A life of love

By: Fr. Jerry M. Orbos SVD - @inquirerdotnet - Columnist/Philippine Daily Inquirer | October 31,2021 - 08:00 AM

When you are 70 years old, it means it has been 70 years since you started your journey. It also means your speed is 70 kph as you approach the end of your journey.

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In today’s Gospel (Mk 12, 28b-34), Jesus reminds us of the two great commandments we should not forget in this short life that has been given unto us: Love God will all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength; Love your neighbor as yourself.

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Jesus tells us to love God with all our hearts (not just some of our hearts), with all our soul (not just a bit of our soul), and with all our strength (not just whenever we can). Jesus also tells to love our neighbor as ourselves (not just love ourselves!)

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Our God has explicitly and clearly commanded us to love Him, love others, and love ourselves (in that order). I don’t know of any other God who has done so. Why has He done so? It was not for Him, but for us that He has consistently told us to love. He knows that it is only in loving that we can be truly happy and fulfilled.

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The commandment to love is not easy as it involves sacrifice, humility, patience, forgiveness, and generosity. The world does not care much for these values, but it is precisely these values that our world needs so much if we are to live peaceful, meaningful, and worthwhile lives.

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The saints were people who followed God’s commandments of love, and precisely because they did so, they lived significant lives. As we honor the saints, let us also remember that we are all called to let God shine in our lives. People who are so full of themselves cannot become saints because they prevent or block God’s light from shining through.

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As we commemorate All Souls’ Day, let us be reminded that all of us will die, sooner or later, and we all will face God for the final exams in heaven. The good thing is that we already have a “leakage” as to what question will be asked: What love have you done when you were still alive? “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt. 25).

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Fr. Ric Dumas, SVD, has gone ahead to receive his heavenly reward. Home is the missionary. Mission accomplished! Father Ric and I were classmates since high school, and we were together in Korea for four years. He was a happy and joyful missionary. I remember he called me when we received our Korea mission assignment: “Classmate, we better accept it. Maybe it’s the only way for us to go to heaven, if we get martyred in Korea!”

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Another unforgettable anecdote I have of Father Ric was when I received a text message from someone: “Father Ric had a stroke. He is in Arlington Funeral Homes.” Imagine my sadness when I got the news of his sudden death; but it turned out that Father Ric was alive. He had a stroke while saying Mass in Arlington! That was some 20 years ago, and he lived on to be 67.

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Father Ric mellowed in our retirement home. A lot of things can be said about him, but for me, I experienced his priesthood most in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He was my confessor. Every confession with him was filled with gratitude to our loving God who loves us unconditionally. Father Ric, almost always in tears, gives the absolution with so much love as from someone who has been himself forgiven, someone who experienced brokenness, and God’s restoration. Kamsa hamnida Ric Shinbunim! Hanel-eso mannalga, kuriwon chinkuyo! (Thank you Father Ric, see you in heaven, my very missed friend!)

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A moment with the Lord: Lord, life is short. Help us to live it full of love. Amen.

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TAGS: 28b-34, and with all our strength, gospel MK 12, Jesus, life full of love, Love God with all our hearts, with all our soul

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