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Quarantine

The story is told that last Valentine’s Day, even Cupid could not go around and do his work of spreading love because he was quarantined to help prevent the outbreak of COVID-19.

In today’s Gospel (Mt. 5, 17-37), Jesus tells His disciples that righteousness must not be quarantined or confined by mere observance of the law. True righteousness goes beyond fulfilling what is required, but rather, by going the “extra mile.”

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Often we hide behind the mask of the law, and make ourselves believe that because we have not violated the law, we are privileged, entitled, and therefore more worthy than others. Jesus teaches us to go beyond Pharisaic righteousness, and not fall into the trap of self-righteousness.

Are you strict, unbending, and uncompromising? If so, you are living by the law, and, rightly so. But remember, beyond justice, beyond the law, is love. Beyond the 10 Commandments in the Old Testament is Jesus’ commandment of love.

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When we come toward our journey’s end, may we have little or no regrets that we focused more on the work of our hands, and somehow forgot the love in our hearts, or that we focused more on our functions and forgot people.

A lot of things are happening around us early on this year: the Australian bushfires, the threat of nuclear war, the eruption of Taal Volcano, the sudden death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, COVID-19… What is God telling us through it all? Are we listening? It’s time for us to reach out to one another as a people, and to bow our heads to God once again.

Take note: We are called “mankind,” so let’s be kind to one another. More than anything else, we must work on human kind-ness.

Fr. Ted Gapuz, SVD, has gone home to the Father at the age of 78. He was a well-rounded and well-balanced confrere, intelligent and organized, but very human and witty. A gentleman all the way, he chose not to focus on his achievements or on his pains, but somehow always pointed to someone greater than himself.

Praise God for the 50th anniversary of dzPA-Abra that was started by Bishop Odilo Etspueller, SVD; Fr. Anselmo Bustos, SVD; and Fr. Richard Craft, SVD, in 1970. Radio station dzPA has helped spread the word of God, and has been a big help to the people of Abra all these years. It was in dzPA that I had my first media involvement.

Fr. Melchor Bernal, SVD, of St. Arnold Center for Integral Development Inc., invites formators to the 2020 Southeast Asian Formators’ Seminar/Workshop with the theme, “Affective Development Markers and Individual Accompaniment” on March 4 , 5 and 6 at St. Arnold Janssen Hall, Christ the King Mission Seminary, E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Quezon City. One of the resource speakers is Sister Jane Becker, OSB, a licensed clinical psychologist. Other topics will be presented by the St. Arnold team. For inquiries, you may contact St. Arnold Center for Integral Development Inc., at [email protected] or 09178684152.

Think about this: “The gifts of caring, attention, affection, and appreciation are the most precious gifts we can give. Let’s keep telling others how much they matter. It is not easy having a kind heart in a cruel world, and our greatest test is when we help someone else while undergoing our own storms. Let our goal in life be: To serve! To inspire! To share God’s love!”

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A moment with the Lord: Lord, may legalism not quarantine us from truly loving You and Your people. Amen.

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