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Wake Up!

 

The story is told about a man who spent a good deal of time in front of the TV. Once as he was watching a PBA game, he dozed off.

san luis, fr. belHis wife was surprised to find him the next morning sleeping before the TV set. She shook him and said, “Wake up…it’s 20 to 7!”

Startled, the husband blurted out, “Who’s leading?”

* * *

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the church’s liturgical calendar. The call is to “wake up from sleep”(Rom 13,11) or “stay awake for you do not know when your Lord will come”(Mt 24, 43).

It does not mean that we are literally in state of dormition—although some are always in that state, like that man before the TV. What it means is that we should wake up from spiritual slumber. In short, we are called to a continuing renewal or conversion.

* * *

I am reminded of the true story of Ray Mendoza (not his real name) who had taken to drinking for 34 years.

“I often wondered how I drove home late at night and arrived in one piece.Along with drinking, I smoked heavily. For 37 years, a lot of my money literally went in smoke.”

* * *

Then crises struck. First, it started with a case filed by the bank he worked in which involved malversation of funds which prompted him to quit. Then he set up a business but it failed miserably, forcing him to sell his car and other possessions to keep him afloat.

* * *

Some friends invited him and his wife to join a Marriage Encounter (ME), hoping it would help straighten his life. Ray scoffed at the idea, saying “What I need is money, not such useless activities.”

But eventually, Ray gave in — “para mapagbigyan sila” (to please them).

* * *

In the three-day weekend seminar, Ray’s eyes were opened to his many faults and weaknesses. He cried and felt so ashamed of himself. It was a spiritual AWAKENING.

* * *

He decided to turn a completely new life and gave up his vices. “You won’t believe it, Father,” he confided to me. “I was into drinking and smoking for 37 years but I was able to give these up instantly.”

Ray and his wife are now a happy and exemplary couple. Sharing their spiritual transformation as presenting couple through the Marriage Encounter Seminars, they reach out and inspire numerous troubled couples.

* * *

As we begin Advent, the church’s New Year, we would do well to pause and ask ourselves: “Where is my life heading to? Am I making any progress or am I getting older in years but spiritually sterile? How about my relationship with people? Are there any bad habits and vices I can’t get rid?

* * *

Advent is a season of preparation for Christmas. The Lord exhorts us to “wake up” to the urgent call of renewal and self-reform.

* * *

FAMILY TV MASS—is aired on IBC 13 (15 on cable) at 7 a.m. every Sunday and on international GMA Pinoy TV. Sponsor: NATIONAL SHRINE OF THE DIVINE MERCY, Marilao Bulacan. Presider: Most Rev. Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez Jr.

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