Philippine Daily Inquirer
Love, love much, love true
*** Note that in today’s Gospel, Jesus goes to great lengths to discuss love of neighbor. Why? Well, the mandates to love God and to love oneself, as it were, are “easy” to comply with. But to love other people? Well, that is easier said than done. In fact, of the three mandates, love of neighbor is where love needs most to be concretized. Love God? No problem. Love myself? No problem. Love the whole world? No problem. Love the person next to me? That’s the problem! THE STORY IS TOLD ABOUT A FILIPINO SON who e-mailed his filthy rich father: “Dad, I feel ashamed going to school in my latest Mercedes Benz here in Berlin while all my classmates come to school by train.”
A day later, his rich father e-mailed back: “Son, stop embarrassing us. I have already deposited in your account enough money to buy you a train. We love you, okay?!”
*** In today’s Gospel (Lk. 10, 25-37) Jesus emphatically tells us to love God, to love our neighbor and to love ourselves, in that order. Those who love themselves and only their loved ones are on thewrong side of the Kingdom of God. Those who love themselves, as our story above shows, are focused always on the “I,” “Me” and “Myself.” Jesus tells us today to love, to love much, and to love true.
*** Last week, driving back to the seminary after a long and burdensome day, just when I sighed, “Lord, why all these trials?” I saw a big billboard that read: “God is working in mysterious ways. Never give up!” At that very moment, the Lord addressed my questioning, and lifted upmy burdens. Oh yes, God’s love is real. If only we let Him speak to us, and if only we listen!
*** Are there people who are “thorns” in your life? One way of dealing with them is to think of them not as hopeless, permanent thorns. Think of these thorny people as potential roses. In other words, you must open yourself to the possibility that they can change, and if that is not possible, you can change your negative attitude towards them. Try it. Why gather thorns along the way when you can gather roses in your short journey through life?
*** Are there people who are “roses” in your life? Praise God! However, be careful, because these roses can also become thorns if you do not handle them with care. What a waste to let go of your roses just because you lack sensitivity, appreciation and gratitude towards them. Try it. Continue to gather and keep your roses as you go through life.
*** Yesterday a devastated mother who lost a 21-year-old son came to me for counseling. To lose a loved one is painful enough; more so, to lose a loved one who committed suicide. What does one say? There isn’t much really, except to trust and believe in God’s understanding and infinite mercy.
*** For those contemplating committing suicide, please don’t! If you cannot be kind to yourself, at least be kind to the people you’d leave behind, and who’d live with your selfish and cowardly exit for the rest of their lives. Respect and love for God, the giver of life, require that you do not take your own life. Respect and love for your loved ones require that you don’t burden them with countless and empty “whys” after you’re gone.
*** Today’s Gospel tells us to follow the right path—the “ in the words of President Noynoy Aquino. We’re on a journey. We can choose what road to take. We can stop, we can take the byways or highways. We can choose to go slow or to go fast. We can even choose to turn left or to go back but, whatever, the challenge remains for all of us to choose the road Jesus has pointed us.
*** I wonder how people who have stolen, cheated, manipulated or even eliminated other people, especially “the last, the least, and the lost” among us, feel at the end of the day, at the end of their lives? (Or do they still feel at all?) The thought that other people have been hurt and affected because of one’s greed and pride will be a very heavy load to carry in one’s heart down to the grave.
*** We all will come face to face with God someday. My fervent hope is that when that moment comes, we will be able to humbly say: “Lord you know me, and you know that in my lifetime I also tried to love you with all my heart, with all my being and with all my strength. Have mercy on me, Oh God, a sinner!” Amen!
*** Think about it: “The heart is a fertile place. Anything planted there, whether love or hatred, will grow for sure. You decide what to harvest.” And for a peaceful life, remember: “The result of anger is more painful than the reason of anger.”
*** We will have a Healing Mass this Tuesday, July 13, 2010, 7 p.m. at the Garden of the Divine Word (1101 E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Quezon City). Fatima Soriano will also be present. Scapulars will be imposed after the Mass. For inquiries please call 7217457; 4107509; 4104610.
Lord, help me to love, to love much, and to love true. Amen.