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Moments

From toys to joys

Someone once said that the difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.

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In today’s Gospel (Mt. 22, 34-40), Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is that we love God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind, and that the second one is that we love our neighbor as ourselves, in that order. We often fail because we love ourselves more than we love God and our neighbor.

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It is the “toys” of our lives that make us lose the joys of our lives. What are the toys that give us shallow pleasure and happiness, but which prevent us from true and meaningful joys? Worldly treasures, power, and pleasures divert our attention from truly loving God and our fellowmen.

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“I, me, and myself.” For some people, this is what life is all about. Self-centered and selfish people are children who never grew up, who still believe that they are the center of the universe and that the whole world revolves around them. Let go of your toys, and let God be your joy.

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Grow up! We grow up when we forget what the world owes us, and remember what we owe the world. And for us in the sunset years of our lives, let’s focus steadily on our legacy, and what good we can leave behind.

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I am 40 years a priest today. I look back with deep gratitude to, and sincere humility for God’s faithfulness and blessings to this unworthy priest. “Domine non sum dignus.” Lord, I’m not worthy. I never was. I never will be. Yet God called me, and still calls me! That’s because God calls not so much the worthy, as the willing. Grace. All is grace!

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Sharing with you my ordination prayer: “You have called me, Oh Lord, not so much because of me, but in spite of me; not so much to become a somebody, but a someone to you and to your people; keep me, Oh Lord, ever in your love. Amen.”

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I and 14 of my classmates were ordained at the Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay, on Oct. 25, 1980. Of the 15 members of the “Incarnation Class,” five have died, two left the ministry, three have joined the secular clergy, and five of us are still active members of the Society of the Divine Word. All we can say is that God remains faithful, loving, and merciful to each one of us, no matter what road we have taken. Looking forward to the grand reunion of us 15 in heaven, someday. For now, we all go on with our mission, each in his own way in our journey to God’s heart.

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“I will pray for you. I will wait for you to become a priest.” These are the words my grandmother, Bai Tinay, kept telling me since I was a 12-year-old seminarian and all throughout my 16 years of priestly formation. She died at the age of 98 at 3 p.m., Oct. 25, 1980, my ordination day. She literally waited for me. What more can I say…? Pray. Pray. Pray. Nothing is impossible if you just pray.

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Last Oct. 20, I finally went out of our seminary compound for the first time since March 15, for my PET scan in I-Scan, Dimasalang, Sampaloc, Manila. It was like going to school for the first time, putting on my shoes and my regular dark blue polo barong outfit again, but this time, no Mama and Papa to accompany me, but lots of prayers from friends I have met in my 67 years of journey through life.

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PET scan result: No recurrence of cancer cells. Praise God! Thank you, Mama Mary. Thank you, dear relatives and friends for praying for me. Mission not yet accomplished. The rest of our lives, the best of our lives. Amen! And just inspire, before we expire.

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A moment with the Lord: Lord, help us to let go of our toys so that we can receive true joys. Amen.

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TAGS: Gospel, Jerry M. Orbos, Moments
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