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Giving and forgiving.

The story is told about a little boy who went up to the priest after the Mass and told him: 'Father, I would like to give you my allowance money which I saved this week.' Quite surprised, the priest asked him, 'Why?' The boy, almost in tears and full of pity, said: 'That's because my father said to me during the Mass that you are a poor preacher, the poorest one we ever had'

In today's Gospel (Lk. 15, 1-32), Jesus tells us the parable of the Prodigal Son.

The central figure of the parable is the loving father, so full of mercy and compassion, pity and understanding. May we become more like him in a world that is so full of anger, hatred, arrogance, violence and killings.

Let us ask ourselves today: 'Is God, our loving Father, pleased when He looks at us and sees what is happening in our world, in our country, in our families, in our lives? Is the Father looking at us, nodding His head with a smile? Or is he looking at us, shaking His head in disgust?

The word 'prodigal' means profuse, lavish, immoderate, or excessive, connoting generosity. Someone said that the prodigal son took after his own father. Aelred Rosser says: 'It is the father who is excessive and extravagant and immoderate, anything but frugal with his forgiveness and mercy.' The father is generous in his forgiveness, in calling for a feast for his prodigal son, and even in pacifying his older son. Yes, we still have so much to learn from God, our loving Father, in terms of goodness and generosity.

Are you a peacemaker? If so, congratulations. You are like our loving Father. It is not easy to be a peacemaker. It is difficult to be in the middle of two opposing sides. A peacemaker can be hit by one or both sides. A lot of peacemakers risk being hated, risk becoming unpopular, or risk being misunderstood and misjudged. It's difficult, but we must go on being peacemakers, anyway.

Pope Francis is very much like our loving Father. He reaches out to prodigal sons and daughters in mercy and compassion. He also challenges the so-called righteous older brother or sister to be more merciful, compassionate, and understanding. Here is a Pope who thinks out of the box, and even out of structures. He gives comfort to the last, the least and the lost, and he disturbs the righteous, the well-placed and the elite in the Church.

At one funeral Mass I had last week, I was surprised when a 12-year-old boy stood up and, in between sobs, delivered a touching eulogy for his grandfather. Duduy told the assembly about the lessons he had learned and the love he had received from his grandfather. He was so eloquent and natural, that he delighted everyone, including myself, so much so that I told him he would make a good priest someday. And to my further delight, he said yes! Praying for you, 'Father Duduy!'

Rosben Ogbac, an XVD (ex-SVD seminarian), went to the wake of Benny de la Luna at the Don Bosco Church last week. On his way home with fellow XVDs Dante Magdangal, Sammy Yap, and Jules Quinabo, together with Fr. Romy Castro, SVD, Rosben suffered a heart attack. He was rushed to Makati Medical Center and died about 10:55 p.m., after 30 minutes of efforts to revive him. He was 71 years old. What touched me was how this band of brothers took care of Rosben, and took turns being with his remains until the next morning when his family members finally arrived. These acts are really pleasing to God, our loving Father.

Let us learn to be kinder, more thoughtful, and more considerate toward one another. Let us learn to go the extra mile and to give the extra smile to our brothers and sisters. We can never love enough. Like our loving Father, we must become more loving, more understanding, more giving and more forgiving.

Think about this: 'Poor people are more generous because they know what it is like to have nothing.'

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help us to become more merciful, generous, compassionate, giving and forgiving, like You. Amen.
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Sep 11, 2016
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