By Dr. Dencio Acop
I liked the priest’s homily last Sunday. It had been Grandparents Day too and Fr Marvin made a connection between the Pope Francis mandated holiday and the Genesis reading. The presider highlighted the virtue that God patiently exhibited to Abraham; when he repeatedly asked if God would still destroy Sodom along with the few good people living there. God remained patient and replied that He would relent from annihilating Sodom for the sake of the few good souls there. Of course we know from biblical accounts that God eventually destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah but only after the few good men and women had left. Fr. Marvin reflected that it is the same patience and calmness grandparents exhibit to their grandchildren. While parents are quick to discipline their children, grandparents are more tolerant perhaps due to their wider experience and knowledge. They manifest calmness which rubs off on the young providing reassurance and stability.
Relative to my earlier point, I do wish to clarify that it may be because of the good that God has stayed His hand from punishing our sinful world. We often question why God allows bad things to happen to good people while nothing untoward seems to befall the bad among us. To which the good priest made the opposing distinction between our selfish impulse towards immediate gratification and the more mature delayed gratification that is God’s timing. In fact, the logic of God is such a paradox that it his chosen, long-suffering few that sustains the sinful, lording it over many in this world. It is said that those among us who suffer the most in this life are actually those that are loved most by the Father in heaven. Why they? Because they can endure more that love God and whom God has chosen bearing their burdens however great. It is through the universal Eucharistic communion in the mystical body of Christ that the suffering few and love of Christ continually petition the Father for his calm patience over the rampaging sinful hordes.
My final random reflection is on gift. They say everything is and about gift. Love is undoubtedly the highest gift. And agape is love’s highest form of gift. There is no greater gift of love than us giving up even our lives for those we love. We pray for them. We do for them. And we use the gift of language to convey our deepest emotions to the ones we love. In one form or another. We Filipinos for instance have a tradition of always showing up with pasalubong or any token of material endearment. Something to mark an occasion or remember someone by. But I say nothing beats presence as the best gift one can give another. Showing up. It is the most honest of gifts I believe. It is self-giving. The gift of self. Any material gift to commemorate an occasion is simply this. To remember the people we love or care about most. To still be in their presence even in their absence. To never take for granted that being in their presence is forever desired. That any token after that is merely because of the absence of that most desired.