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More You, less me

The story is told about a doctor who examined his patient’s legs and declared, “We have to amputate one of your legs because of your diabetes.” After the procedure, the doctor told his patient, “I have bad news for you. I cut the wrong leg! But I also have good news for you. Your bad leg is getting better!”

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In today’s Gospel (Mt. 22, 34-40), Jesus reminds us of the two greatest commandments: “love of God” and “love of neighbor as oneself,” in that order. Today, let us examine our “legs” in our journey to God’s heart. Are they new? Are they functioning at all?

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Please note that the commandment to love God is to the max! “You shall love the Lord, our God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with your entire mind.” In Jesus’ own words, this is the greatest and the first commandment. It is clear that love of God should be our first priority, requiring of us maximum intensity. Until we realize and concretize this in our lives, we still have a long way to go in our journey to God’s heart.

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Take note, too, that in the second commandment, love of neighbor is mentioned before love of self: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” In other words, we should not make ourselves the standard of our loving. The problem arises when the standard of our living and loving is I, me, and myself.

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All Souls Day is just around the corner. Let us remember our mortality, and be reminded of the futility of making gods out of earthly creatures and possessions. Let us not deify anything or anyone before we come face to face with God. May we not be filled with shame that we deified our possessions, our achievements, our name, and even our loved ones while we were alive.

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Payback time and quality time. I keep repeating these two important reminders as we journey on. That is because the temptation to stay on in hoarding time and in quantity time is so great, and before we know it, life is over or is almost gone. The evil one has a way of making us believe that we are following God’s agenda, when in fact it’s still all about I, me, and myself.

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One other theme that I keep emphasizing is of not postponing our loving. The other day, Sam Santiago came all the way to Athens, Greece, from Los Angeles in the United States to be with his mother on her 85th birthday (Oct. 24). What an inspiring sight—Sam with his parents, Pete and Rose, sharing precious moments together. When true and sincere love abounds, surely God is there.

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On a recent pilgrimage in Turkey and Greece, we were privileged to have with us a newly married couple, King Rodrigo and Boots Anson-Roa. It was likewise an inspiring sight—King and Boots so in love with and so devoted to each other in this exciting chapter of their retirement years. Indeed, God is a God of pleasant surprises. For King and Boots, God is still the No. 1 priority in their relationship.

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We do not have a monopoly on floods. Last Friday in Athens a sudden and prolonged downpour inundated the streets, and we found ourselves caught in rising floodwaters in an underpass. Anything could have

happened in those moments. Our reflection on that day was: If life ended there and then, would we have been ready to meet our Creator? Would we have had regrets about anything or anyone in our lives? Life is short. Death is certain. And yes, we may not pass this way again.

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Christmas is just around the corner! This early let us go on an unloading mode—i.e., unloading and emptying ourselves of sin and bad habits, so that there will be room for God in our hearts. This also means disposing of excess baggage and accumulated blessings, and passing them on to the less fortunate. Dispose of sin, and dispose of those shameful excesses that we have kept and accumulated through the years.

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Today we acknowledge and appreciate the many healthcare workers who have risked and even lost their lives in the face of the Ebola crisis that is currently threatening our world. Public service at its best! As for the other so-called public servants in our country, the Philippines, please don’t conduct your selfishness and greed in the name of public service. Be blessed and share your blessings with others!

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Think about this: “Every time we give in to selfishness and say ‘No’ to God, we spoil His loving plan for us” (Pope Francis).

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help me to love You most, love my neighbor more, and love myself less. Amen.

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TAGS: Catholic Church, Fr. Jerry M. Orbos, Gospel, Jesus, love, Matthew, Moments, opinion, Reliion, SVD
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