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Don’t slaughter the laughter

Traveling somewhere in Palawan some years ago, I was surprised to see a sign by the roadside that read: “Laughter House.” I was kind of intrigued and bewildered that there was such a thing. But when I looked again, I found out that the leaves of the tree have covered the letter “S.” It was a Slaughter House!

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Today is Gaudete Sunday, to remind us not to slaughter laughter and joy. Instead, let us rejoice and be glad, for our salvation is near. Let our preparation for Christmas be filled with hope, expectation, and joy.

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In today’s Gospel (Lk. 3, 10-18), we hear the excitement of the people about John the Baptist, and his message about the coming of the Messiah. But through it all, John was not blinded by his own popularity; “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming.” The greatest trait of John was his ability to fade away, and not to steal the light from Jesus Christ.

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John the Baptist was clear in his message: Do good, avoid evil. He tells us today to share our blessings. Please remember that it is not enough just to count and keep on counting our blessings. We must share our blessings! Especially this Christmas, let us become a blessing to so many people who are suffering.

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To tax collectors, John the Baptist’s message is: “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.” Yes, corruption is not pleasing to God. This is a warning, too, to all who are in power who make a milking cow out of our country, and who make public service a cover for self-service and family business.

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To soldiers and all who hold great powers, John the Baptist’s message is: “Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.” Very clear warning to all who lie, cheat, and steal.

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As we prepare to choose leaders who will govern us, let us constantly keep the message of John the Baptist in mind. Let us pray hard, and work hard so that we have a harvest of good, responsible, and self-sacrificing leaders come May 2022.

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Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She appeared to Juan Diego and told him: “I am here. I am your Mother. Do not fear, I am near.” Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Principal Patroness of the Philippines. She is also known as the Patron Saint of the unborn, pregnant women, the sick, and the disabled. She is also the protector of all whose lives are threatened. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

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Dec. 16 is the start of the Misa de Gallo or Simbang Gabi, a nine-day Mass series in preparation for Christmas. This involves sacrifice, diligence, and perseverance. Let us all prepare for the coming of our newborn King!

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Many of us experienced the death of a loved one during the pandemic. Let us be consoled in our sorrow with our belief that they are now with the Lord in that Kingdom where there are no more tears, no more pain, no more problems, no more goodbyes. Yes, let us rejoice and continue to be grateful because of the gift of eternal life.

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We are launching my new book “Cleansing Moments” a collection of experiences, persons, prayers, stories, and quotes that made me realize my faults, and helped affirm my core values. Growth and conversion moments! Please contact Ms. Abigail Turingan (0917-8052840) and Anna Tomas (0906-3792833) for book orders, especially this Christmas season. Thank you for helping SVD missionaries through your purchase of this book.

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A moment with the Lord: Lord, help us not to kill the joy, and not slaughter the laughter. Amen.

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