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In His time

IT TOOK some time for me to understand it, but when I finally did, it brought a smile to my lips. I am referring to a text message I received last March 19 which read: “Today is the Feast of St. Joseph, the most chased (read: chaste) spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary…”

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It took some time for the disciples to understand the Resurrection. They had many doubts and questions. Thomas, in particular, expressed his unbelief. He needed to see and touch the risen Lord. As it happened, the risen Lord went out of His way, showing signs to help them come to believe. Yes, our God is a God who continues to reach out to us and go out of His way to reveal Himself and His tremendous love for us.

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“Peace be with you!” This was the constant Easter greeting of Jesus to His disciples who were so full of doubts and fears, and guilt, because they abandoned their Master when He needed them most. They needed the blessed assurance that they had been forgiven, that all would go as planned, and that they still had a big mission ahead of them. In our case, whatever situation we are in, and whatever we are going through, may we receive the Lord’s assuring greeting, “Peace be with you!”

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What the disciples needed most was focus.  After the passion and death of their Master, they were devastated, lost, and totally shattered. They were downcast and so focused on their miserable situation. They needed to focus not on themselves, but on the Lord again.  We, too, must learn not to focus on ourselves, on our situation, but on the Lord. Yes, we need to stay focused on the Lord, and keep saying, “Lead me on, Lord. Lead me on, my God!”

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Doubt, fear, and guilt. These are toxic elements that cripple, if not altogether devastate, our lives.  As long as we hold on to doubt, fear, and guilt, we are prisoners and subjects of the evil one. Like Thomas, we must face our doubt, fear, and guilt and ask the Lord to help us believe, and, like Him, to come to say: “My Lord, and my God!”

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Let the children remind us of the “big picture” again and again. Remember the nursery rhyme “small circle, small circle, big circle”?  We must continue to look beyond, expand, and be open to possibilities and surprises. At any moment of our lives, and as long as we are alive, we must not give up. We must continue to dream and to believe. We as a country and as a people must not give in to pessimism and hopelessness. May God give us the grace to believe and keep believing in ourselves and a better Philippines.

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It took some time—six years, to be exact—but finally our confrere, Fr. John O’ Mahony, SVD, received his Filipino citizenship last April 1. Father John, 76, was born in Ireland and has spent 36 years of his life as a missionary in the Philippines. He has served in Mindoro, at the Sacred Heart Parish on Kamuning, Quezon City, and at St. Jude Shrine in Manila. He is presently in the formation team of the Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay City. He says it is a part of his communion journey as a missionary to learn the language of the people (he speaks very fluent Tagalog!). Thank you, Father John, for choosing to be one with us, and for being one like us!

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It will take some time for Aris David to accept the death of his 42-year-old wife, Nova, who left behind their eight-year-old twins Ysabel and Sophia. At her funeral Mass, I and the whole congregation could not help but cry when we listened to the twins describe the kindness and the beauty of their Mama. We were inspired, too, when they candidly told everyone that their Mama is in heaven now, that we should not worry or be sad, that she is watching over us, and that we will meet again. Wow. Indeed, from the mouth of babes the Lord speaks to us—little ones painting the “big picture” for us older ones.

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It is time for the clergy and the laity to pray together more, and more often. I am glad to know that more and more lay people are joining us priests and religious in praying the breviary, the official prayer of the Catholic Church. By all means, let us continuously offer praise and thanksgiving unto the Lord all over the world, from the rising of the sun to its setting. The breviary is the prayer that lifts us from our narrow and often self-centered prayers toward the “big picture” of praise and thanksgiving. By the way, the “Pandasal” (Food-prayer from sunup to sundown), published by the Society of St. Paul, contains the Liturgy of the Hours including the lauds (morning prayers) and the vespers (evening prayers).

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Mother Angelica, foundress of the EWTN global Catholic network, died last March 27, Easter Sunday. She was considered one of the most influential evangelists in the world.  Time magazine, in the year 2000, described her as “arguably the most influential Catholic woman in America.” We will long remember her show, “Mother Angelica Live,” that was aired in 145 countries worldwide. And, of course, we will long remember her Easter humor, humility, honesty and dedication. Rest in peace, dear Mother Angelica!

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A moment with the Lord: Lord, remind us that there are things in life that take time. Help us to be patient, and be confident that all things happen in Your time. Amen.

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TAGS: Catholic, Christian, Christianity, church, opinion, Religion, Resurrection
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