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Never alone

The story is told about an old fellow who fell in love with a lady. He got down on one knee and told her there were two things he wanted to ask her.

She said: “Ok.”

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He asked: “Will you marry me?”

She replied: “Yes! What is your second question?”

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He replied: “Will you help me get up?”

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In today’s Gospel (Jn. 14, 15-21), Jesus told His disciples: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Today He asks us who claim to be His followers two questions: “Do you love Me? Are you keeping My commandments?”  We can say or do so many things, but the bottom line is this: Are we really loving God by keeping His commandments?

* * *

We are not alone! Along with the challenge of loving Him and keeping His commandments is the blessed assurance that He will be with us through the Holy Spirit, the Advocate who remains with us and in us. He has also promised that He will not leave us orphans and will continue to reveal Himself to us! That is all we need to know and remember as we journey on. He is always one with us!

* * *

Tears and fears will always accompany us through life, and can make us lose our focus on the divine. But in truth, our tears and fears should make us turn to God more and make us closer to Him. More than blessings, tears and fears are a sure sign of God’s presence in our lives.

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Another clear sign of God’s presence in a person’s life is obedience. We often think or talk about God, but if we do not obey Him and what He commands, then we are just on the level of lip service. And so it is that there are people who are so prayerful but are so full of anger, greed and selfishness. Let the love of God which we profess manifest itself in deeds of kindness, generosity, humility and service.

* * *

Fr. Jun Perez, SVD, our Filipino missionary working in South Korea, shared with me how the April 16 ferry boat accident, in which 314 Koreans died, has made the whole nation stop, mourn, and reflect about the future. South Korea is in mourning. Excursions, festivals and merrymaking have been suspended. Its president, Park Geun-hye, has apologized to the grieving families. The prime minister has resigned. Authorities plan to rethink, overhaul, and redirect their systems and procedures as a result of this tragedy. In other words, the unfortunate tragedy will bear fruit, especially for the future generations. We have much to learn from the Koreans.

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Incidentally, what makes the parents grieve so much is that many of them lost their only child in the tragedy. If there were many children, maybe the loss would not be as painful. We as a nation should not follow the example of other nations who have chosen to interfere with nature and with life itself in the name of progress.

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By the way, Father Jun is one of our 140 Filipino missionaries working abroad. He was an electronics engineer before he entered the seminary. His first mission assignment was Siberia! Then he was assigned to Liberia, and now to Korea (passing through Divisoria to buy his  maleta). Yes, we need more missionaries like Father Jun, who is diligent, prayerful and joyful!

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The good news we heard is that Pope Francis will be in Korea on Aug. 14-18. Wow! The Philippines is not too far away from Korea. His visit to our country will do us a lot of good, if only to remind us to go back to the basics of our faith, and of our values as a people. We need to humble ourselves again as a people and as a nation.

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What a relief to hear about honesty in the face of all the corruption issues that abound in our country. Two workers at the Iloilo International Airport, Rovelyn de la Peña and Edgardo Penit, are simple cleaners who turned over to the authorities a bag containing money, accessories and gadgets last May 6. This bit of news is like a cool breeze amidst the sweltering heat we are experiencing these days! And rather than bask in the recognition and praise they are receiving, Rovelyn and Edgardo said that they only did the right thing, and that it is what they want their children to learn. Philippines, are we listening?!

* * *

Heaven is for real. About three weeks ago I visited an elderly woman in a hospital, and she told me about her near-death experience in which she had a glimpse of heaven. She said heaven was so beautiful and peaceful that she didn’t want to return to our world anymore. What struck me was her description of the Blessed Mother’s garden—the most beautiful garden in heaven, she said. And what made it so beautiful? She said the garden is filled with all the innocent aborted and unborn children.  Yes, they are with her, blooming happily, like flowers all over!

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For those who have tears and fears, listen to the Lord’s promise: “Be strong for I am with you; do not fear for My spirit remains in you; do not worry for I will fill your house with glory; I will bless you with more than what you have now or before; I will make the best of you for I have chosen you…”

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Thank you for reminding us that you are with us, and that we are never alone. Amen.

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TAGS: commandments, Edgardo Penit, God, Gospel, honesty, Rovelyn de la Peña
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