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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, September 25, 2017
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala

Rock & Refuge

Contented with
what we have

While we are always a work in progress, always moving on and pursuing our dreams and aspirations, we should not forget that we have to be contented and thankful with what we already have and accomplished. Let's count our blessings, and avoiding complacency, let's make use of what we have to get to our dreams and aspirations.

Somehow this is the message of the gospel of the 25 th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A, which is about the parable of the landowner hiring workers at different hours for the usual daily wage. (Mt 20,1-16)

The worker hired at the first hour compared himself with the one hired at the last hour and thought that he would be given more than what the last worker received, since he obviously worked longer than the other.

But the thing was that the wage was fixed and agreed upon before the first-hour worker was taken in. He ended up complaining against the magnanimity and generosity of the landowner who just wanted to give the same amount to the workers who only worked for one hour.

We should refrain from comparing ourselves with others to the point that we fall into envy and later fault God himself for not giving us what we want. That would be a disaster!

God has his reasons to apportion his graces and blessings in different ways and amount to each one of us. Ours is simply to ask for these graces and to make use of them as best as we can. We should not waste time comparing what we have with what the others have received from God.

If ever we have to consider what the others have, it is for the purpose of establishing how what we have can work in tandem with what the others have. Since we always live in some form of communion, we cannot help but work together with others, harmonizing our different gifts for the good of all.

And so, we have to slay envy everytime it makes us its port of call. We have to let it know immediately that it is unwelcome. And the way to do it is to go to Christ immediately, praying, sacrificing, and reminding ourselves of Christ's example and teaching.

We need to remember that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, however we are placed and situated in life. Not everyone can be bright, talented, successful, etc. Some have to do the menial job, take care of the little things, be at the background.

We should not feel inferior to anyone because we are all children of God, equally loved by him although shown in different ways. Everyone has the same dignity and vocation, though lived and pursued in different ways.

We have to love everyone as Christ has loved all of us, without exception. He even told us to love our enemies. But given our human weakness, we need to be more pro-active in living out what St. Paul once advised: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” (Phil 2,3)

It's important that we understand this piece of Pauline advice well and let's be comforted by these words of his:

“God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise,” he says. “God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong.” (1 Cor 1,27)

In this regard, we have to be most careful in handling our intentions. They play a strategic role in our life, for how and where we direct them would determine whether we want to be with God and simply be with our own selves.

Our intentions express who and where in the end we want to be. Do we choose God, or do we simply choose ourselves, or the world in general? It's actually a choice between good and evil.

Even if we are not aware, or refuse to be aware, of this choice, which is usually the case, the choice between God and us, between good and evil, is always made with every human act we do.

We need to realize then that we have to take utmost care of our intention, making it as explicit as possible, and honing it to get engaged with its proper and ultimate object who is God.

We should try our best to shun being simply casual or cavalier about this responsibility. We can easily play around with it, since intentions are almost invariably hidden from public knowledge.*

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