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Buy One, Take One.

Malabong Mata.
April 5, 2021
Ang Makasalanang Matuwid.
April 5, 2021
PITIK-BULAG: Buy One, Take One.
 
In our gospel today (Mark 12:28-34), it is interesting to note that the scribe had asked Jesus one question, “Which is the FIRST of all commandments?” But Jesus gave him two LIFE-DEFINING answers: “First, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. SECOND, love your neighbor as yourself.”
 
Why two answers in one question? One thing is crystal clear. It is impossible to love God without loving others. They are two inseparable realities. To embrace one is to embrace the other. To love one is to love the other. To ignore one is to ignore the other. Buy one take one. They are twins and beyond divorce. Loving God and loving others are intrinsically connected with each other.
 
Sad to say, our experience reveals the opposite. We have the tendency to separate the two commandments. We are faithful in attending masses, praying the rosaries and novenas to express our love to God; but we are not consistent in responding to the needs of others. We see the need for almsgiving when lent comes, but not on ordinary days. We express our love to God in prayer, but we are not faithful in loving our family. We are extremely grateful to God for forgiving us, and yet we cannot return the favor by forgiving others.
 
This was the reason why Jesus was insistent on giving the second-best commandment. We are good at loving God, but not our neighbor. We are good with words, but not with actions. We are good at promising something but fail in fulfilling it. Jesus was insisting that LOVING OTHERS IS THE ONLY WAY TO LOVE GOD, especially the poor, forgotten, and marginalized, as well as our enemies, people we don’t like, or people who dislike us.
 
This Lent, let’s stop, reflect and pray. Do you really love your neighbor? Do you treat everybody well? What do you feel when you ignored helping someone? What’s your immediate reaction when you see someone in pain, hungry, or humiliated? In the midst of suffering and chaos in our society today, do you lend a helping hand to ease their pain?
 
Loving God and loving others are twins. They are beyond a divorce. God sees our suffering neighbors as His children. On his part, God does not look at our sinfulness, but He lovingly looks at us as His children. Yes, as sinners, we don’t deserve the love of God. We deserve His punishment. Yet, He shows great mercy instead. He even gave his only Son to redeem us from our eternal damnation.
 
What about you? Do you really love Jesus? If your answer is yes, are you willing to stretch out your hands, be nailed on your own cross, and die for the sake of others?
 
This Lent, aspire to love ourselves less, so that we may love God and others more.
 
Prayer:
 
A Threefold Prayer
 
Dear God,
as I begin this wonderful day,
three simple things I pray – I beg
for forgiveness, guidance, and faith.
 
I lovingly beg for your FORGIVENESS,
I have sinned against your merciful love.
I have ignored your call to love others,
forgive my selfishness and pride,
and cleanse me from my sins.
 
I earnestly beg for your GUIDANCE,
send your Spirit to renew my heart.
Cast out all traces of darkness in me,
so that I may see the way to happiness.
Guide me to the path of righteousness.
 
I beg for your persevering FAITH,
and sustain me in my daily crosses.
Give me the grace of courage to risk
and be not afraid of failure or shame.
Let me follow your precepts with joy.
 
Oh my God, You are my life and love.
Never let me not walk away from you.
Let me seek your presence and love,
for I desire to know, love, and serve you.
Be with me today – I NEED YOU in my life.
 
Amen.
 
– Pitik-Bulag
 
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March 12, 2021 – Friday
Gospel Reading: Mark 12: 28-34

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