Philippine Daily Inquirer

Love one another!

- Fr. Jerry M. Orbos, SVD

THE STORY is told about a politician, campaignin­g from house to house, who chanced upon two boys who were quarreling over a P100 bill they found on the street. To settle the issue, the boys agreed that the one who tells the biggest lie gets to keep the money. “You know,” the politician told them, “when I was a little boy, whenever I saw money on the street, I did not pick it up or even touch it.” Whereupon the two boys looked at each other, handed the money to the politician, and said: “You win. You keep the money.”

In today’s Gospel (Jn. 13, 31-35), the Lord tells His disciples: “Love one another.” As we come closer to Election Day, more than ever let us listen to the Lord’s mandate that we love one another. This is the time when money and the “dirty tricks department” come to full use, when the only focus is to win by all means, by any means, at whatever cost, even at the cost of human lives. More than ever, let us listen hard to the Lord telling us: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”

Politics is a game, a dirty game, so they say. Okay. Fine. But don’t forget that games have rules, and rules must be kept. Otherwise, there would be disorder and chaos, and when that happens, it is the little ones who get the beating, and nobody really wins. Let us all vote wisely, and be vigilant, and pray for the sanctity of our votes.

If we play the game of politics using all sorts of tricks, then we should call it the game of “politricks”! And a politician is a “politricia­n”! Be reminded that the evil one is the master of tricks, deceit, lies and manipulati­ons. Let us pray doubly hard to our guardian angels these days to protect us and shield us from agents of darkness. May God, goodness and guts (not guns, goons and gold) win in the end. Time for more prayers, and more vigilance!

“Keep it low.” Remember how our parents and elders tried their very best not to quarrel or have heated discussion­s in front of their children? They tried to keep it low, so as to present a good example and not disturb the peace and wellbeing of the family. Compare that to what we have now. Full-scale, all-out public war—in all venues, with accusation­s, insults, tirades and character assassinat­ion! No matter what, we must not do away with basic respect and decency.

It is a sad commentary of our times, but the bottom line of politics, Philippine style, is money: He/she who has the money wins, and he/she who wins gets the money. Of course there are a few good men and women out there, lone voices in the wilderness, who are true and sincere. Kudos to them! May their tribe increase! Sad to say, they are the ones who don’t have the money, so they end up not winning, and the winners go on with the stealing.

Money talks. Money talks loudly, and when it does, the heart will find it hard to listen. “Love one another!” Try saying that in a situation where people are at the height of stepping on each other, shouting at each other, and shooting down each other! It is hard, maybe even absurd, but it has to be said anyway. The good news must be proclaimed. Gospel truths must be said again and again. We must believe that truth and goodness will triumph in the end.

In choosing who to elect, it is important that we know not only the candidates running for the various positions but also the people who are helping them on, because it is these people that the election winners will bring with them when they assume office. Money can make people deaf, mute and blind; money can bind their hands.

“Take care of your speech, purifying your language of offensive words, of vulgarity, and of decadent worldly expression­s” (Pope Francis). Tame that tongue! The tongue is a sword that can wound, a fire that can burn, and a worm that can spread virus and bacteria if left uncontroll­ed. May God bless our tongues to be of service to truth, kindness and praise.

The best place to start love for one another is in our homes and communitie­s, and in our relationsh­ips. The most basic elements for love to continue and grow are respect, trust and gratitude. If these are not present, then true love dies, and we just carry on, glide along, and just endure one another.

Think about this: “If things are meant to be, they will happen. It’s not destiny or luck, but God’s will. When we put our life and problems in God’s hands, He puts His peace in our hearts. So trust, trust more, trust much.”

Bantay Matanda invites you to a healthy cooking demo at Tuklong ni San Jose, Christ the King Seminary, E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Quezon City, on April 30, Saturday, 9 a.m.12 noon. For inquiries, please call 3732262; 9982548 or 0917416784­9.

A moment with the Lord: Lord, help us to listen to Your voice telling us to love one another in a world where there is so much anger, hatred, greed and distrust. Amen.

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