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Word Alive–Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD August 7, 2022 /19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

There’s a story about a happy and close-knit family. One of their recreations is trying their luck in the lotto. The father would buy some tickets and give them to his children as well as their 85-year-old lolo (grandfather).

One day the father bought some tickets. When the winning numbers were published, lo and behold, one of their tickets won the jackpot price of P20 million! And the ticket was in the hand of their grandpa.

* * *

They were afraid to divulge the news to him, fearing of his weak heart. They invited a young priest-friend, instructing him to gently break the news to the lolo.

The young priest readily accepted the invitation. When he reached the house, he received the instruction then proceeded to the lolo’s room. They exchanged greetings and pleasantries, and when the priest was about to leave, he said casually, “By the way, lolo, supposing you won the lotto and the jackpot of P20 million, what will you do with it?”

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“What, P20 million, Father? That’s a big amount.” The grandpa paused for a moment then said, “Father, here’s what I’ll do. I’ll give P15 million to my children and grandchildren…and the P5 million to you and your church!”

Extremely overjoyed, the young priest collapsed and died of heart attack! (To think it was the old man who had a weak heart!).

* * *

That funny story may well illustrate how unexpected death can happen. In this 19th Sunday gospel, the Lord reminds us to be “wide awake” and prepared. “Be on guard,” Jesus says, “the Son of Man will come when you least expect him” (Lk 12,40).

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Preparedness is the beginning of true wisdom. “It will go well with those servants whom the Master finds watching on his return,” Jesus teaches. Let’s not cram or prepare in the last minute. To do so is like starting to pack up when your bus is already in front of your house to fetch you.

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How is this “preparation” to be done? Many make preparation by buying a lot in a memorial garden or a vault in a columbarium. For some, they execute a last will and testament which, by the way, can be a source of unending disputes. For disgruntled heirs, they employ lawyers to settle the disputes but, sadly, spend more for the lawyer’s fee than the “microscopic” property!

The material and physical preparation before dying is fine. However, that’s not enough. What’s more important is the spiritual preparation and bringing eternal provisions to the next life.

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Making spiritual provisions means living a morally upright life following God’s will and commandments, and reaching out to the less fortunate brethren. The act of charity is very clear in Jesus’s teaching on the Last Judgment, “When I was hungry, you gave me to eat, thirsty you gave to drink…enter the Kingdom of heaven.” Finally, let’s not forget Jesus’ clear and explicit instruction: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life eternal and I will raise him up on the last day” (Jn 6, 53).

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As the gospel today warns us, let’s live in a way that we will not have to regret when the Lord comes to judge us.

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