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Homeward bound

The story is told about a frog who wanted to climb up to the top of the well where he could see the light, but as he did, all the other frogs kept shouting: “It’s impossible! Forget it! You won’t make it!”

But this frog just kept on going toward the light, and finally made it! How? Why? This frog was deaf.

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In today’s Gospel (Lk. 15, 1-3.11-32), the prodigal son made his journey back to his father when he stopped listening to what others were saying or would be saying, and finally listened to the voice within. That’s when he came to his senses and decided to go home to his father. Let not our goodness be drowned by the negativities, cynicism and distrust of people around us.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son is a beautiful story. More so is its message of hope. God understands our weaknesses. He understands our reluctance, our hesitation to repent because of our pride, insecurity, or hopelessness, but He does not give up on us. He waits for us and welcomes us back without conditions, ready and happy to celebrate our homecoming. Yes, God is loving, merciful, compassionate and understanding.

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On the other hand, the Parable of the Prodigal Son reminds us of our sinfulness, ingratitude and pride. Often, we go back to God because we have nowhere else to go, or because of fear, or just to play it safe, but no matter how shallow or impure our motives are, God accepts us unconditionally. What a loving God we have!

Based on the Parable of the Prodigal Son, let us be deaf to people who tempt us to worldly pleasures, or who tell us to value money over our loved ones. Or who tell us that we are no good and hopeless because of our sins. Or who tell us to just stay in the mud because we are already dirty.

A celebration, a feast! That’s how I would describe the going home of 19-year-old Maxine Blanco to the heavenly Father last March 23, Saturday (the day of Our Lady), at 3 p.m. (the hour of great mercy). So young, so beautiful inside and out, so full of joy and life, who lived life to the max!

Maxine was diagnosed with bone cancer in September 2018. Her left leg was amputated two months later, something which she faced joyfully, insisting that she walked and danced her way to the operating room! She did not listen to the voice of helplessness, hopelessness and self-pity. No, not this brave girl who, all her life, had wanted to make a difference in this world.

Maxine wanted to take up law. When asked why, her simple answer was that she wanted to help our country and our people. So young, so frail, but so full of idealism and dreams for our country, the Philippines. A very timely reminder to our politicians and government officials who continue to abuse and steal, so unkind to the youth’s hopes and dreams.

I believe in my heart that Maxine Blanco is a modern-day saint, a role model for the youth. Her last words to her younger siblings, Martha, Margaux and Marco were: “Help Mom and Dad,” embodying her deep love and gratitude for her parents, Miguel and Belle Blanco. Thank you, Maxine, for the love and the inspiration, to the max!

Please watch our interview, which we taped last Feb. 15, with Maxine in our Lenten TV special, “My Suffering is my Offering,” over ABS-CBN on Holy Thursday, 4 p.m. Also, in place of Maxine, her parents, Belle and Miguel Blanco, will share in our annual Palm Sunday recollection at the Meralco Theater on April 14, which will be televised over PTV 4.

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A moment with the Lord:

Thank You, Lord, for Your unconditional love which helps us find our way to Your heart, our real home and final destination. Amen.

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