A LADY by the name of Irene recalls one particular day in her childhood. Her mama had a rough night due to a bad case of colds. Yet, the next day the wife bravely rose from bed and fixed breakfast: “lugaw” and “tuyo.” When Irene saw the poor fare, she threw a tantrum, but her papa calmly hugged her, rocked her for some time, and shared with her the very meager breakfast, smacking his lips with apparent delight. Irene could not but follow her papa’s example.
That night as her father tucked her to bed she asked him, “Papa, do you really love “lugaw” and “tuyo”? Irene caught a glint in his eyes as he answered, “Not really, but I love the woman, your mama, who prepared them!”
That example of simple but profound love stuck to her mind and proved to be the greatest lesson on love the young Irene would learn.
In his sublime hymn on love the Apostle Paul wrote: “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, and it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
We wonder if it still makes sense to speak of the wonder of love in these times. We are sad to learn of and even see abandoned street-children, battered wives, philandering and drunken or drug-crazed husbands, children who fail to respect much less support their elderly parents.
Our Lord sent by the Father who “so loved the world gave so that who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16) waxed ever so eloquently whenever he spoke of God his Father.
This awesome experience of love tempered the pains and the pangs of being rejected by his own people when he spoke in a synagogue at Nazareth. Sadly he told them , “No prophet is accepted in his own place.”(Luke 4:21)
Earlier, the prophet Jeremiah, entrusted with the task of speaking for God to the chosen people and faced with their fierce resistance, even rejection, bitterly complained: “You seduced(duped) me , O Lord, and I let myself be seduced(duped).” (Jeremiah 20, 7)
When asked whether it still makes sense to speak of love in seemingly loveless, hate-filled places, the answer comes from the Lord dying on the cross when he lovingly spoke to the Father on behalf of those he still loves, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”(Luke 23:34).
With that kind of love—ever patient and enduring—can we not accept things worse than the “lugaws” and “tuyos” in life?