I have interviewed a young man from Cotabato whose great attitude for life really amazed me. While struggles getting by are common in rural Mindanao, what surprised me is the great positivity that people like this young man have. Consider this: his parents trek across four rivers to reach their farm and they have to go to the river to get water. Their barangay is such that there are only a few people who have managed to get decent jobs in factories in this part of Mindanao. The others in the community content themselves with irregular jobs to make ends meet. Not to mention the constant threats to safety that conflicts have brought to the island. That is why, when he shared his life story with us during the interview, we were both sad and happy. Sad because of the realities happening in our country, but also happy because we have the chance to give him and his parents the chance to raise up their standard of living. He said that he’s praying to get the job, so that he could help his father who works in the farm, and his mother especially in her older years. In the Gospel, as he was on the way to Nain, Jesus saw a man who had died being carried out. He was the only son of his mother. When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity and said to her, “Do not weep.” He then raised the young man from the dead. Then Jesus gave the young man to his mother. (Lk. 7: 11-15) Jesus must have felt for the mother; this must have motivated our Lord deeply. Throughout the Gospels, we have been shown how loving Jesus was to his own earthly parents, most especially the Blessed Mother. His relationship with her was so rich, that even before he died on the cross, he entrusted her to St. John. It is a scene that is forever endowed in the Christian’s heart and mind. Our lives revolve around the quality of our relationships. When we have our families strongly supporting us and trusted friends who are there when we need shoulders to lean on, we can face any challenge and trial coming our way. Our relationships help us face life squarely; they also help us see things better. With family and friends, we can truly be happy in living our lives. A few days ago, Fr. Armand posted in Facebook, that “One of our greatest sins today is our refusal to be happy.” I totally agree with that line because happiness is a choice. The great moments of our lives, happy or sad, are markers wherein we should take control of. If we choose to cringe on these sad moments, we will lose precious time worrying things past and not learning on the lessons that these events offer us. We experience sadness when otherwise we should be having joy and completeness. Collecting these experiences of thriving in worry and fear will result to a meaningless, wasted life, which a lot of others in maybe more difficult circumstances would gladly exchange. We should live our lives to the fullest!
Aside from that, the Gospel also teaches us that we can restore the fullness of our lives if we direct our attention to Jesus. The readings point us to the fact that in our humanity, we are simply powerless over death. However, we should remember that our Savior Jesus Christ is the Lord and Giver of Life. He rescues us from death in order to make us live forever. Let us therefore change the way we look at death; we should rejoice and take courage that Jesus will save and empower us to live in eternity. After all, despite his innocence and freedom from sin, he choose to die so that we may have life. “I praise you, Lord, for you raised me up.” (Ps. 30: 2)