Quality time


The story is told about a man who was so scared and nervous during his first plane ride.  The man beside him suggested that he get a glass of whisky from the flight attendant. Which he did and which he downed in one gulp. When he asked if he could get another one, the man beside him pointed out to the button above his head and told him to press it if he wanted another drink, whereupon he stood up and pushed the button and held his glass underneath.

* * *

In today’s Gospel (Mk. 13, 24-32) Jesus speaks about the events that will unfold at the “end times” which can make us nervous and scared. But instead of focusing on fear which could paralyze and even overwhelm us, our focus should be on trust and hope.  Instead of looking on the gloom and the doom, we should look forward to our salvation and our going to our eternal home.

* * *

There are people who continuously and ardently communicate with me about the end of the world. Beyond global warming, they passionately and religiously tell me about the great “warning” that are unfolding before us right now. While I appreciate and do not belittle their sense of urgency on this matter, I simply say, what can we do, mortals as we are? Rather than be gripped with fear, or be preoccupied with “I-told-you-so’s,” I’d rather focus on what we can and should do in the here and now. The message is not so much about catastrophes and destruction as about God’s love and concern for our conversion and salvation.

* * *

Make no mistake about it—there is an end time. On the personal level, we must accept our mortality. Life is short, death is certain. No matter what we do, we cannot prevent our aging and dying, not to mention the unpredictability and suddenness of death. In view of these, we can go Epicurean and say, “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die,” or go Christian, and say, “Love now and be ready for eternal life.”

* * *

Instead of focusing on what could or what might happen, why not just be grateful and trusting? “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself! Sufficient for the day is its own evil” (Mt. 6, 34). If time is short, then let’s go for quality time! Instead of constantly calculating or counting, why not indeed concentrate on living and loving, one day at a time?

* * *

Remember the story about a proud student who was asked by the teacher: “Do you know the answer to the equation 5 + 5?” The student replied: “What an easy question—10!” Whereupon the teacher said: “The correct answer to my question is a simple ‘yes.’” Also in life we need not know all the exact answers. Sometimes there are even problems to which we have no solutions. Indeed, many times all we need is a simple “yes” to life, and to God’s will in our lives.

* * *

Last Nov. 16, our group which had a pilgrimage to the Shrine of our Lady of Piat in Cagayan, experienced what it was like to be waiting in suspense for our return flight to Manila. At the pre-departure area, we were told that the plane was already in the vicinity.  A few minutes later, we were told that it was circling around the airport trying to land. Imagine our concern and anticipation. Finally the announcement was made that our flight was cancelled because the plane had to go back to Manila as it was unable to land due to cloudy and rainy weather conditions. That final announcement ended all our hopes and anticipations in a definitive way, but it was also taken by the passengers in different ways—some angrily, some obediently, some complainingly, and some matter-of-factly.

* * *

How good it is to have real friends when we experience delays or trials in life. We were able to make it back to Manila via Laoag on the same day because of the generosity and help of our Tuguegarao friends like Digna Lim, Gen. Jeff Soriano and many more who literally went out of their way to help us. What made the difference also was the positive and bright attitude of my companions who took everything in stride prayerfully, joyfully and willingly. What a difference our friends and faith make in our lives!

* * *

It is always good to see the “big picture” as we go on in life. Let us remember: Life is a journey with a beginning and with an end; life is short; life is a mission; we have a final destination; we are not alone in our journey; we have companions; we have a God who is with us all along.

* * *

The 25th Eucharistic Congress previously scheduled on Nov. 24, 2012, at the Pink Sisters’ Convent in Doña Hemady Street, Quezon City, has been postponed. A new date will be announced as soon as possible.

* * *

Bantay Matanda invites you to a lay forum on the Aspects of Aging on Nov. 24, 2012, at the Janssen Hall of Christ the King Seminary, E. Rodriguez Sr., Quezon City, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. For inquiries, please call 373-2262/998-2548/09174167849.

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, instead of fearing the coming end time, help me to now live a life of quality time. Amen.

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Tags: Fr. Jerry M. Orbos , Gospel Catholic Church , Moments , opinion , Quality time , Religion , SVD

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