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Word Alive — Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD

March 19, 2023 / 4th Sunday of Lent A

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A lady once approached a priest and confided, “I feel guilty, Father. This morning, before coming to Mass, I committed the sin of pride. I sat for an hour in front of my mirror admiring my beauty.” Will I have to do penance?

The priest, looking at her, replied: “Not at all, my child. You only have to do penance for a sin; not imagination.”

* * *

In the gospel of this 4th Sunday of Lent, we encounter people who, like that lady, are blind (read Jn 9,1-41). They are two kinds: one who is physically blind and people who are spiritually blind; one who wants to see and people who refuse to see.

* * *

Of the latter Jesus, who’s referring to the Pharisees (Jewish religious leaders), says, “They have eyes but do not see.”

These self-righteous leaders could not see because of hubris, an extreme form of pride, which could not accept Jesus’ teachings and his profession that he was the Son of God. Because of this, the only recourse for them was to get rid of him and that happened in his crucifixion and death.

* * *

Aren’t we in some ways like the blind Pharisees? For instance, among married couples there are those who insist strongly that they are always right until one is left (behind).

There are also those who are heavy smokers and drinkers and feel some pain. They are advised to go for physical check-up, but keep on postponing it. It’s when they feel a big lump on the chest or stomach that they grudgingly give in. But it’s too late and their days are numbered, they regret. They even get angry with God and say, “Lord, why did you allow this to happen?” Look who’s talking.

* * *

Pride is the worst of all sins. It is the sin that makes a man feel that he is better than others, and that he doesn’t need help from anyone, including God.

Remember the biggest ship ever built in the 1900’s, the “Titanic”? The owners boasted: “Not even God can sink this ship!”

* * *

In 1912 when the ship made its maiden voyage from England accompanied by much fanfare to New York, USA, it struck a huge iceberg which opened a gaping hole on its side and caused it to sink to its watery grave. As the biblical Proverb puts it: “Pride goes before the fall!”

The COVID-19 pandemic that infected our world had taught us humility. It showed that human competence, despite its amazing advances in science and technology, was limited.

* * *

In this season of Lent, let’s pray to get rid of our spiritual blindness, see our limitations and accept our weaknesses. In short, let’s strive for spiritual conversion and continuing self-renewal.

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LAUGH ONE ANOTHER. A corrupt policeman always asked for bribe (lagay) from traffic violators. One week-end he attended a Lenten retreat and experienced a dramatic transformation. Now he no longer asks for bribe (lagay) but “love offering.”

Conversion? At least there’s a change.

* * *

Johnny has been a charitable, God-fearing man so one day the Lord told him, “As a fitting reward, ask three wishes and I’ll grant you.”

“First, I want one billion dollars.” Poof! There’s a flash, and a paper with a Swiss bank account number appears in Johnny’s hand.

“Next, I want a BMW.” Poof! Another blinding flash, and a shiny BMW is parked next to him.

“Finally,” Johnny says, “I want to be irresistible to women.’ Poof! Another flash, and Johnny turns into a box of chocolates.

* * *

‘7 LAST WORDS.’ The SVD Mission Communications Foundation, Inc. will telecast online over ABS-CBN (Kapamilya channel) the “7 Last Words” on Good Friday, April 7 at 12noon-3 p.m. Join us at the Divine Word Shrine in Christ the King Seminary, E. Rodriguez Blvd., Q.C. or through your mobile phone or e-mail.

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BY THE WAY, we sent out solicitation letters for advertisement placements and donations for the TV program. May we hear from you?

Call Brian Deguito at tel. 8723-3343 or e-mail me at belsvd@gmail.com.

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LENTEN CHARITY. Lent calls us to do more acts of charity. One way of doing it is to help the seminarians we are supporting under our “Adopt A Seminarian” scholarship program. Remember: Without seminarians we cannot have priests, missionaries and bishops.

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

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