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Moments

In, between and among us

Someone once said that there are two kinds of people who don’t say much – those who are quiet… and those who talk a lot.

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In today’s Gospel (Mt. 18, 15-20), Jesus gives us guidelines on when to keep quiet and when to talk, particularly in line with fraternal correction. We cannot be quiet and play safe, nor can we be too vocal to the point of becoming tactless and offensive. But more than the technique, what should be emphasized is that all corrections are done out of concern and love.

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“Better to hurt me with the truth rather than comfort me with your lies.” Truth can hit us hard. The truth hurts, but it is better to experience closure with pain rather than a never-ending agony, or a guessing game.

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Breaking bad news to a person is never easy to do. But the truth has to be said, and someone has to do it. How far easier to be quiet, or not to get involved! Or perhaps postpone it some other day. But there is one rule we should never forget: Face the light, and the shadow is behind you; turn your back to the light, and the shadow will always be in front of you.

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Confronted with the truth, some accept it and grow with it. But some refuse it, deny it or fight it. The end-result of the former is peace, while that of the latter is agony and misery.  Confronted with the truth, we can choose to accept it and be free, or deny it and prolong the agony.

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There is a story of a priest who had a high regard of himself and his homilies. He told his congregation that he planned to have his homilies published someday after his death. One man stood up and said: “The sooner the better, Father!” Yes, we must learn to really listen to others, and to really listen to God, and to life itself. If we listen only to ourselves, that would lead us to the road of denial and delusion.

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By the way, last Aug. 29, we celebrated our National Heroes’ Day. To those who sacrificed and who continue to sacrifice for our people and for our country, we say “Thank You!” But to those who have stolen and continue to steal from our people and from our country – the “national thieves” – to them we say, shame on you!

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To our national thieves, remember this:  You are comfortable and carefree, while our people are hungry and live in poverty because you stole their money! May this truth make you uncomfortable and miserable.

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Jesus teaches us today the value of pressure in correcting a wrong. When gentle persuasion does not work, then it is time for more drastic and more radical measures. In other words, we don’t give aspirin to someone who has cancer.  It is time for the Church not just to talk about issues, but to really get organized and address issues concretely. When snakes are at our doorsteps, and in our very homes, we must do something to protect the family, especially the children.

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September 8 is Mama Mary’s birthday. She was one who accepted a lot of painful truths and went through a lot of trials and sufferings in obedience to her mission from God.  Please remember that her “Thy will be done” meant not only surrendering and accepting, but also making sure that God’s will is carried out and really done. Let us not just be passive, but let us be active and pro-active in doing God’s will in the here and now.

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September 8 is also the birthday of the SVD, the Society of the Divine Word. May we Divine Word Missionaries continue to be witnesses of the Word to the world by our very lives and through our various apostolates so that “the heart of Jesus lives in the hearts of all.”

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“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” Let us not forget that the Kingdom of God is not only within us but also between us, and among us. It is time for us to go beyond our comfort zones and beyond our emotional or devotional expressions of our faith, and make the Kingdom of God and its Gospel values of truth, goodness and love really happen. Let us all ask ourselves today how to make God’s presence a felt reality and an empowering force in our midst.

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Instead of having a wall, why don’t we try having God in us, between us and among us?  A lot of problems and misunderstandings can be resolved if we welcome this quiet presence and this silent listener in our midst. Let us give God a chance, give Him room in our midst and in our hearts.

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Speaking of giving room, it’s September already, and Christmas is not far behind. In the midst of many cares and struggles, we look forward to that season of hope and love. Soon Christmas decorations will start appearing around us. But that’s precisely the point: Christmas is not just about decorations. It is something that happens in, between and among us, and not just around us.

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, remind us of your living presence, in us, between us and among us. Amen.

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TAGS: Fr. Jerry M. Orbos, Moments, Religion
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