The story is told about a doctor’s waiting room filled with so many patients, some sitting, some standing, waiting for their turn which seemed like forever. At one point, an old man stood up wearily and remarked: “Well, I guess I’ll just go home and die a natural death!”
In today’s Gospel (Lk. 13, 22-30), Jesus reminds us about the final waiting for our entry into heaven. What will the Lord tell us then? “Welcome!” or “Depart from me, you evildoer!”?
May the Lord open the door for us then in His mercy, compassion and love.
Jesus reminds us also today that it is only through the “narrow gate” that we will be able to enter into His kingdom. The road to heaven is winding, difficult and narrow. There is another way that is wide, well-paved, easy and straight—straight to hell.
The rich and the powerful, the so-called “privileged” in this world, should not expect the same privileges in the next life. In other words, we cannot buy heaven. The final reckoning will be clean, honest, clear, and it will not be up to us, but it will be all in God’s wisdom, justice and love.
Neither can our goodness and whatever merits we have (or think we have) guarantee our entry into heaven. We must go beyond the concept of heaven as a reward, or a final destination. The presence of God now, in good or bad times, in grace or in sin, in happy or sad times, is already heaven, and, in itself, already our reward.
In humility, only in humility, can we understand who God is, and what heaven is. The proud and the confident belittle God and scorn heaven. On the same count, neither can the self-righteous claim exclusive access to God and heaven by virtue of their own merits. None of us is entitled to go to heaven.
Fr. Menardo “Bebs” Alcober, SVD, passed on last Aug. 19 at the age of 66 because of renal failure. Home is the missionary who worked for 23 years in Congo, Africa. Father Bebs and I were classmates since 1966 as minor seminarians in Christ the King Seminary, Quezon City. We had many basketball and singing moments, and memorable mission moments together. Till we meet again, dear classmate! Pray for us, as we pray for you. In basketball, and in life, Father Bebs specialized in the “fade-away” shot.
Father Bebs was always an active person. It must have been difficult for him to go through hours and hours of hemodialysis in his later years. He learned to wait. He learned to be patient. He mellowed down, and he learned to gracefully let go, and let God. Yes, shouldn’t we all?
I thank the Augustinian Recoletos (OAR) for giving me a first class relic (bone) of St. Ezekiel Moreno, OAR, which I gladly share now for the healing of the sick, especially those with cancer. In humility, I thank God for having experienced his fatherly intercession and healing. Yes, God has a plan in everything that happens to us. Let us learn to be patient, be calm, wait and trust in God’s mercy and love.
Aug. 27 is the feast day of St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine, who patiently prayed for her son’s conversion. St. Monica, pray for us to be patient, and to trustingly wait on the Lord.
Aug. 28 is the feast of St. Augustine, who reminds us that saints have a past, and sinners like us have a future. Patience applies not only to other people. Let us be patient with ourselves as well. God is not through with us yet. Each of us is a work in progress. Patience. Patience. Patience.
A moment with the Lord:
Lord, thank You for being patient with us. Help us to be patient with others, and with ourselves. Amen.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.