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Graced waiting

GOD’S WORD TODAY - Jonjee C. Sumpaico, S.J. (The Philippine Star) - November 28, 2015 - 9:00am

In our school, around one-fourth of the total student population have parents who are Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW). Each year these students undergo a program that enables them to share their own stories and experiences to their fellow students. In the process, they learn from students like them to find meaning and inspiration in the sacrifices done by their parents – our modern day heroes. They also appreciate the values of resilience and understanding as they continue to patiently wait for their parent’s return.

While I was observing the opening prayer of the Anak Bayani Program of our school, I was deeply struck by the music video that was projected on the screen. It was about how grace moves people from breakdowns to breakthroughs. Words were flashed which said: “Rejected and Abandoned” to “Love and Accepted”; “Full of Despair” to “Full of Hope”; “Broken Marriage” to “Renewed Love”; “A Life of Regret” to “A Life Worth Living”; “Guilt” to “Forgiven”; “Broken” to “Restored”; “Hurt” to “Healing”; and “Fear” to “Peace.” It described how in the lives of people, transformation for the better is accomplished by allowing God’s saving grace to enter our lives.

As we begin the season of Advent this week, this is the very prayer that we seek. We yearn for God to be part of our lives – to be with us in our journeys. We patiently wait for this grace as it comes in God’s own time, place and manner. It comes at the right time – sa tamang panahon.

But as we wait, and fearful as we are, a lot of things may bother us along the way. What becomes our main stumbling block in our waiting is fear.

We are afraid of what we may have done in the past as it may have caused us hurt or even trauma. We are afraid of sin as it paralyzes us to respond to God as well as to others in a manner that is more open and free.

We are afraid of the things that have not yet come. For as past experiences do give us impressions that not all moments may be favorable for us, not knowing what is “behind the corner” makes us doubt and even trust less in the people and surroundings that are around us. We are afraid of anxiety as it also paralyzes us to stay in our own tried and tested comfort zones. It stunts us in responding to the invitation of sharing more of ourselves.

Despite all these acknowledged fears, we are asked to hold fast. The readings of this Sunday particularly talk about this. The first reading reminds the Houses of Israel and Judah that God’s promise of salvation and restoration will come in due time. The second reading urges the faithful to make ready for this by increasing one’s love to all and live blameless lives. To put this into daily practice brings about the readiness and steady progress as it becomes a way of life. The Gospel reading exhorts the reader to stay awake and keep watch so that when the time comes, he may be able to stand in confidence before God.

We beg the Lord to sustain us every day. We ask God to give us our daily bread so that we may stand truthful before Him.

And when we pray the Our Father during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, let us try to be observant to the words that the priest mentions following the prayer:

Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin  and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

May you find that grace in God’s time through the joyful examples of our shared lives. And as we try our best to patiently endure in our waiting, may that same grace finds us in our own brokenness and make us whole once more.

A LIFE OF REGRET A LIFE WORTH LIVING ACIRC ANAK BAYANI PROGRAM BROKEN MARRIAGE FULL OF DESPAIR FULL OF HOPE GOD HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS HOUSES OF ISRAEL AND JUDAH JESUS CHRIST
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