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Keeping the faith

by: Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, Dr. Viktor Frankl wrote about his three years in Nazi concentration camps. Even in that extreme situation where prisoners survive on meager ration, Frankl recalled, there were “men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread.

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They may have been few in number, but they offered proof that everything could be taken from a man but one thing: the freedom to choose his attitude in any given set of circumstances.”

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Subjected to hunger and physical deprivations, these inmates could have become selfish, grasping but they opted instead to share the little that they had. “Do not fear those who deprive the body of life but cannot destroy the soul,” our Lord teaches in this Sunday gospel (Matthew 10,28).

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In the first reading this Sunday, the prophet Jeremiah (6 BC) who resisted the godless Babylonian king and the apostles suffered ridicule, disdain and persecution for their faith, but they persevered in faith doing the will of God.

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Today the follower of Christ may not live in the same milieu as those biblical ancestors, nonetheless he can suffer the same lot because, like them, he or she sticks to his moral convictions. For instance, a friend in Laoag City who owned a video shop rental said in one of our talks, “Despite the stiff competition, I don’t resort to issuing X-rated videos; I don’t have them in my shop. Nonetheless, my business is doing good.”

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The temptation may come when, for instance, you are going through difficulty in your marriage but you’re trying really hard to save it because you believe the Lord’s words, “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”

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Everyday we encounter pressures to abandon our Christian values and moral convictions. Christ exhorts us: “Do not let men intimidate you.” Meaning, don’t follow their wrong opinions, and don’t imitate their bad example.

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In our personal lives, we may suffer the loss of our health, our job; we may see our home burned, our marriage broken up. But none of these should topple over our faith and hope that some good will come out of it.

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This is what our Lord means when he says in the gospel, “He who acknowledges me before others, I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others I will deny him before my heavenly Father.”

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It is not only denying our faith in the person of Christ but also denying his teachings like, for instance, to be honest in work, to be just to our workers or faithful to one’s marital vows when others are doing the opposite.

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Let us acknowledge the Lord before people so he will also acknowledge us before his heavenly Father.

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. A man was worrying too much over his problems, sleepless at night. Upon the advice of a friend, he tried the old remedy of counting sheep while getting some sleep.

Trouble was when he had reached counting 2500 sheep, it was time to get up in the morning!

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CHRIST is like a computer. He will “ENTER” your life, “SAVE” you with His blood, “FORMAT” your problems, “SHIFT” you to opportunities and never “DELETE” you from His “MEMORY”

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