Wanted and loved
Question: What is the difference between in-laws and criminals?
Answer: Criminals are wanted.
In today’s Gospel (Jn.14, 15-21), Jesus tells us how much He wants us: He wants us to keep His commandments; He wants to be with us always by sending us His advocate; He wants to live in us and be one with us; He wants to reveal Himself to us. In very clear terms, we are wanted and loved by God!
Goodbyes are painful, especially final and definite goodbyes, and the most painful goodbye is death. But for us Christians, even death is bearable because of the resurrection which gives us the hope of again meeting those who have gone ahead of us. Death is not the end of all our living and loving. Death is not final; it is not a definite dead end for us who believe in the Risen Lord.
Our faith also teaches us that even now, we enjoy God’s presence and unity with Him. To borrow lines from a song: “The truth is I never left you/ … I’ll keep my promise/ don’t keep your distance.” As we journey on, let us keep in touch with and draw strength, guidance and consolation from this God who wants so much to share His life and love with us.
It has been my practice all these years of priestly ministry to ask the bereaved family members the time of death of their loved one, and for them to make a prayer pact to pause wherever they are, and to pray at that time three Hail Marys, to be united with their departed loved one and with one another. It is a simple, meaningful and life-giving moment. Try it. Live it.
We have with us a gift given to us by the Lord to be with us always—the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. He is like a lawyer who defends us in battle, a comforter to assure and console us, an inspiration to help us on, and a coach to lead and direct us. If only we take the time to consult Him as much as we check our cell phones for messages and updates!
“In a little while….” How consoling these words are from our Lord. Remember how our parents said these very words to us their children when we were bored, impatient, afraid, or in pain? In a little while, all will be well. In a little while, we will meet again. In a little while, things will clear up, and we will be moving on again.
“I just want to say to you, whatever you are going through, whatever is ahead of you, I’m always one with you!” Words so full of love, hope, and promise from our beloved 92-year-old Mama before she died on Jan. 25, 2014. Words I hold dearly in my heart.
Mama’s brother, Tio Ben, died at the age of 100 in Toronto, Canada. He was such an inspiration and a significant person to his family, including his nephews and nieces. He had such a strong sense of mission, and a sense of heaven as his final destination. Here is one person who we wish had lived another hundred years because of his humility, kindness, and Godliness, which he radiated so joyfully to everyone he met. Until we meet again, Uncle Ben! Regards to Mama. Pray for us as we pray for you.
Tio Ben had many good traits but what inspires me most about him was his deep love for his mother, and his devotion to the Blessed Mother. This he passed on to his children and grandchildren. Even in his last days of discomfort and pain, he was always happy and grateful especially to his loving wife, Tia Betty, smiling at everyone, joyful that he was going to heaven, soon.
Tio Ben was a good storyteller. I remember how as kids we looked forward to his visits, not only because of the goodies he brought, but also because of the entertaining stories he told, and the meaningful lessons he taught. He was such a giving person. He loved much. And he was loved much.
May God give us the grace to make people feel wanted and accepted. May we not make people feel unwanted or rejected. Let us ask Mama Mary to help us become more hospitable, welcoming and kind.
Bantay Matanda invites you to a workshop on “Laughter Therapy” on May 27 at Tuklong ni San Jose, Christ the King Seminary, E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Quezon City, 9 a.m.-12 noon. For inquiries, please call 3732262; 9982548 or 09174167849.
A moment with the Lord:
Thank you, Lord, for always making us feel wanted and loved. Amen.
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