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Honor

The story is told about Jesus walking into a restaurant and saying to the receptionist: “A table for 26 please.” Confused, the receptionist does a quick head count, and says: “But there are only 13 of you.” Jesus replies: “Yes, but we are all going to sit on the same side, as we did in the Last Supper, remember?”

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In today’s Gospel (Lk. 14: 1, 7-14), Jesus reminds His disciples to mind seating arrangements when invited to meals and gatherings. They were to avoid choosing places of honor; rather, they were to choose the lowest place. “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

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Let’s face it: We all need and want to be noticed, acknowledged, and recognized. But for some people this need or want is so pronounced, and it becomes a lifetime passion, almost an illusion, to be in the limelight whenever they can, every time they can.

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Please remember that no matter how we try, we cannot stay in the limelight or at center stage forever. We are all just passing by. We do our part, then we move on and we are gone. “Letting go and letting God” is one of the most basic lessons we need to learn in life.

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If we take the road of humility and being hidden, we don’t need to seek the limelight. Rather, we seek the true light. A person who has seen the light does not need an audience, a stage, a forum, an event, or a venue to feel his or her self-worth. Our true worth is what God says, not what other people say; what God wants, not what we want.

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“As we grow older, our main goal in life is not happiness but Godliness, not reputation but character, not wealth but virtue, not fame but faith, not the approval of people but the approval of God.”  This text message says a lot. In fact, this text message says it all.

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“Ang taong mapagkumbaba ay pinagpapala; ang taong mayabang ay tinatamaan” (A lowly person will be blessed; a proud person will be stricken). Let us remember this as we journey on in life, as we journey on to God’s heart.

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For people who are obsessed to go up the ladder, our advice is: Go further. Aim high. Aim beyond the ladder. Aim for heaven! The worldly ladder can bring us to the top, above the rest, but it can be lonely up there especially when you stepped on others just to get there. Instead of climbing up the worldly ladder, try the stairway to heaven.

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“What’s in it for me?”  No matter how noble or how holy the things we say or do, there are always ulterior, hidden, selfish motives behind. Only in prayer can we see, accept, and purify our selfishness and pride. Let us continue to pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance, enlightenment, and purification.

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There is a sequel to the story about Jesus in the restaurant. When they were all seated, the waiter brought the wine list and asked if they wanted some wine. Peter was supposed to have said: “Thanks, just bring us water. We have with us our Master. The wedding in Cana, remember?”

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The Lord reminds us today that there is no substitute for hard and honest work. Connections, contacts, and even luck can help us. But more than these, we need to help ourselves, and be constantly attuned to what God wants and be obedient to His plans.

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What is a “social climber”? A person who climbs up the ladder using other people. And what is a “cliffhanger”? A person who tenaciously holds on to anything or any person so as not to fall. Suggestion: Why not be a God-climber or a God-hanger instead?

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Tomorrow is National Heroes Day. We honor them. Real heroes are those who did not seek to be honored in their lifetime. In fact, many of them were prosecuted, ostracized, slandered, rejected, and even killed because of their beliefs and convictions. Heroism is not sought. It is earned.

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The “ber” months are here. Along with September is the reminder that December is not far behind. Let us pray that we will still be around on Christmas. Let us pray that Christmas will be better for all of us, in all aspects. Let us also resolve to help make Christmas better for others in all aspects, in Jesus’ name. Amen!

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Let me end with a story about an ambitious guy who prayed: “Lord, give me work, a big car, surrounded by many girls!” Guess what? His prayer was answered—he now works as a bus driver at an exclusive girls’ school. Lesson? We have our prayers, wishes, and ambitions, but it is God who determines the answer, the execution and the conditions. Whatever, just pray on!

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Think about this: When we are engaged in God’s work, and we encounter setbacks, we can carry on calmly because “we are the servants of the God of heaven and earth” (Ezra 5, 11). Obstacles and delays may discourage us, but it is God’s power that enables us and let us remember that it is His work, not ours.”

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, remind us that honor is not so much about money, power and position as about hard work, humility and generosity. Amen.

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TAGS: generosity, hard work, honor, Humility
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