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Moving on

02:01 AM December 27, 2015

THIS TEXT message I received made me smile:

“Question: How would Adam have greeted Eve on the day before Christmas?

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“Answer: It’s Christmas, Eve.”

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In today’s Gospel (Lk. 2, 41-52), we hear of the anxious moments of Joseph and Mary when they lost their 12-year-old boy, Jesus, in the temple, and of their joy when they found him after three days. We remember and pray for parents who have “lost” a son or a daughter in any way. May they hold on to the belief and hope that their child is never really gone.

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Today is the Feast of the Holy Family. Let us consecrate all members of our families, living or dead, present or absent, especially living members of our families who need healing, conversion, forgiveness, enlightenment or provisions.

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“Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” This is a reminder for parents that no matter how much you love your children, you don’t own them. They belong to God more than to you. They have a life of their own, and they have a life to live, so to say. “Let go, and let God.” This is one lesson parents have to learn well. Easier said than done? Yes, but it has to be said, and it has to be done. Otherwise, growth on both sides never really happens, or becomes strained.

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We were taught to respect our parents. Amen. But parents should also learn to respect their children. Sooner or later, parents must learn that true loving is believing in the child, respecting the child, and trusting the child. Overly anxious and protective parents are the ones who need a lot of growing up to do.

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“He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them.” Obedience is taught to children, yes, but it is also learned and earned. Dogs can be taught in an obedience school, but children are not dogs. If they experience a real “Nazareth” home, they themselves learn to obey and love their parents. As it were, love begets love, but we must qualify that by saying true love begets true love. Love cannot be imposed or required. We all still have a long way to go in our journey toward true loving.

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A dear family friend went home to the heavenly Father last Christmas Eve. In the morning of Dec. 24, two fine doctors, Niko and Marti, sons of a well-respected doctor himself, Carlitos Magsanoc, called me to administer the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick on their mother Letty. At 6:20 p.m. of the same day, when the December moon was fullest, and when Christmas was at our doorsteps, Letty was called by our heavenly Father to spend Christmas with Him this year. It was time for Letty to lay down her pen, shut down her laptop, and come face to face with her ultimate Editor.

Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc’s whole life and person make up a good book worth reading and emulating.

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Words will never be enough to describe Letty, whom I met through her father, the late Nicanor Jimenez, then our Philippine ambassador to Korea where I was assigned as a missionary in 1984. She was “balanced news, fearless views” in person—very professional yet personal, very passionate yet compassionate, very popular yet hidden. She was a deeply religious person, a daily Mass goer, and childlike in her devotion to the Blessed Mother. This edifying trait she got from her mother, Lala. A lot of good things have been said, and will be said, of her, but for the ordinary Filipino, she was a woman who loved her family dearly, who loved her country fearlessly, and who loved the Inquirer passionately.

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On a personal note, on Christmas Day I went to the place where we used to live—a sentimental journey of sorts. I just parked the car on the street and looked at the house where Mama spent the last years of her life. We have already sold it. It is no longer our own, but the memories and happy moments in that home are ours to keep, and cherish. I recalled how the house would be filled with people on Christmas Day, especially those coming from our province to visit Mama. She always had simple gifts prepared for them. She did not have much to give, but she made sure that everybody enjoyed a good meal and had something to bring home. It was good to be there that Christmas Day morning, if only to feel and remember, even if only for a moment, and pray. Then it was time to move on again.

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Speaking of moving on, let us listen to the young people who journey with us. Seventeen-year-old Kyla Kison reminds us that Christmas is not just a season, but a spirit we bring along. She notes three important traits we Filipinos must not leave behind in our journey: first, forgiveness (remember Pia Wurtzbach’s graciousness under pressure, and magnanimity in victory); second, faith, especially prayers and gratitude to God; and third, family (i.e., spending time with family, and being a family come what may). Let us listen to the youth. It is they who will reap whatever we sow in our lifetime.

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Praying that the New Year will be a better year for all of us, in all aspects, in Jesus’ name. Amen!

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help us to grow up, and grow on. Amen.

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TAGS: Christmas, Gospel, INQUIRER, Letty Jimenez Magsanoc, Prayer, Remembering Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc
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