Monday, March 10, 2014

The Thrifty Ilocano

An Arab Sheikh was admitted to the Philippine Heart Center in Manila for a heart transplant, but prior to the surgery, the doctors needed to store his blood type in case the need arises. As the gentleman had a rare type of blood, it couldn't be found locally, so the call went out to a number of provinces.

Finally an Ilocano was located who had a similar type of blood. The Ilocano willingly donated his blood for the Arab. After the surgery, the Arab sent the Ilocano, as appreciation for giving his blood, a new Porsche, diamonds, jewelry and a million US dollars.

A few years later, once again the Arab had to go through a corrective surgery. His doctor telephoned the Ilocano who was more than happy to donate his blood again. After the second surgery, the Arab sent the Ilocano a thank you card and a jar of Almond halwa sweets.

The Ilocano was shocked that the Arab this time did not reciprocate his kind gesture as he had anticipated. He phoned the Arab and asked him:

"I thought that you would be generous again, that you would again give me a Porsche, Money, Diamonds and Jewelry...but you only gave me a thank you card and a jar of Almond sweets!" To this the Arab replied:

"Manong...I now have Ilocano blood in my veins."

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Parable of the Birds

“Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap”
8th Sunday in Ord Time A [Matthew 6:24-24]
Randy Flores, SVD 3/2/14

Once there was a farmer who was complaining that birds are eating the grains of his palay in his rice field; besides, the birds were creating a lot of noise and leaving a lot of dirt. He made scarecrows and other techniques to shoo the birds away, but to no avail.

One day he came to a church and decided to pray to God to send the birds away from his rice field. It happened that there was a mass going on and the priest was reading today’s gospel: “Look at the birds of the sky; they do not sow or reap, your heavenly Father feeds them.”

The farmer was upset to learn that it was God who was feeding these birds from his palay grains. So he complained to God and said: Dear God, please stop feeding your birds from my palay. I need a good harvest also to feed my family.

To his surprise, there were no more birds when he got back to his rice field.

But after some time, the farmer missed the birds, their chirpings, their noise that made his rice field alive. Come harvest time, even without the birds, he had a poor harvest.

So he went back to the church and prayed. This time he said,  “Dear God, with or without birds, I had a poor harvest,  you can send back your birds and let them eat in my rice field again. Besides, I miss their beautiful songs.”

So the birds came back; ate and sang once again in the farmer’s rice field.

The following year, the farmer had a bountiful harvest. He came to realize that the birds also ate the insects in his palay, and their wastes fertilized his rice field; besides, the he enjoyed the beautiful singing of the birds.

Jesus said in today’s Gospel:  “Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?

Are we not more important than the birds? Are we not more important to God more than anything else?

Words from the Prophet Isaiah (1st reading): “Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I [God] will never forget you.”

Let us NOT be afraid then of what the future holds for us for God holds our future; instead  let us always have hope in God; and be persons of big faith (vs. “oligopistoi” or “little faith” in Mat 6:30).