April 21, 2024

42Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24)

13Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25)

Vigilance means watchfulness, attentiveness, and alertness. Vigil means night watch, watch, or wake.

I had been to many funerals and wakes where I daringly challenged gamblers to mend their ways. I recall reprimanding the gamblers in Sabangan, Bontoc, Sagada, Chapyusen, and Sacasacan. I was literally hated by the gamblers. I heard cuss words and labeling.

To watch for the dead is called vigil or wake to mean we go to the house of the deceased to pray for the dead and singand console the bereaved family.

People don’t go to wakes and funerals to disturb the solemnity of the wake. Gambling is disrespect to the dead and to the bereaved family. Gambling will never help in the salvation of soul of the dead.

Prayer will certainly assist the dead to attain salvation. Hence, we go to the wake to pray and not to gamble.

Gambling will always mean liquor. When intoxicated, the drunk will not respect anyone but cause public nuisance. Gambling is also an avenue for illegal drugs. This is testified by many drug surrenderers.

Gambling can provide the family with an amount of money called “tong”, but it is temporary and short-lived.

We must be reminded that when we die, the body corrupts but the soul will find its way to the next life and our prayers as a militant church will help. The gamblers’ money will surely provide a temporary relief to the economic needs of the family but the more important aspect of dying is trampled.

We must look beyond in order to actively participate in curbing gambling in whatever form. Gambling has been destroying marital relationship. It broke families. It trampled the dreams of the youth. It produced irresponsible parents. It led to other crimes such as robbery, mauling, and even murder.

Why do we need to pray for the dead? We read Judas Maccabees. 43He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. 44

For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. 45 But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore, he made atonement for the dead, so that they might be delivered from their sin.

One of the greatest grace is when we die in the state of grace.I challenge all pastors, priests, and government officials to collaborate to stop gambling during wakes and funerals.

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I humbly ask everyone to pray for Barangay Sacasacan, Sadanga, Mountain Province. For donations in cash and in kind, reach Rev. Fr. James Manilang, parish priest; and Punong BarangayThomas Pang-ay. Three days after the strong earthquake last July, Sacasacan started to sink and 18 houses are totally damaged.

Also, pray for Barlig and Barangay Mayag of Bauko, Mountain Province that were also affected by the July 27 quake.

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I congratulate Ricky Ducas for being one of the Outstanding Citizens of Baguio. If there is such an activity in Mountain Province, and if I have the authority to endorse, then I will not fail to nominate and choose Ricky too as an outstanding citizen in Mountain Province for his widespread advocacy on mental health. You had been an inspiration to many people. God bless you more.

Reach me at [email protected].