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Life: Vacation or vocation?

The story is told about a minister who passed his hat for the collection, which came back to him empty. Raising his eyes to heaven, he exclaimed fervently for all to hear: “Thank you, Lord! At least I got my hat back from this congregation! Amen.”

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In today’s gospel (Mk. 6, 7-13), Jesus sent off His disciples, instructing them how to go about their ministry. His first and foremost instruction was: “Take nothing for the journey.” They were to travel light, and not to be burdened by provisions for the journey. God will provide!

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Jesus instructed them to preach repentance. He warned them to prepare for rejection and persecution as well as to carry out their mission. Following Jesus is not a walk in the park. It is often a walk in the valley of tears and fears. God will go with us!

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Jesus reminded the disciples that along with their call is the empowerment to carry out their mission, like driving out demons and healing the sick. We must learn to rely on the power of God, and allow Him to work in us. God works not so much because of us, but in spite of us. God will empower us!

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Jesus instructed His disciples to go “two by two.” They were to work as a team. We are to do our ministry together as a witness of unity and peace. Our work, for and with the Lord, is not about going far or fast, alone. It is about working together and growing together.

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Aside from physical illnesses during the pandemic, there are so many people going through emotional and spiritual ailments. May we continue to bring the good news of hope, peace, and joy. We have to keep repeating God’s message that He is with us always, and in all ways.

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I have been doing a lot of Zoom Masses during the pandemic as our way of being present somehow, especially to families who have lost their loved ones because of COVID-19. I am grateful for this opportunity to bring the loving presence of our Lord to hearts and homes needing God’s healing comfort, presence, and love.

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On a personal note, let me share with you my daily “zoom” spirituality: First, log in to God first thing in the morning, and stay connected with Him the whole day. Second, zoom in to the presence and needs of others. Third, zoom out from my personal agenda, selfishness, and pride.

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By the way, if you notice that people around you are “muted,” maybe you can help “unmute” them. How? Maybe you should learn to “mute” yourself more!

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Gifted to give! One of our valuable gifts to the world are our Filipino missionaries out there who have left home, country, and family to spread the Gospel in countries far and wide, braving deprivations, loneliness, and even persecutions so that “the heart of Jesus live in the hearts of all.” Let us continue to pray for them, and support their apostolates.

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All of us are missionaries whoever we are, wherever we are. Let us all help spread the Light, in a world that is covered with the darkness of sin. Let us all do our part. Ask yourself today: What have I done, what am I doing the rest of my life to participate in the mission of our Lord Jesus Christ?

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May we have little or no regrets at the end of our lives that we have loved too little, too late. Like the candle that gives light as it slowly melts, may we too spend the rest of our lives for something or Someone greater than us.

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A moment with the Lord:Lord, remind us that life is a mission, a vocation, and not just a one big vacation. Amen.

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