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Hoy gising!

The story is told about a man who spends a good deal of his time in front of the TV. Once as he was watching the PBA championship, he dozed off.

His wife was surprised to find him the next morning sleeping before the TV set. She shook him and said, “Wake up…it’s 20 to 7!”

Startled, the husband blurted out, “Who’s leading?”

* * *

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the church’s liturgical calendar. The call is to “wake up from sleep” (Rom 13,11) or “stay wake” (Mt 24, 43).

It does not mean that we are literally in state of dormition like that man before the TV – although some people are perennially in that state! What it means is to wake up from spiritual slumber. In short, it is a call for renewal or moral conversion.

* * *

I am reminded of the true story of Ray Mendoza, (not his real name) who had taken to drinking for 34 years.

He confided to me: “I often wondered how I drove home late at night and arrived in one piece. Along with drinking, I also smoked heavily. I indulged in this for 37 years. A lot of my money literally went in smoke.”

* * *

Then crises began to strike. First, it started with a case filed by the bank he worked which involved malversation of funds. He was forced to quit his high-paying job. Then he turned to a family business to recover financially but failed miserably. They were compelled to sell their car and other possessions.

* * *

Some friends invited the couple to join a Marriage Encounter (ME) seminar, hoping it would help straighten their lives. Ray scoffed at the idea, saying “What I need is money, not such useless seminar.”

Due to the pestering invitation of friends, however, Ray gave in – “para mapagbigyan lang sila” (just to please them).

* * *

In the three-day weekend seminar, Ray’s eyes were opened to his many faults, weaknesses and shortcomings. He cried and felt so ashamed of himself. It was a spiritual AWAKENING.

* * *

He decided to turn a completely new life and gave up his vices. “You won’t believe it, Father,” he said. “I was able to give up my drinking and smoking instantly.”

Ray and his wife are now active in spreading the importance of self-renewal, inspiring a lot of troubled couples by their life testimonies.

* * *

As we enter “Advent,” the church’s New Year, we would do well to pause and ask ourselves: “Where is my life heading to? Am I making any progress or am I getting older in years but spiritually sterile?

* * *

How about our relationship with people? Are we truly loving and forgiving? Are there any bad habits that still linger on? Are we doing good words, reaching out to the less fortunate and underprivileged? St. James in his letter said, “Faith without works is dead.”

* * *

Advent is a season for the preparation of the Lord’s coming on Christmas. WAKE UP. Hoy Gising!

* * *

LAFF ONE ANOTHER. A lawyer specializing in personal injury decided to branch out, so he added libel claims to his practice. He wanted to add insult to injury.

* * *

Before marriage when a man holds a girl’s hand, it is love. After marriage when a man holds a girl’s hand it is self-defense. (Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD)

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