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For life and for always

THE STORY is told about the stiff competition of insurance companies regarding coverage. The first one advertised: “You are covered from birth to death.” The second one boasted: “You are covered from the womb to the tomb.” But nobody can beat the last, which said: “You are covered from conception to resurrection!”

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In today’s Gospel (Jn. 6, 51-58), Jesus offers us the most comprehensive insurance, for life, and for eternal life—i.e., His very flesh and blood. But it did not sell well with the crowd. In fact, after His “Bread of Life” discourse, many of His followers, and even His disciples, abandoned Him. His message was too much for them. They did not know what to make of it. But Jesus did not buckle down. He went right on telling the truth, at any cost.

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Take it or leave it. That is how Jesus handled the truth. In contrast, we often hide, or manage, the truth, and we even specialize in half-truths. And so it is that we adulterate and even twist the truth so that it will serve us, our purposes and our agenda. In doing so, many of us become afflicted with “truth decay.”

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With the elections coming, expect more manipulations and media creations to make candidates presentable and acceptable. Call it whatever you want, but with propaganda money there will be more lies and deceptions, and before we know it, we have ended up with leaders who are actually wolves in sheep’s clothing. Let us be aware. Let us be vigilant. Let us not be deceived.

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“I receive the living God, and my heart is full of joy!” This was the beautiful refrain of a communion Mass song in the 1960s (sing it!). The Eucharist is where we encounter and receive the Living Bread that gives life and nourishment to our souls. Let us make sure that in our earthly journey, we eat well, and eat the right food for our bodies, and receive food for our souls.

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This world offers all sorts of investment plans for education, retirement, and even burial, but all these end with this life. Do you have an eternal life plan? First of all, do you plan to go to heaven? If so, invest well, and invest now. Take time today to evaluate your exit plan from this life, and your entry into eternal life. Consult the Lord in prayer. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

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Our most important journey is our journey to God’s heart. All our other journeys—financial, political, power, popularity—lead to a dead end. Let us look beyond, and aim high, so to speak. Let us take courage and be confident. “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you or forsake you; do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31, 8)

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The Assumption of our Blessed Mother, which we celebrated yesterday, is a reminder to us that our final destination is to be united with God at the end of our lives. We are assured by our faith that life does not end in death. We draw strength from our Easter perspective. Everything we go through, good or bad, happy or sad, have purpose and meaning, precisely because of the Resurrection.

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“Angels can fly, not so much because they have wings as because they carry no burdens.” Let us examine whatever baggage we have, or knots that burden or imprison us. The heaviest baggage is those that we carry in our hearts because of our selfishness and pride. The darkest prisons are those that we have created in ourselves and in our relationships. The tightest knots are those that we have not allowed God to open and untie for us.

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Sharing with you this beautiful Prayer for Our Lady, Untier of Knots: “Holy Mary, mother of God, and our most blessed Mother, you know my problems, both small and large, that like knots are tight and hard to undo. I feel restricted by them, and do not know how to overcome them. I come to you, and offer myself, oh Mary, Mother of Mercy. Untie the knots that I am burdened with. Deliver me from the darkness of sin and guide me on the path of light. Protect me from confusion and doubt, and open my heart to the truth of the Gospel. Free me from the prisons that I have created, that afflict me in my life, and send me the Holy Spirit. Assist me from life’s illnesses of body and soul; deliver me from the anxieties and fears that bind me. Protect my family and loved ones and relieve my selfishness and pride. Help me to love generously and to have a forgiving heart. Blessed Mary, I ask for your help to unbind these knots (state the problems) so I can live my life serving Christ with serenity and hope. I ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.” (The stampita was given to me by my sister, Bing, who got it from her friend, Natalie [read: Natali!])

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Fr. Virgilio Bartolome, SVD (Father Bart), has completed his earthly journey and has gone home to his Creator at the age of 83. This charismatic priest from Imus, Cavite, used his many God-given talents to spread God’s word. Until the very end, he continued to raise funds in the United States to help finance our retirement house in Christ the King Seminary, Quezon City, our newly opened Palawan Mission, and other SVD apostolates in the Philippines. The wake will be held on Aug 18-20 at the Villa Cristo Rey, Christ the King Seminary, E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Quezon City. The burial will be on Aug. 21, after the 3 p.m. Mass.

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, thank You for being one with us for life, for always, and forever. Amen.

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TAGS: Bible, FAITH, God, Gospel, Jesus, Mama Mary, Moments, reflection, Religious, verses
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