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Certified true copy

The story\is told about an uncle who was assigned to choose a name for his newly born niece and nephew. Twins! Guess what he named them? The girl he named Denise, and the boy he named Denephew!

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Today is the Feast of the Lord’s Baptism. In today’s Gospel (Mt. 3, 13-17), Jesus was baptized by John at the River Jordan. When He emerged from the water, the spirit of God descended upon Him and a voice came from above saying, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.” We who were baptized in Christ have also become sons and daughters of God, and have been given the name “Christian.” Are we living up, are we being true, to our name?

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Just precisely what or who is a Christian? His Eminence, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, in his homily at the Quirino Grandstand last Jan. 9, mentioned prayer, obedience and witnessing as the three marks of the true devotee of the Black Nazarene, or a true Christian for that matter. Let us check if we have these marks, and if we are concretely living them out.

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Prayer is remembering God, and coming into His presence anytime, anywhere. How many times do you remember God in your ordinary day? How often do you stop awhile to be aware of His presence, thank Him, or ask for His help and mercy?  When prayer has ceased to be just an obligation or duty, and when prayer is not just asking but also giving Him praise and glory, then prayer has become a joy and a reality.

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“He must increase; I must decrease.” (John 3, 30) A true Christian is one who obeys God’s plans and commands. His vision is our vision, His mission is our mission. In other words, our personal and worldly agenda must be integrated into His agenda. When we look at our country today, do we see people who are busy with God’s agenda?

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As Christians, we are supposed to become witnesses not in the sense of being spectators or observers but in the sense of being persons who attest to and vouch for the reality of God’s love in their lives. Yes, a Christian is a certified true copy of Christ. The truth of the matter is that many of us are “nothing but second-rate, trying-hard copycats” when it comes to our faith.

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We may be “trying-hard copycats,” but what is important is that we keep on trying.  In other words, we do not give up on ourselves and on God.  Did you notice that there was a lot of towel-throwing during the Black Nazarene procession?  The towels that were touched to the image of the Black Nazarene and then thrown back to the owners become a source of renewed courage or strength for them. Maybe that’s what faith is all about.

When we “throw in the towel” in defeat or in surrender, God, as it were, throws back the towel to us and gives us the courage and the strength to go on and not give up.

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“Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” A lot of our problems can be solved or avoided if we take the road of humility. But it is a road less traveled precisely because we regard it as the road for losers. It is not. With humility, one cannot lose, or be lost. And please remember, even the Lord came to John in humility to be baptized by him.

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Today, let us ask ourselves: Am I living a life that is pleasing to God? We spend a lot of time thinking of what people say about us. The bottom line is that we should just do and give our very best, and leave to God the rest. We cannot, we should not, be too concerned about pleasing everyone. Try visiting a grave or a cemetery. There, a lot of our concerns in life just fall into place. Indeed, what will really matter when we ourselves will be there and then?

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Thought for the journey:  “And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the New Year: Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown. And He replied:  Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way.” (Minnie Haskins)

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By virtue of our baptism, we can call God our Father. As we journey on, especially on rough and troubled paths, let us be assured of the Father’s power, presence, and love. “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46,10)

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President Aquino thanked all those who have helped those affected by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” last year during the traditional New Year’s reception for the diplomatic corps in Malacañang last Jan. 10.  Yes, we remember and we are grateful to the people who show us kindness and compassion. Today, too, let us remember with gratitude those who gave, nurtured, and enriched our faith.

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help me to become Your certified true copy. Amen.

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TAGS: black Nazarene, Catholic Church, Fr. Jerry M. Orbos, Gospel, Jesus, John the Baptist, Matthew, Moments, opinion, Religion, SVD
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