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Only in humility

The story is told about a politician who visited a mental institution. As he went from ward to ward, people greeted him, except for one who just didn’t seem to care. “Don’t you recognize me? Do you know who I am?” the politician asked the patient. Silence. When he asked the third time, the patient shouted: “Doctors, there’s a guy here who doesn’t know who he is!”

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In today’s Gospel (Jn. 20, 19-31), the disciples did not recognize Jesus right away when He appeared to them after He rose from the dead. In fact, one of them, Thomas, doubted and did not believe unless he personally saw the proof. The Resurrection and the events that ensued were all too much for the disciples to comprehend. They did not know Jesus, and did not recognize Him.

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Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. Our hope to see the Lord face to face someday is based not so much on our merits as on God’s love and mercy. The way to God’s heart is humility. The proud and the self-righteous don’t see that way, and don’t see it that way. None of us deserve God’s love. The best prayer is: “Have mercy on me, oh Lord, a sinner…!” Only in humility can we know and appreciate God’s mercy.

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I heard the sad news on television that Fil-American Jessica Sanchez had been voted out of the “American Idol” finals. But then an amazing thing happened. The three judges of the musical contest came to her rescue, overruled public verdict, and retained her! God’s mercy is something like that. It is far greater, far broader, and far deeper than we can ever comprehend, or understand.

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On a personal note, I remember the experience of being invited by our driver and guide in the Holy Land to join them for lunch in Jericho. I didn’t expect much, as they brought me away from our group lunch to a secluded part of the building with simple settings. The meal started simple, but soon, the lamb chops were brought out, and I ate as much to my heart’s delight. What I thought was a simple meal turned out to be a banquet, a feast! Now I always look forward to that Jericho stop.

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We meet and see all kinds of people every day. Often, sad to say, we see them as commodities, accessories or instrumentalities. Do we see the Lord, do we recognize the Lord in people, especially in the poor? As the Lord has been good and merciful to us, may we in turn be good and merciful to them.

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Have you ever experienced being locked out of your room or of your car? It is such a frustrating feeling. Or have you been denied access to something because you did not qualify? Have you experienced being denied access to someone, and was not even heard or welcomed? May we not give such a feeling to whoever comes seeking us. May our doors not be locked to people who disturb our comfort and convenient zones.

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Our Papa was open and accessible to anyone who came asking for help. He made sure, too, that no one waited for him in vain, and that no one waited for him too long. Why? Because, he told us, he knows what it is like to be kept waiting or to be shut out, and he does not want others to feel the humiliation and the rejection. Are there people in our lives to whom we give such a feeling?

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We need to pray for our country and for our government. This early, the powers that be are already positioning themselves for the midterm elections of May 2013. All these years, political power has revolved around the same personalities and families. The way I see it, Philippine politics has been so locked out for the longest time. We need some qualitatively new way of doing politics in our country. How? I really don’t know. But then, that’s the message of Easter—that God is God of surprises. Surprise us again, Lord!

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We need to pray for North Korea whose doors are still locked to the rest of the world. What a waste to see all the focus on nuclear power, while completely closing its eyes on the hunger, poverty, and misery of its own people.

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“May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.” This is a beautiful, consoling prayer. I would like to add to it: “And may we, who are still living, live in peace!” Yes, peace is not something that is reserved for or deserved by the dead, but for us the living. May we all become instruments of peace before we rest in peace!

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Think about this: “Ang taong mayabang tinatamaan. Ang taong mapagkumbaba pinagpapala.” (The proud will get hit, the humble will be blessed!)

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, in humility I say, have mercy. Amen.

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