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Keeping the flame alive

The story is told about a reporter who interviewed a man in the scene of a fire. When asked how the fire started, he said it was because of the chicken in the neighborhood. When asked further what happened, his response was: “I heard it was caused by poultry wiring!”

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Today is the Solemnity of the Lord’s Epiphany, the revelation, the manifestation of Jesus as the Savior not only of Israel but of all nations. Yes, God is the God of all nations, and the fire which started as a little flame has spread far and wide all over the world.

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In today’s Gospel (Mt. 2, 1-12), we hear how the fragile flame was almost put off by King Herod who felt threatened by the arrival of the newborn king. He was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with Him.

Time and again, great powers collapse and come to an end because of a tiny seed that contains the truth, or a weak flame that sparks an unstoppable fire that comes from the minds and hearts of men and women of goodwill. May we have more men and women who will continue the task of revealing goodness, truth and beauty despite all the odds, no matter what.

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Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc, “keeper of the Edsa flame,” was one person who kept the flame alive in some of the darkest moments of our history, in the recent past. She was, so to say, an agent of Epiphany, revealing with such courage by print what the ordinary Filipinos needed to know about the Herods among us, and what was really happening. And this she did with so much grace, talent, passion and wit.

She kept pointing to us the star that led us to the manger, the cradle of our freedom and democracy.

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The magi followed the star. They were focused, and not distracted by anything or anyone along the way.

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We have just started our 2016 journey. As we journey this year, let us keep our eyes fixed on our true light, let us maintain our bearings and stay on the right track as we head toward our “True North.” One with you in our journey to God’s heart—a journey which all of us should make diligently and steadfastly, sooner or later.

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“A great storyteller. One of the best in our times.” That’s how Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle described LJM in his homily at the close of her wake last Dec. 29, at the Heritage Park. She told the story that had to be told, and neither fear nor favor stopped her from doing so. Each of us, too, has a story to tell. We all have a mission to keep the flame alive. The moment we stop telling our stories, the fire will die, and the place where Jesus was born will be very dark. Let us all keep the flame burning and alive.

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As we start the new year, let us remember that the Lord will be with us every single day.

“Without God, the seven days of the week would be Sinday, Mournday, Tearsday, Wasteday, Thirstday, Fightday, and Shatterday—yes, seven days without God makes one weak!”

This may be wishful thinking, but let us pray that the year 2016 would be “12 months full of hope; 52 weeks without stress; 365 days of happiness; 8,760 hours without hassle; 525,600 minutes of peace; and 31.536 million seconds of love.”

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“We do not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future in his hands.” That is enough. May we learn to trust more, and worry less; give more and get less. Yes, let us make a choice to be better and to do better this year.

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“And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.” Let us not return to our Herods—people or things that imprison us. Our encounter with the Lord should lead us to broader, freer and brighter horizons. At any point of our lives, we can change, and change for the better.

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The year 2016 is election year. Let us not choose the Herods to lead us. Let us pray hard and work hard that a new epiphany, a new revelation will dawn upon us. The magi have shown us that it is possible to find new ways and alternate routes. May the Lord give us the zeal and grace to say goodbye to our old familiar shores, leave our comfort zones, and venture into the deep—guided by a star.

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help us to be agents of the light, to keep the flame alive, and to keep the fire burning. Amen.

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TAGS: Letty Jimenez Magsanoc, LJM, Memories of Letty Jimenez Magsanoc, Solemnity of the Lord’s Epiphany
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