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No time for God?

 

BY FR. BEL R. SAN LUIS, SVD

 

 

wrd word alive bel san luis

A young couple had invited many guests to their daughter’s birthday dinner. At the table, the hostess turned to her six-year-old daughter and asked, “Would you like to say the prayer?”

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“I don’t know what to say,” the girl replied. “Just say what you hear Mama says,” the mother answered. The little girl reluctantly bowed her head and said, “Lord, why on earth did I invite all these many people for dinner?”

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The gospel of this 28th Sunday speaks about an invitation, too, but the host in the parable was not regretting that so many came as in the above story but rather nobody came. In both cases, the hosts were disappointed.

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The king, symbolizing God, had made elaborate preparations for a wedding banquet and then invited guests, but they all begged off for more “important” matters: One went to his estate, another to his business (read Mt 22,1-14). Jesus refers to the wedding banquet as God’s heavenly kingdom.

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Christ’s parable is a veiled accusation against the Jewish people of the day who had been invited by God to be his Chosen People, but they contemptuously refused. Today’s parable serves as a WARNING for us Christians as the new Chosen People of God.

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To be fair, we have not ignored God’s invitation; otherwise we would not be baptized Christians and would not be fulfilling our Sunday obligations. But the danger for us is that we may allow the affairs of this world, our business, our entertainments to blot out our vision of the real goal in life.

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There was a couple who were so much engrossed in their business of manufacturing huge volumes of clothes for export that the family suffered. With little supervision, the children went wayward. The daughter became an unwed mother and their son had started taking drugs.

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The business was all that mattered so that even on Sundays, they had to work. Since the couple had no more time for one another, eventually their marriage broke apart.

People can be so busy making a living that they forget what matters most – our relationship with God. As Jesus said, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but suffers the loss of his own soul?” (Mt 16,26).

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Our Lord invites us to live a HOLISTIC or balanced life which takes into consideration our spiritual well-being. He, likewise, invites us to do some charity works like helping the people devastated in health and finances by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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LIMITED INVITATION. No doubt, God is not taking away our time for work, recreation, and worldly pursuits. What He is asking is that we should not forget or neglect our spiritual needs and need for God.

REMEMBER in today’s parable. There’s a LIMIT to God’s invitation because we live but once in this world. What follows is the King’s reckoning.

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REMEMBERING OUR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

A foreigner once visited some tribal people in Mountain Province. Noticing the people’s custom of offering food mounted on bamboo stands, he asked his guide what kind of superstition this was.

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“Well, food is being offered for some dead relatives,” he said. “And when do you think will his deceased relatives eat that food?” he said sarcastically.

“As soon as the friend you buried last week smelled the flower you put on his grave.” That silenced the sarcastic foreigner.

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Today is Indigenous People’s Sunday. The Church invites us to become more aware of these countrymen living on the fringes of society – the Aetas, Igorots, Manobos, Tingguians, Mangyans, Tagbanuas, to mention some. As in the above story, we should respect their cultures and traditions, and learn from their values.

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The Christian attitude is not to insult or look down on them but to help them.

Fr. Ewald Dinter, a German SVD missionary, who has dedicated a major part of his life working with the Mangyans in Oriental Mindoro, says that in fostering their pride and human dignity, a good number of tribes have advanced in life, becoming lawyers, nurses, accountants, priests, and even bishops.

Missionary priests, nuns, and lay catechists have empowered them through formal and or adult education.

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SUPPORT SEMINARIANS. It’s the start of the school year in the seminaries. Families of our seminarians are financially hard up due to the present COVID-19 crisis. Let us support our seminarians in their schooling. Without them, we cannot have priests, bishops, and Popes because they all start as seminarians.

Donate an amount or sponsor a seminarian’s schooling for one year. For inquiry, e-mail me at: belsvd@gmail.com.

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