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There was a time that Filipinos adored entertainment personalities – actors, singers, dancers, reporters – with American or European features.

The rest – flat nose, brown complexion, kinky hair, short stature, native-looking – can be famous as comedians or sidekicks, but not as lead actors or matinee idols or love teams.

But then today, many Filipinos are discovering the sheer talent, the exotic allure, and the unique features of truly Filipino-looking tv and movie personalities like Maine Mendoza (my favorite), Maymay Entrata, Marcelito Pomoy, Boy Abunda, Ryzza Mae Dizon, etc.

Finally, we have gone beyond skin-deep impressions to the inner nature of people around us.

And it is good; it’s a move in the right direction, as the first reading (1 Sam 16) will reveal to us today.

The Lord tells the prophet Samuel to look for the king he has chosen from among the sons of Jesse of Bethlehem.

Samuel goes and naturally gravitates towards one son who must have looked to him dignified, proper, dominant, strong and commanding. The Lord says no. Then other sons of Jesse were presented to him, and the Lord withholds his approval.

Finally, the Lord tells Samuel to immediately anoint, the youngest, who was handsome and splendid, too, but no one in his family every thought of becoming someone great. He anoints David, successor of Saul, and the greatest king Israel would ever have.

What is the reason for David’s twist of fortune and for Samuel’s confusion?

The Lord says: for man looks at the appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart.

How true this is for us today.

Do we not prefer to be seen with beautiful, rich, educated, polished people?

Do we not distance ourselves from the dirty, poor, ignorant, rustic folks?

God feels differently. He targets the human heart, the heart which he has made for himself!

In this Lenten season, the Lord will not be looking at how many prayers you say, or how much donations you bring, or how lengthy were the processions you joined, or how beautiful your altar is, or how faithfully you observed all your inherited traditions about repentance and penitence.

He will certainly look into

               The sincerity of your prayer

               The seriousness of your conversion

               The struggles you go through to be faithful

               The determination you have to rise up each time you fall

               The love you have for the poor and the needy

               The pains and yes, the triumphs of your efforts to forgive, to accept, to share

In the gospel, the Pharisees said that Jesus was “not from God.” The whole heavens would have laughed and roared at that remark!

People may not see you pious or religious or saintly. It does not matter.

God sees your heart.

This Lent, make an offering to the Lord, of your humble and sincere heart.

pls share…