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Do not be afraid

In the face of the uncertain times we are going through, somebody said that the most useless thing he bought this year was a 2020 planner.

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In today’s Gospel (Mt. 10:26-33), Jesus tells His disciples three times: “Do not be afraid.” (In the whole Bible, it is mentioned over 365 times, more than enough for every day of the year.) He tells us the same words today as we experience scary and uncertain times, and we cannot even make plans. Let our faith lift us up from the darkness and helplessness, and give us the light of hope and courage.

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“What if I get the virus?” “What will happen to our world?” “When will all these end?”

Questions, questions, and more questions. We don’t have ready answers, but we have a God, a loving Father, a Father with a heart. Our faith does not have the answers to our pressing questions, but it will sustain us to go on, and give us the confidence that, with God’s help, everything will be all right.

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Happy Fathers’ Day! We praise and thank God, our loving Father, who loved the world so much that He gave us His only begotten Son who suffered, died, and rose again so that we, too, will have access to eternal life (Jn. 3,16). Yes, we are all in, and we all win in God’s heart.

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Christianity is the only religion that speaks of God as a Father. The Old Testament is filled with stories about God as a Father who continuously reaches out to His disobedient children, who protects and provides for them, and who never stops loving them. In the New Testament, Jesus reveals by His words and deeds that the Father’s love for us is real, endless, and unconditional.

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“Be not afraid. I go before you always. Come follow Me, and I will give you rest.” These are the lines of a song that gave me so much courage and consolation when I took my mission assignment to South Korea in 1984. During these difficult times because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we go on because of our deep faith that we are not alone, and that our loving Father is with us.

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“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you; Do not be afraid; Do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8). (Words of wisdom and inspiration in front of my writing table, beside the photos of Papa and Mama “smiling” at me.)

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What I remember most about Papa was his constant reminder to us his children: “Be good. Study well. Just pray. All will be OK.” He told us to be good because Papa valued character over riches. He told us to study well because he had nothing to give us except education, to move up. He told us to pray because he knew what dependence on God means. He told us that all will be OK because he wanted to give us hope.

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A good reminder to fathers: Give your children good hearts, good heads, good hands, and good knees.

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God is with us always, and in all ways. Join our 10 a.m. Mass every Sunday which is streamed live, bringing the Eucharist via YouTube and Facebook all over the world (Link: Divine Word Media).

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From Msgr. Esteban Lo, LRMS, national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Philippines: June 28, St. Peter the Apostle Sunday, is our day of prayer and financial assistance for world mission and for the formation of priests and religious. Next year is our celebration of 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines. Please pray for, and support the missions. For particulars, please contact (02) 87403030 or email: [email protected] For donations: BDO C/A 006578010868; Metrobank S/A 091-3-09151543-2.

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A moment with the Lord: Lord, we are not afraid because You are with us in these scary and uncertain times. Amen.

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TAGS: Gospel, Jerry M. Orbos, Moments
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