Vintage time | Inquirer Opinion
Moments

Vintage time

The story is told about a priest who started his parish’s fundraising campaign thus: “The good news is that we have more than enough money for the needs of our parish. The bad news is, the money is still in your pockets.”

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In today’s Gospel (Mt. 21, 33-43) Jesus, in the Parable of the Vineyard, reminds us of vintage time – when the owner will require from the tenants their produce. We too will have to make a final accounting before our Creator. Will we be caught with our money still in our pockets?

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Payback time! Unless and until we have this perspective in life, we will continue to get and never quite give, and that is unfortunate. Some people spend a whole lifetime just getting and hoarding. Such people may live successful but not meaningful lives.

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“Forget what the world owes you, and concentrate on what you owe to the world.” A person who thinks that the world should understand him/her because of his/her misfortunes or deprivations in the past will never grow up, and will always be burdened by unnecessary complaints and heartaches. St. Francis of Assisi said it so well: “Help me to seek not so much to be understood but to understand, to be loved but to love with all my soul.”

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Some people have so much in their pockets. The first question is, how did they end up with so much? Through hard work? Okay! Through dishonesty? No way! The second question is, how much are they sharing? Remember, let us use our money for our salvation, not for our condemnation.

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We are just tenants. We own nothing. We are accountable to the owner of this world and to the giver of our lives. That makes us responsible to God, to the world, to other people, and to ourselves. We are to live productive and meaningful lives, not wasted, vain, empty, useless, irresponsible lives. For example, at the height of Typhoon “Pedring” last week, many of us prayed to be spared from the flood and the strong winds. We may even have breathed a thanksgiving prayer when it was all over. But how many of us really prayed for the poor who had little or no protection or provisions? And how many of us reached out and helped concretely the victims of the disaster?

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I turned 58 yesterday. Vintage time is near. I’ve had my faults and failures, but I have tried my very best. I am not gifted with much talents, but whatever talent I have, I tried so hard to develop and put it into good use, for the Kingdom of God. My columns may not be much, but they are the fruit of hard work and love. I still write my column by hand, computer illiterate that I still am. (Shame! Will work on it.) In the meantime I’ll write on, if only to touch a heart, give an inspiration or insight, or bring a soul to prayer, and closer to God.

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I still have a few in my bucket list of what I want to do or learn up ahead. A constant inspiration for me is Fr. Julio Barbieto, SVD, 89 years old, who in the last 10 years has learned to use the computer, to play the harp, the guitar, the flute and harmonica. Amazing. So productive, and so pro-active!

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“The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Rejection is part of our life and mission, including persecution. A “fallen” lay preacher came to me the other day asking how to rise from his fall. After I listened to him, all I told him was: “Welcome to humanity! Welcome fellow fallen but still loved disciple! There is hope when humility finally sets in.”

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October is the month of the rosary. Let us continue to pray this simple, often forgotten and even despised devotion. Grace begins when in humility and trust we turn to God, and ask our Blessed Mother just to embrace us.

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October is the month of the missions. Let us continue to pray and support our Filipino missionaries abroad. There are still tickets for “An Evening with Fr. Jerry for the Missions.”  Please call 7217457 regarding this fund-raising dinner for our missionaries “out there.”

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The Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (S.Sp.S), and the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM) are celebrating their 100 years of missionary presence in the Philippines in 2012. They are giving the “Mysteries of the Mission” booklet in line with our October rosary devotion. For inquiries, please call 7217457/7210034.

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A Family Prayer: “Lord, bless our family with openness to real communication. Help us to share our joys and sorrows, and give each other freedom and space to grow. Give us the gift of respect and understanding, and help us to love each other no matter what, no matter when. Amen.”

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It’s that beautiful time of the year when farmers are looking forward to better times, to harvest time. Sad to say, many of them will have little or no produce because of the recent and still coming typhoons. When you eat today, please say a prayer for our farmers and laborers who work hard to put food on their dining tables.

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, when vintage time comes, may I not be found lacking and wanting. Amen.

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TAGS: Fr. Jerry M. Orbos, Moments, opinion, Parable of the Vineyard, Religion
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