Fr. Orbos’s Homily (Jan 5, 2014)

Okay, first I must confess I haven’t read this. A friend sends me Fr. Orbos’s homily every Sunday. But things spiritual I read when I’m in a particular frame of mind. I am not at present. So why am I sharing it? When I checked the search data of my blog, I saw searches were made for his homily. I’m not sure this is the one, hopefully it is and that those looking for it will come back and find this. Fr. Orbos’s homily:

Moments: Another way
9:40 pm | Saturday, January 4th, 2014
The story is told about a man who prayed thus on New Year’s Eve: “Lord, all I ask for 2014 is a fat wallet, and a thin belly. Lord, please don’t mix it up again, like You did last year!”
* * *
In today’s Gospel (Mt. 2,1-12), the Magi from the east who were ordered by King Herod to search for the Baby Jesus found Him. Their encounter with Him changed their lives qualitatively. They came, they saw and they were conquered. They did not return to Herod, but went back to their country “by another way.” They moved on from their “like last year” ways and attitudes, and became new persons—with a new vision, mission and direction.
* * *
Today is the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, when God revealed and manifested that His Son is the king not only of Israel , but of all nations. His plan of salvation was not exclusive for a few, but generously inclusive and universal. Let us reflect today, how often we do not reach out or share with those who are not of our culture, religion, affiliation or kind.
* * *
At any point in our lives, like the Magi, we must be open to God’s call, and must be willing to leave our comfort zones, to journey where He leads us. We must not stop searching for new ways and possibilities, and be sensitive to the stirrings and leadings of the Divine. Herod never left his comfortable palace, so he never encountered the newborn King. The Magi did, and their lives totally changed. Let us ask the Lord in prayer today as individuals, as a family, as a community, as a nation, as one world, to help us change what we need to change to become better and freer.
* * *
For a while I thought that our way of welcoming the New Year would change in
solidarity with our brothers and sisters devastated by Supertyphoon “Yolanda.” Well, people still burned their money on fireworks, and polluted the environment with noise and smoke. As the song says: “When will we ever learn? Oh, when will we ever learn?”
* * *
Early morning on New Year’s Day, I was aghast to see the debris of a lantern balloon that fell about two meters from the car of Fr. Dante Venus, SVD, our Superior Delegate. The lantern that had been powered by lighted candle was a meter in diameter. It must have come down as a huge fireball. What if it fell on a nipa hut or a gasoline station in the dead of night? I am sure that the well-meaning people who sent it off did so with much joy, and hopes, and fervent prayers.  Well, well-meaning people can oftentimes be mean.
* * *
On New Year’s Day morning, something also warmed my heart and made me smile. I saw my dog and two of our cats huddled together, sleeping in heavenly peace! And when they woke up, they played around with each other, enkindling the hope that earthly peace is possible. If cats and dogs can do it, why can’t we?
* * *
So, what gift can we bring to our newborn King in 2014? Having neither gold, frankincense, nor myrrh, like the Magi, we all can prostrate ourselves and do Him homage as individuals and as a nation. He is the Prince of peace, so let us all become servants and instruments of peace in our own way, in whatever way.
* * *
Speaking of gifts, please remember that it is not so much the piso  (money) that counts as the  puso  (heart). The Magi had treasures to offer, but more than these, it is their homage that mattered. As we look at life, and look at ourselves, let us not be so focused on the material that we forget what is really essential. So focused on the provisions of the journey, may we not forget the reason for the journey, and our companions in the journey.
* * *
It was a privilege for me to be at the 50th sacerdotal anniversary of Fr. Constancio Caberte last December 30 at the College of the Immaculate Conception in Cabanatuan City . Born 80 years ago in Tagbilaran City , this happy, loving, generous and humble priest continues to serve joyfully God’s people. What a gift! Still alive, strong and happy at 80!
* * *
January 9 is the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo. A lot of things have been said and can be said about this religious phenomenon, but the bottom line is that observers are different from participants. Remember, Herod stayed put, while the Magi went out to search. May we learn to see people more with respect, understanding and compassion.
* * *
As we face the year ahead of us, let us take courage and be consoled by God’s promise: “For I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Let us also be assured of His power over anything or anyone: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
* * *
A moment with the Lord:
Lord, lead me to newer and better ways, at any point in my life. Amen.

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