Washing hands — By Fr Jerry Orbos SVD

Moments — August 29 2021

Somebody noted that alcohol consumption increased during the pandemic, not so much by the mouth but by the hands, for sanitation purposes!

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In today’s Gospel (Mk 7,1-8, 14-15, 21-23), Jesus talks about the tradition of the Jews to wash their hands before eating, and about their other strict purification practices. Using this situation, He goes on to say: “Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from him are what defile.”

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We have all been very vigilant of preventing the COVID-19 virus from entering our bodies. Likewise we must be vigilant in guarding the negativities that come out from our minds and our hearts, such as anger, hopelessness, depression, selfishness, and impatience.

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Maybe you are an impressive person. But are you expressive? Instead of being impressive, let’s focus more on being expressive. Impressive is for external purposes. It’s all for the money or for the show. Expressive, on other hand, is about reaching out, being real, and being truly human.

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I am reminded of the story about a lady who asked two priests the question: “How many novenas do I need to pray in order to have a Mercedes Benz?” The first, a simple priest, said: “I know what a novena is, but what is a Mercedes Benz?” The second, a sophisticated priest, said: “I know what a Mercedes Benz is, but what is a novena?” The purity of prayer can often be adulterated by wealth or traditions.

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Why are you doing the things you do? Often, we get so focused on the work of our hands that we forget the love in our hearts. In our search for money, we often forget or neglect to be mindful of the people who love us and whom we love. More than your presents, it is your presence that matters. Let us not forget this simple lesson in life. Let not money destroy the healthy, happy, and holy you.

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While the CREED (doctrines), the CODE (canon law), and the CULT (liturgy) issues are important, may we not be so focused on them that we forget to talk more about charity, community, and about Christ himself, otherwise, we may become irrelevant as a church.

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During this pandemic may we spread Christ’s central message of love and hope. People around us are thirsting for God’s presence and may we strive more in making His presence real and available in whatever situations they encounter. Let us focus more on God who journeys with us, and who wants to be with us always, and in all ways.

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I’ve heard confessions by phone. Maybe it is not sacramental, but it is a real encounter with a loving and forgiving God, and that is more than enough, for now, for a penitent who is so burdened, or someone dying at the ICU. Our people need compassion, more than conformation to rules and regulations especially during this difficult and trying times.

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It’s September again in a few days. The “BER” months have come, bringing with them our hope for better times ahead. Please hold on to hope. Let’s hope as one. Let us also be bringers of hope in any way we can.

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Join us in our Mass every first Friday at 10 a.m. Join us also online (Facebook/YouTube) every Sunday at 10 a.m.

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“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4, 6-7)

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A moment with the Lord: Lord, remind us that the pandemic is about washing hands, and about praying hands as well. Amen.

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