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Living reminders

The story is told about a factory owner who made a surprise visit to the plant and saw a man leaning lazily against a post. “How much are you paid a week?” asked the owner. The man replied, “P3,000, sir.”  The owner gave him P3,000 and shouted: “Here’s your week’s pay. Get out and don’t ever come back.” After he left in a hurry, the supervisor told the owner: “Sir, that man is not our worker. He was here to deliver pizza.”

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In today’s gospel (Mk. 1, 1-8) we hear about John the Baptist who was busy and diligent in his work to prepare for the way of the Lord. He was also passionate and strong in his message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. His message was simple and clear: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”

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In John the Baptist, we see that the messenger himself is the message. He walked his talk by his very person and lifestyle. Take note: empty words from superficial messengers perhaps inspire, or even impress, but these are not enough to really move people toward change or conversion.

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A lot of us have fallen into the sins of mediocrity and complacency. Many of us have dug in into our comfort zones and don’t like to “rock the boat” anymore.  Maybe that’s the way it goes as we grow. Be that as it may, may we not fall into the greater sin of cynicism which makes us give up on hope and on life itself.

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There is an interesting story about a fireman who helped put off the fire in a burning church. When the priest found out that he was a Catholic, he asked: “How come I never see you in church?”  The fireman said: “Father, I only come to church when the church is on fire.”  St. John the Baptist reminds us today to re-examine ourselves and our message. Do we still burn with passion for our message and for our mission?

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It is not often that we priests would be impressed by a fellow priest. I don’t know why.  Maybe it is because no prophet is acceptable among his own kind. But recently, I met Fr. Bonaventure Valles, a Franciscan monk who struck me with his simplicity and prayerfulness. In a recent trip with him to wintry Korea with everyone bundled up, he was just with his simple habit and a pair of sandals.  And I saw how he prayed –

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in the plane, in the bus – and how he was joyfully in touch with the Divine, a living reminder of God’s presence in the present.

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For almost two weeks now, at about 7 p.m., I would receive a call from Leah, a 40-year-old cancer patient who would tell me: “Father, I will sleep now. Please say a prayer and blessing for me over the phone.” Such faith! This mother of three small children who has been given up by her doctors continues to believe and hold on to her God, indeed, a living reminder of courage and faith.

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“One mightier than I is coming after me.”  As long as a person believes that there is something or someone greater than himself/herself, that person has the right perspective. The problem with the mighty and the proud is that they lose sight of this perspective and begin to believe that they are the be-all and end-all in life.

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December 8, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. It is a holiday of obligation. On a personal note, it is also the 90th birthday of our dear mama Concepcion Muñoz-Orbos, a woman who has always reminded us the way of the Lord, and the love of our Blessed Mother. On that day, we also will launch my book “Treasured Moments,” which I lovingly dedicate to Mama.

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The Perpetual Rosary Movement invites you to honor Mama Mary for the Missions on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011 at the Garden of the Divine Word (Christ the King Seminary, E. Rodriguez Sr. Ave. Q.C.) starting at 5 p.m. with a mini concert. At 6 p.m., we will pray the rosary and there will be an offering of roses, and of candles c/o Fr. Mike Padua, SVD. At 6:30 p.m., we will pray the novena to the Perpetual Help, and at 7 p.m., the Eucharist (anticipated Mass) by yours truly,  ending with the imposition of the scapulars by SVD missionaries. See you! For inquiries, please call 721-7457; 738-2643; 0917-8228238.

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Seven young men were ordained to the priesthood by His Excellency Luis Antonio Tagle, D.D., STh.D, archbishop of Manila at the Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay City yesterday, Dec. 3, 2011. The members of the “Yapak” class are: Rev. John Mark Veloso, SVD, from Bohol assigned to Argentina; Rev. John Paul Marquez, SVD, from Pangasinan, assigned to Philippines North; Rev. Renier Nachimma, SVD from Ifugao assigned to East Timor; Rev. Sherwin Tristan Aromin, SVD, from Baguio City, assigned to Philippines South; Rev. Gilbert Razon, SVD, from Davao Del Sur, assigned to Argentina; Rev. Peter Tran Xuan Vu, SVD, from Vietman, assigned to Philippines Central; and Rev. Louie Cris Gregorio, SVD, from Davao City, assigned to Philippines North. May they become living reminders of God’s presence in the present!

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help me to become a living reminder of your presence in the present. Amen

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TAGS: Catholic Church, Fr. Jerry M. Orbos, Moments, opinion, Religion, SVD
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