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If you say so

The story is told about a father who told his son who wanted to get married: “First, say ‘I’m sorry.’” The son asked why he should do that. Again, the father told him to say he is sorry. The son asked him again why? And the father said: “Just say ‘I’m sorry.’” Finally the son said: “If you say so, ‘I’m sorry.’”  And the father said: “Son, when you learn to say sorry for no reason at all, then you’re ready to get married.”

In today’s Gospel (Luke 5, 1-11), Jesus told Peter to go to the deep water and lower the nets again after a long night without a catch. Peter was a seasoned fisherman who knew that the command of Jesus was futile but he said: “If you say so, I will lower the nets.” That’s faith. That’s obedience. That’s trust. And the result was a big catch of fish, with their nets close to tearing.

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The miracle of catching a large number of fish led Peter to an encounter with Jesus that changed his life forever. It is sad that there are so many people who receive miracles and blessings from the Lord yet

never receive or acknowledge Him. Make sure that you who are recipients of gifts do not forget the Giver of the gift.

I often shake my head in disappointment when I hear people recite a litany of blessings their family have received from God, yet remain stingy, mean and proud. Prayerful they may be, but they give the impression that they are entitled and lucky, and blessed above the rest, forgetting the important lesson in life that to whom much is given, much is also required.

I admire people who are not afraid to step out into the deep water. Every time a Filipino missionary leaves for the foreign mission, I can’t help but be edified by his courage to face the unknown, and by his zeal to carry out the command of his Master. Let us continue to pray for our missionaries who leave home, country and family, braving deprivations and even persecutions for the sake of the Gospel. Thanks for the inspiration!

It is obedience to God that makes people do what this world considers as foolish. Fr. Chito Lorenzo, SVD, has spent 28 years of his life as a missionary to Japan. An only son of a prominent family in Legazpi City, he chose to become a priest when he was already a third year medical student at UST. He chose to obey his Master over a promising career, a joyful family and a comfortable life. Why? Because the Lord said so.

Pope Francis is amazing in his courage to face the truth, and to reach out to peoples of different culture and creed. We are blessed to have a leader like him who is willing and ready to carry out what the Lord wants him to be and to do.

If the Lord says so, so we must be, we must do and we must go. We all must have something or someone greater than ourselves that gives us our marching orders, meaning and purpose in life. Always remember, there is a God, and you’re not Him.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Please remember that matters of the heart do matter. Let us not belittle nor deny the workings and the stirrings of the heart. Let this day remind us again that without love, without the heart, our lives are empty, vain and so very lonely. Regret not the things you do or did for love.

For us who often fear the future and the unknown, let us put out into the deep and seek comfort in God’s word: “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord; plans for your welfare and not for woe; plans to give you a future full of hope.” (Jer. 29, 11)

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A moment with the Lord: Lord, if You say so, help me to obey You. Amen.

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