have been given the chance to live long, and to live on, must keep saying: “The rest of my life, the best of my life.”

My hands hurt after my accident, and still do up to now. Imagine how I feel when people shake hands with me or “make mano.” I always end up saying, “Ah-ah-ah-men!” People do not know we are hurting. They, too, have enough hurts themselves.

Today is the 32nd anniversary of the Edsa People Power Revolution. What has happened to us as a people and as a nation? Have we been transformed by the events we went through? Have we been transformed for the better by the leaders we have elected? Is the future better for those who will come after us? Finally, is God happy with what is happening to us? Questions. Questions. Questions.

Think about this: “We will not begin to pray without taking time to do so. We cannot take time to pray unless we stop spending time on something else. Until one believes that prayer is the most important thing, we will never find time to pray.” (Fr. Doms Ramos, SVD)


A moment with the Lord:

Lord, remind us that the time to change is now. Amen.

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TAGS: Gospel, Jerry M. Orbos, Moments
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