When you meet God | Inquirer Opinion
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When you meet God

I remember counseling, years ago when I was a young priest, a very troubled and very proud man. It was difficult to make inroads into his heart, which was full of denial, rationalizations, and alibis. Finally, almost in frustration, I looked straight into his eyes and told him in all earnestness: “God loves you, no matter what…” He turned misty eyed, then, as if to escape the net, said: “He has good taste!”

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In today’s Gospel (Lk. 15, 1-11), we learn of Peter’s first encounter with Jesus, and how that religious experience changed his life forever. He was, so to speak, caught by the net. The fisherman who lowered the net was caught by the Fisher of men himself! The lesson for all of us is that we don’t capture God, it is God who captures us! Let us not escape from the net of His love. Let usallow ourselves to be captured by God.

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A lot of us are like Peter; we control or try to control everything and everyone because of our pride. Sooner or later, we must accept the reality that we need God. Sooner or later, we will have a life-changing encounter with God, whether through trials, sickness, poverty, failures, persecutions, separation, or death of a loved one. When that happens, may we be

given the grace to be humble and embrace Him, and not be proud and elude Him.

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Peter, in his abundance, with all the fish he had caught, fell on his knees and acknowledged Jesus.

There are so many people filled with blessings and abundance who do not acknowledge and kneel down before God. Instead, they kneel down before their wealth and blessings, and become slaves to them!

Let us ask ourselves today: Who or what do we deify and adore? Let us put God back in the main altar of our lives.

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“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Let us elect our future leaders according to deeper standards and measures. The truth of the matter is that we have become so shallow, so pragmatic and expedient, in doing politics, Philippine style. We have lowered, not our nets, but our standards, and are willing to catch anyone who is somehow “puwede na.”

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“Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Righteous, especially self-righteous, people can never truly experience the love, mercy and compassion of God. Those who rely on their merits and achievements can be so intoxicated with their righteousness, and end up relying more on themselves, and not on the grace of God. Let us take the path of humility in our journey to God’s heart, and not be disheartened by our failuresand falls.

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We say goodbye to Fr. Juanito “John” Banogbanog, SVD, who died last Jan. 30 at the age of 52. He was the first SVD to die in our Cuban mission. Father John, from Moalboal, Cebu, spent 14 years in Cuba as a missionary and was well-loved by the people he served. What made him a good fisher of men was not the personal or material resources he had, but his simplicity, holiness, humility, and joyful and caring heart.

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Last Saturday, we said goodbye to Fr. Hazer Cango, SVD, who left for his first foreign

assignment—Brazil, the Amazon region. This 27-year-old missionary from Banaue, Ifugao, left his home, family, country and culture, and ventured into the deep to become a fisher of men.

Saying goodbye to our missionaries is always a sad moment, but it is also an inspiring and renewing experience. Yes, our God is alive and our mission goes on.

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This Wednesday, Feb. 10, is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. It is a day of fasting and abstinence. Those from ages 18 to 60 are required to fast (one full meal a day only) and those from age 14 up are required to abstain (no meat in meals). Ashes are blessed and are administered to remind us of our mortality. All these practices we do in gratitude to God, to ask for forgiveness, and in reparation for our sins. Beyond obligation is personal love and devotion.

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This Thursday, Feb. 11, is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. It is also the World Day of the Sick. Let us ask the Blessed Mother to heal us of our physical, emotional and spiritual illnesses. Let us also pray for the healing of our families, our relationships, our country, the whole world, and Mother Nature.

Mama Mary, heal us and help us! Amen.

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Think about this: “When “I” is replaced by “We,” even “illness” becomes “wellness”  (Michael Baisden).

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, when we meet You, help us not to run away from You or ignore You. Amen.

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TAGS: God, Gospel, Religion
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