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‘Pandesal mentality’

Someone sent me this text message:  “If you eat  litson  baboy  (roasted pig), you eat pork. If you eat  litson  baka  (roasted cow), you eat beef.  So if you eat  litson  kawali… you eat a frying pan?!”

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In today’s Gospel (Jn. 6, 51-58), Jesus speaks again about food, saying that He Himself is the living bread from heaven and that whoever eats this bread (Himself) will live forever. As you can imagine, and in fact, as it is clear from today’s Gospel, the Jews quarreled among themselves over this issue. But Jesus stood by His words. A man of lesser stuff would have been sidetracked or altogether folded up.

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The “Bread of Life” discourse was not an easy issue then. It divided the people, and it made many of Jesus’ followers abandon Him. Even now, it is a difficult topic to discuss in a world that would rather talk about simple bread for hungry stomachs. I personally find it difficult to write or talk about this mystery, but I hold on to its importance, hoping that I will understand it more eventually. Why? Well, if Jesus insisted on its truth and importance, then I believe that it is true, and important.

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There are many things we cannot explain and understand in this life. This is where belief and faith come in, and maybe that is all that the Lord asks of us many times as we go through life. As it were, faith is an invitation to go beyond what is quantifiable and seen to that which is unknown and unseen. Faith is by no means a downgrade. It raises us up, and it helps us “see” more clearly, widely, deeply.

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Did you notice how Jesus put forth “bizarre” teachings as He went about His public ministry? He said many “out of this world” words which confused and inconvenienced many of His listeners. For Jesus, truth has to be said and proclaimed in season and out of season. The challenge for us is to cling to His words, and in doing so, cling to Him. In other words, faith is not so much a doctrinal as a personal relationship. We believe in His teachings because we believe in Him, the way, the truth, and the life.

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Someone noted that we should go beyond our “pandesal mentality” (bread) and go into our “pandasal mentality” (prayer). Naturally, we hold on to what is visible, quantifiable, and controllable. But we are called by Jesus to wider horizons and as such cannot be confined to that which meets the eye. As Mother Church has taught us, yes, grace builds on nature, but nature is perfected by grace.

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Our “pandesal mentality” can weigh us down as we journey on. On the other hand, our “pandasal mentality” can uplift us as we journey on. We need to strike a healthy balance of work and faith as we journey on.

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We join our Muslim brothers and sisters in their celebration of Eidul Fidr, the end of Ramadan. Fasting from earthly food and pleasures is something that lifts up the soul and frees the spirit. It is a source of tremendous renewal. Let us ask ourselves today:  Am I eating too much? Look around you.  There are so many people who have no food!  Let us also ask ourselves today:  Am I eating the right kinds of food? Think health.  Think food for the soul as well.

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August 22 is the Feast of the Queenship of Mary. May we not belittle or ignore this simple woman with great faith. Here is a simple prayer I pray to her every day: “Oh, my Queen, oh, my Mother, remember that I am your very own. Defend and protect me as your personal possession.” Amen.

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As we commemorate Ninoy Aquino Day on August 21, let us ask our government leaders today what they have given up, what they have sacrificed for our country. We tell them: Payback time! This country has been good to you. Stop stealing and start serving to the max!

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Think about this: There are people who eat and drink Jesus’ flesh and blood every day, but seem not to assimilate His spirit. They eat the living bread but do not have life in them. There are people who are prayerful, but are so selfish, proud, and deceitful. Yes, it’s not what you eat, but what eats you.

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Sharing with you again this beautiful and meaningful prayer:  “Lord, help me to live the rest of my life, the best of my life.” Amen.

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Bantay Matanda invites you to a lay forum on “Depression: Cause and Prevention” on Aug. 25 at Janssen Hall, Christ the King Seminary, 9 a.m. to 12 noon, with Dr. Deana Santos-Ringor as speaker. For inquiries, please call 373-2262/998-2548 or 09174167849.

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help me to go beyond my “pandesal mentality” toward “pandasal mentality.” Amen.

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TAGS: Bread of Life, Catholic Church, Fr. Jerr M. Orbos, Gospel, Jesus Christ, Moments, opinion, Religion
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