Formula for true peace and joy | Inquirer Opinion
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Formula for true peace and joy

I have a dog, Bruce, who gives so much joy to me and to our community with his happy and loving presence. But there is one trait of Bruce that truly amazes me, i.e. whenever I accidentally step on him, he would just back off, without a bite, not even a bark.

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In today’s Gospel (Mt. 5, 38-48), Jesus teaches us to go beyond the tooth-for-a-tooth, eye-for-an-eye mindset, and let go of revenge and hatred. He also teaches us not only to conform, but to go beyond what is required by law. In the eyes of the world, this is a sure formula for losers. In the eyes of God, this is the formula for true peace and joy.

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“Love your enemies, and pray for those who also persecute you that you may be children of your Heavenly Father.” We have a choice to be a child of this world, as to be a child of God.

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It is not easy to follow the way the Lord is showing us as we journey through life. It is a difficult and even “stupid” way for some, but for us, the way of the cross is the way to true peace and joy that leads to eternal life. Again, we have a choice to be a citizen of this world or to be a citizen of Heaven.

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His Excellency, Bishop Pablito Tagura, SVD, DD, was ordained bishop by His Eminence Luis Antonio Tagle, DD, last Feb. 17, 2023, at the Christ the King Seminary, Quezon City. Bishop Tagura has chosen to follow and serve our Lord as a good shepherd of his flock in the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. “ I lay down my life for my sheep” (John 10: 15). He has chosen this as his motto, inspired by two SVDs who were martyred during World War II, namely Bishop William Finneman, SVD; and Fr. Theodore Buttenbruch, SVD.

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Come to think of it: We are all called to martyrdom. If we are to follow our Master faithfully, we will have to give up our comfort zones, sacrifice our time, talents, and treasures, and even experience persecution, insults, and injustices. Insofar as we go the “extra mile,” and give the “extra smile,” we are little martyrs, witnesses for our Lord and Master.

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“Big” martyrs are those who suffer and die for the faith. It is interesting to note that all the disciples, except John, died a martyr’s death. It is a privilege given only to some. Most of us follow our Master with our simple, unknown, unrecognized “small” martyrdom every day, and what Bishop Tagura calls “selfless service and getting out of comfort zones for others, every day!”

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Cardinal Tagle advised Bishop “Pabs” to continue to see the big picture and to be broad in understanding as he will encounter sheep and goats as well. As a watchman of his sheep, he must first learn to keep watch with Jesus in prayer, so that he can truly be a watchman of his sheep, and care for them with respect, understanding, compassion, and love.

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May we not forget to be joyful and to be patient as we journey on. God loves simple and cheerful givers. Bishop Pads relates two things his 93-year-old mother told him: “Now that you are a Bishop, you have a skullcap to cover your bald head!”; “Now that you are a Bishop, you must be more patient.”

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Think about this: “At the end of life, what really matters is not what we bought, but what we built; not what we got, but what we shared; not our competence, but our character; and not our success, but our significance; live a life that matters; live a life of love.”

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A moment with the Lord: Lord, help us to love, and just keep on loving. Amen.

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TAGS: Gospel, Jesus, Moments

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