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Change of mind

According to a story I heard, the Japanese whisky Suntory got its name because the owner of the company had three sons (“son three”)—hence, Suntory! I also heard that the name of the Japanese car Datsun came about when American engineers exclaimed “That soon?!” after hearing how fast the Japanese could assemble a car.

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In today’s Gospel (Mt. 21, 28-32), we hear about a man who had, not three, but two sons, who changed their minds, that soon! One promised to go out and work in the vineyard, but did not, and the other did not promise, but went anyway. The Lord tells us today to be true to our promise to do His will. More than our words, it is our heart and our deeds that the Lord sees.

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There are many people in our midst who broadcast every good thing that they do. Their forum is public esteem, and opinion. On the other hand, there are also people who do good deeds, but quietly, with no thought of public approval in mind. All they seek is to do God’s will and to please Him. Which one are you?

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What is this change of mind that the Gospel talks about today? Is it the same as metanoia (change of heart)? Most Reverend Arturo Bastes, SVD, DD, bishop of Sorsogon and my former professor in theology and Greek, told me that metanoea, the verb of metanoia, really means to change one’s mind. “Changing one’s heart is one of the consequences of change of mind,” he said. In other words, the way we think affects the way we behave and live. Let us pray for metanoia, conversion, and a real change of mind and heart.

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The evil one knows how to affect and influence our thoughts. Those who think negatively and who accuse, condemn, suspect, and leave no room for trust, encouragement, and affirmation tend to play the game of the evil one. Whenever we catch ourselves thinking evil thoughts, let us pray the powerful prayer, “Come, Holy Spirit!”

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The real change of our mind happens when we move out from the “It’s-all-about-me” mode to the “It’s-all-about- God” mode in life. That is the road we all should be headed to. As long as life is all about I, me, and myself, no real living and loving will happen. The key is humility—i.e., when we realize and accept that there is something or someone greater than ourselves.

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Today is National Seafarers Day. We remember, support, and pray for our 300,000 Filipino maritime workers here and abroad, braving loneliness, deprivation, and danger for the sake of family and country. Mabuhay kayo at maraming salamat po sa tulong ninyo sa bansa natin.

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Hard and honest work—that is what the majority of our people do. Easy and dirty work—that is what many of our so-called leaders and public servants do. We pray for a national metanoia, a change of mind and heart. Again, the key is humility. We all must accept that our life is just lent to us, that we are just stewards of our talents and blessings, and that we are accountable to God in the end.

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Speaking of change of mind, last week I had a meal in a restaurant. I used my senior citizen card and got a discount. That turned out fine. But guess what? I had to go back the next day because I forgot my card in the restaurant! Change of mind? Senior moment!

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Last week at our SVD Mission Center in San Jose, Batangas, I saw Fr. Vic Cisneros, SVD, one of my companions there, unloading a half-sack of rice from his motorbike. He bought the rice for our needs. That was very humble of him. When I said Mass at the National Food Authority regional office in Batangas the other day, upon the invitation of director Tom Escares, I was praying that a sack of rice would be offered. The Lord must have heard my silent wish. Four sacks of rice were offered during the offertory procession—more than enough for our needs, and some more to share. We pray for a change in a mind that is full of worries and anxieties to a mind that is full of hope and trust in God’s providence.

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Think about this: “Today, I will laugh and let my heart sing for we do not know what tomorrow may bring. Today, I will be thankful that God is on my side, so no need to worry or hide. Today, I will believe that God’s promises are true, and that faith can move mountains. Today, I will live enjoying God’s blessings and happily share them. Yes, just for today.”

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October is the month of the Holy Rosary—that simple, humble prayer that has brought so much blessings and peace to the lives of so many. Carry a rosary, hold the rosary, pray and live the Rosary every day.

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Inviting you to the “Walk with God to Manaoag” in Pangasinan on Oct. 4, Saturday, starting at 5 a.m. from the Urdaneta City cathedral, ending with the 9 a.m. Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag.

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, change my mind, so that I may see what You see, and love what You love in others and in me. Amen.

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TAGS: Catholic Church, Fr. Jerry M. Orbos, Gospel, Matthew, Metanoia, Moments, National Seafarers Day, opinion, Religion, SVD
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