Luab: Come away to a deserted place'-A A +A
Saturday, February 16, 2013
LAST Feb. 13, we marked Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. The complete text of Mark 6:30-32 is: “Come away to a deserted place, all by yourselves and rest awhile.”
One whole year of work, anxiety, difficulties, ailments etc. can take its toll on every person. The Christmas season alone with all its hassle and bustle was hectic enough that by the time January ended, many of us just felt burned out. This Sunday is just the right time for us to be aware that we need to refresh our body and spirit so we can come closer to God.
When I was much younger, whenever Lent arrived, the first thought I had was: “What shall I give up as my sacrifice to offer to Jesus this Lent?” Usually it was a giving up of chocolates or soft drinks or refraining from going to movies for the entire season of Lent. To someone in high school, this was a very big deal.
Going to study at UP Diliman was one of the best things that happened to me. I met a great Irish priest Fr. John P. Delaney, who not only made me love the Holy Mass but made me understand what a beautiful relationship I can have with God. Fr. John reminded us that God does not need nor want our sacrifices. All God wants is love and obedience to His will.
As I grew older, I was so blessed because I met many beautiful people who mirrored God’s love, God’s footsteps in this world.
As I am writing this sharing, my heart is bursting with gratitude and with love because I know that God loves us so much. He is just waiting for us to come closer to Him.
So what can we do to come closer to God? What precious thing do we hold; do we idolize which could cloud our vision of God? Is it money? Do we constantly look at our savings or our funds and worry that we may not have enough for our comforts? Is it our struggle for a much desired promotion at the office that it is all we can think of? Is it the dream house we are saving for that occupies all of our attention? Or perhaps it’s the one person to whom we are attracted to and whom we are trying our best to get a modicum of attention back? (Such irony) Yet here is a God who is all love, all embracing ready to clasp us to his bosom!
Actually I’m not asking people to give up telenovelas like Be Careful with My Heart, or Ina, Kapatid, Anak, etc. or stop watching movies or playing friendly games of mahjong, bridge or canasta. Definitely not!
For me, Lent is not a season of somberness. It is not a season of do’s and don’ts. Rather, for me, it is a season of joy because I know Lent, is the time of coming back, of being welcomed by a forgiving God when we are able to reflect and to repent of the many weaknesses, many pains we have inflicted on our fellowmen and the many neglects of kindness we may have done either intentionally or unintentionally.
Let me cite just one example. At the junction of Foodarama, where the street lights are, so many people asking for alms knock on our car windows. My policy is never to give to a healthy male. A knock came on my window. Since his back was to me and he was using his left hand, I refused his plea for alms. Suddenly, the lights turned green and as he turned to walk away. It was only then that I saw that his right arm, from the elbow down, was missing. It was too late for me to call him back but up to this time I cannot forget the look of disappointment that he gave me. It would have been so easy for me to give him something. That was a hard-earned lesson of an omission of kindness.
Actually, I am glad Valentine’s Day came during the first week of Lent. A day full of outpourings of love is what pleases our God.
To all who gave love and received love, I can imagine the Lord fondly saying, ‘’that’s the ticket, my children, for the bus to my kingdom!’’
Lent is a time for us to truly reflect on where we can better our relationships with God, with our family and with our neighbors.
For the many times we took those relationships for granted, now is the time to make amends and to say, ‘’I’m truly sorry for neglecting you. I love you.’’
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 17, 2013.