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Irreplaceable

The story is told about a woman whose boyfriend whom she loved very much just died. Then her rich suitor of many years called her up and said: “Now that your boyfriend is dead, I would like to express my condolences and my intention to take his place.” The woman answered: “Thank you. I will now call the funeral home and tell them of your intention to take his place.”

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In today’s Gospel ( Jn. 4, 5-42), Jesus encountered the Samaritan woman at the well. Their conversation started with thirst for natural water, and ended with the Samaritan woman asking from Jesus the water He will give so that she will not be thirsty again. We often think that worldly pleasures and achievements are all that we need in this life to be satisfied and happy. Not so, the Lord reminds us today.

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Money can buy happiness, but not true happiness. There are many things money can buy, but there are many other things it cannot buy or satisfy. In this season of Lent, we are asked to curb our desire for earthly pleasures so that we can focus more on the spiritual, which, in the end, can truly make us happy and satisfied.

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Somebody once said that money is like sea water. The more you drink of it, the more you become thirsty. Sea water cannot quench our thirst. Somewhere down the road, we must make a decision on whether we will make money our god that we will worship and pursue for the rest of our lives. What can make us realize that? Like the Samaritan woman, an encounter with the Lord can make us change the course of our lives. Let us pray, and be open to God’s grace, and when we encounter the Lord, may we not turn our back on Him who is calling us toward a more peaceful life. May God give us the peace which the world cannot give or take away.

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The Lord calls us today also to true worship, a “worship in spirit and truth.” Beyond religion, beyond traditions, beyond rituals and places of worship, our worship must be from the heart. Let God be God, let man be man. We cannot, and should not, confine or control God! Beyond the Church is the kingdom of God which is open for all. True worship is inclusive, not exclusive. Worship in spirit is worship not just with words but with heart.

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What is worship “in truth”? Again, our Lord tells us to go beyond lip service to life service. Worship “in truth” is worshiping and honoring God not just with prayers and words but with the very life we live.

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It’s that time of the year when we have final exams and graduations for our students. Congratulations! We honor not only the students but also the teachers and parents who believe that education is irreplaceable in our pursuit of better lives. Nothing can take the place of hard and honest work. Especially in this season of Lent, may our government officials remember how their greed can affect the lives of so many poor and needy who work so hard just to get by.

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Perhaps the Gospel story of the Samaritan woman should remind us and our government that the people in Samar and Leyte whose lives were upended by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” last year are still suffering, and that life is still not “back to normal” for them. Let us not be complacent in our efforts to do good and to reach out to the poor and the needy.

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After the Samaritan woman encountered Jesus, she was never the same again. We pray that we, too, will get to encounter Jesus in a deeper way, and that this encounter will lead to a life spent in quality time and payback time. Please remember that the journey to God’s heart is the most important journey we have to make in our life, more than a career journey, etc.

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What if, for whatever reason, Jesus did not start a conversation with the Samaritan woman? He could have snubbed or ignored her. But He reached out, and engaged her in a conversation. He dialogued with her. A lot of issues and problems can be clarified or solved if we dialogue with each other. Dialogue is not easy. How far easier it is to impose on, demand from, dictate to, or shut out other people! You know why people don’t dialogue? Because for many of them, dialogue is not only difficult but also unprofitable. Besides, with dialogue, one takes the risk of daya (deceit) and lugi (losing). Baka madaya ka at malugi pa!

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Summer is here! Drink plenty of water! Let me share this text message that I received: “Drinking water is important. One glass of water after waking up helps activate the internal organs; one glass before sleep prevents stroke or heart attack while sleeping; one glass after a bath helps lower blood pressure.”

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Bantay Matanda invites you to a lay forum on “The Use and Abuse of Drugs and Alcohol in the Elderly” on March 29, 9 a.m.-12 noon, at  Janssen Hall, Christ the King Seminary, 1101 E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Quezon City. The speaker will be Dr. Deana Santos-Ringor, geriatrician of St. Luke’s Medical Center. For inquiries, please call 373-2262/998-2548/0917-4167849.

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, indeed, restless are our hearts until they rest in Thee. No amount of worldly success or pleasure can fill the void in our hearts that can only be filled by Thee. Amen.

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TAGS: Catholic, Lenten, relationships, Religion, Tradition
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