‘Promise, ha?’

The story is told about a man who, on his deathbed, smelled freshly baked cookies. With his last ounce of energy, he crawled into the kitchen and grabbed one. Whereupon his wife slapped his hand and said: “No! Those are for the funeral.”

In today’s Gospel (Mk. 2:16), Jesus teaches us that what God has put together, man must not separate. There are many convenient reasons for couples to divorce, but the sanctity of the marriage vows before God must be upheld. The couple in our story above may have had difficulties and challenges, but they kept their promise “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”


Immediately after the teaching about divorce, Jesus embraced and blessed the children who were brought to Him, signifying that it is the children who suffer most when parents break up. Pity the children. Let not selfishness or immaturity of one or both parents wound the innocent and helpless children deeply, and often, permanently. May we who are adults not adulterate and complicate life with our foolish selfishness and pride.

Do not negate, deny or belittle the “child” that is in each of us. So much unhappiness and pain happen if we forget to be humble, honest, simple and caring. Sure, life is difficult and hard, but let these not make us tough, cynical and uncaring. Growing up doesn’t mean growing cold and proud.


October is the month of the Rosary. Let us pray it like children. Pray the Rosary slowly, not in a hurry. Pray the Rosary with the heart, not just with the mouth.

Here are some suggestions to make the Rosary more meaningful: Think of Mama Mary smiling at you, and offer every Hail Mary to her like a rose; offer every Hail Mary for a loved one, for the poor souls in purgatory, for the sick, for priests, etc. In other words, pray every Hail Mary with love for Mama Mary, and in solidarity with our world and humanity.

We honor our teachers! My Mama was a public school teacher who taught in Tiep, a remote barrio in Bani, Pangasinan. We come from a family of teachers. Lots of hard work and sacrifice, and lots of meaning and joy, for the opportunity of forming the young, the hope of our motherland. Mabuhay po kayo!

Sometimes I forget that I have cancer. So focused on my newfound relationship with the Lord, rediscovering the goodness of people, and enjoying the quiet within and outside me, I find myself smiling at times when I remember that I have cancer pala! Fruit of “prayotherapy.”

When you experience sickness, trials or sufferings, remember, God is not breaking you. Rather, He is breaking through. And His promise is firm: “But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 30:17)

I could not join the traditional “Walk with God” yesterday, but I was able to bless and pray via phone patch at 5 a.m. with the pilgrims gathered together at the Urdaneta Cathedral before the start of the three-hour, 13-kilometer walk that ended with a 9 a.m. Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag. The walk was led by Fr. Roberto Ibay, SVD, president of the Divine Word College of Urdaneta. It all started in October 1989 with just a hundred participants, and I thank the Lord that this walk of sacrifice, petition and thanksgiving every first Saturday of May and October has grown through the years, with about 4,000 pilgrims joining the latest one. God willing, cancer-free then, I hope to join the walk again this coming May 2019. Thank you, Mama Mary. Please bless our beloved country, the Philippines!

A moment with the Lord:


Lord, help us to be true to our promises and commitments. Amen.

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TAGS: Gospel, Jerry M. Orbos, Moments
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