‘He’s Just There’By Fr. Francis Ongkingco
Cebu Daily News
“DAAAD! Not agheeein!” Dianne gritted her teeth as she tried to calm herself down. [KLINK! CLANK! CLANG!] She began sweeping the mosaic of coffee stained kitchen utensils, broken ceramic cups and plates, grains of rice and chunks of half-eaten fried chicken and fish.
[SILENCE!] Dianne was biting her lower lip to keep herself from saying anything more. The tension was just too much that she couldn’t keep herself from crying.
“How much longer must I bear with this?” she whispered. [SNIFFLE]
“Mommy!” Arianne surprised her by suddenly entering through the backyard door.
“Honey, why do you have to always come in that way?”
“I wanted to check if my flower seedlings are already blooming,” she replied.
“But dear, you just planted them three days ago,” Dianne couldn’t help being amused.
“Hi grandpa!” Arianne embraced her grandfather. “You know what grandpa, I just planted some flower seeds. They’re your favorite CHRY… CHRYSAN…?”
“Chrysanthemums, Arianne,” her mother said.
“Oh yeah, those …thingies that you loved. When they grow, I will put them in a vase for your room.”
Dianne finally finished sweeping the mess on the floor. “Arianne, you had better prepare your stuff for our class with Fr. Diego.”
“That’s right, thanks mom!” Arianne embraced her grandfather and planted a kiss on his balding head.
* * *
“Aren’t you excited Arianne?” Dianne asked. “This will be your last class in preparation for your first holy communion this Sunday, the feast of Christ the King!”
“Yes, mama! Can grandpa come along too?”
“Ah…, I think it’s better he doesn’t. He’s not the same grandpa as
before. ‘Sides, we have to have him close to a washroom in case he has to go.”
“[SIGH!] I miss him,” Arianne said while looking at herself in the full length mirror while her mother fixed her hair and dress.
“Arianne, can I ask you something?”
“Why do you enjoy talking and being with grandpa when he can no longer talk to you or even carry you on his lap to play your favorite rodeo ride?”
“I guess ‘coz he’s just there, mommy.”
“What exactly do you mean, dear?”
“He’s just there quietly listening and maybe laughing and telling jokes inside.”
“You really believe that, honey?”
“Of course, mama. Why…? Don’t you?”
“Let’s go, we might be late,” Dianne evaded her daughter’s question.
* * *
“Well children, this is your last class before Sunday, your first holy communion,” Fr. Diego said. “Are you all ready to receive Jesus then?”
“YES!!!” the children replied enthusiastically.
“Okay, now let me ask you some more questions, just to make sure that you’re ready.”
The children eagerly raised their hands in the air. Fr. Diego, who was a cheerful priest, chuckled. “Now, now… Let’s not get too excited. You know that everyone will have his or her turn.”
Arianne beamed with joy and turned around to look for her mother who was seated with other mothers some pews behind them.
“Now, who can tell me why we should visit Jesus in Church and keep Him company whenever we can?”
The children started raising their tiny hands up.
“Because he’s lonely?” one girl said.
Yes… And you…,” Fr. Diego called another.
“‘Coz he loves us?”
“…aha, that’s good… And you Arianne?”
Arianne stood up and in a confident voice said, “Because He’s just there!”
“What do you mean, child,” the priest asked.
“That Jesus is just there for us. He can’t walk, he can’t talk… He’s just there. But he listens, he loves us and protects us.”
Dianne, who was attentively hearing all of this, began to cry. She simply brushed her reaction saying, “Oh, it’s nothing…I’m just emotional about Arianne’s first communion.”
Later on she confided that at that very moment she recalled our Lord’s words in Scripture, “/For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me/.”
It was then she realized how really close Christ was to her in the person and condition of her father.
* * *
The Year of Faith invites us to share our love, by finding and giving the presence of Christ to our brethren through the spiritual works of mercy (/instructing, advising, consoling, comforting, forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently/) and corporal works of mercy (/feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead/).
But all this is the natural overflowing of our faith deeply rooted in our Eucharistic piety and devotion. St. Josemaría taught us: “When you approach the Tabernacle remember that he has been awaiting you for twenty centuries. (/The Way/, no. 537)” Imagine what love is that weighs twenty centuries?
Let us never forget: “Jesus is just there, /for you, and only you/.”
Tags: Religion & Belief