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Why we’re never satisfied

By Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

Once there was a widow who lived alone. She was terribly lonely. She went to a big pet shop and bought a prize talking parrot worth R10,000. “This will cheer me up,” she muttered as she excitedly brought it home.

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But days passed and the parrot hadn’t uttered a sound. She went back to pet shop owner and complained.

“What it needs are a ladder for the cage, a swing and a mirror to make it active.” the man said. So the lady bought all those. But still the parrot didn’t utter a word.

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After three days, she went to the pet store, this time mournful. She reported that the parrot had died. The owner was embarrassed. “Didn’t it say anything at all?”

“Yes,” said the widow. “It said weakly, ‘Don’t they have bird food in the store?’” The owner was so preoccupied with the bird’s various needs that he forgot the one most basic – food!

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“I am the bread of life,” Jesus tells us in this 18th Sunday gospel. As the story of that parrot illustrates, we need food to live. But Jesus teaches that we humans need food for our souls, too.

No doubt, the Lord was concerned of our basic needs. He showed this when he multiplied the meager bread and fishes for the hungry crowd.

But he also prescribed a spiritual food. Thus, Jesus decided to dwell inside the bread of the Eucharist during the Holy Mass to become the nourishment of our souls.

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Psychologists speak about two kinds of hunger. There’s a physical hunger, which worldly food can satisfy, but there’s also a spiritual hunger, which worldly food can never satisfy.

In other words, we can be famous, successful and have everything that money can buy but deep down inside, there’s the gnawing feeling of emptiness and hunger for something more. It’s because we are not merely physical or material beings but also spiritual.

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I have a friend, Nanding Balingit, who was making good in his career as a company executive of a giant food conglomerate in Makati. But everybody was surprised when, after many years, he quit his high-paying job and is working fulltime in the Spirit of Love Charismatic Community.

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Once he confided: “I may not be making as much money as I used to, but I can’t exchange the happiness and satisfaction I now experience.”

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There are many others like Nanding who discovered a greater fulfillment in doing the work of the Lord.

Have you ever hungered or thirsted for something deep down and didn’t know what? If the answer is yes, then the Scripture passage of today applies to you.

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Christ says: “I am the bread of life…He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.”

The great St. Augustine wrote in his book Confessions: “Our hearts are made for You, O God, and they are restless until they rest in You.”

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. Priest tells Johnny who’s not been attending Sunday Mass, “How about joining the Army of God in church on Sundays?” Johnny replies, “Ok Father, I promise to join.”

After the succeeding Sundays and the priest didn’t see Johnny in church, he asked him: “Why didn’t I see you in church among the Army of God as you promised?” His reply: “Father, I’m in the secret service.” (God doesn’t need ‘secret services’).

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SUPPORT SEMINARIANS. It’s enrolment time again. Let’s help seminarians under our “Adopt-A-Seminarian” scholarship program. You may chip in an amount or sponsor a seminarian’s schooling for one year.

For inquiry, e-mail me at: belsvd@gmail.com.