I Need You More Now

    A friend of mine has a daughter who is a lawyer. She lives a considerable distance from him. Months had passed since he had seen her. He is not a well man, and every day is precious, so he called to ask when she might visit. The daughter detailed a list of reasons that prevented her from taking the time to see him: her court schedule; meetings; new clients; research, etc. At the end of her recitation, the father asked, "When I die, do you intend to come to my funeral?" The daughter's response was immediate: "Dad, I cannot believe you would ask that! Of course I will come." To which the father replied, "Good. Forget the funeral, and come now. I need you more now than I will then."

    A single mother who raised her only child, lavished all her love on the girl, and spent her health and wealth, time and talents on the child's upbringing. But the daughter dated and married a drug addict, against her mother's warnings and wishes. She was a well-employed girl. She never cared to visit her mother though she lived not far away. So on her deathbed the mother instructed her attorney to cremate her body and to scatter the ashes at the street of her daughter's residence. He enquired why. The mother said: "Then I will be able to see my daughter visiting me every day!"

      These two stories reveal two bothering issues at this time. In today's society, children don't have time to visit their parents frequently. They often use the excuses that their work load or other reasons prevent them. Some occasionally find time to make phone calls. Elderly parents feel lonely and crave to see their children. Further, some children don't value their parents' advice nor do they care for them. They don't realize how much the parents have sacrificed in raising them and giving them all that they need.

    These days, many of the younger generation live far away from their parents causing them only to see each other occasionally. When I talk to some elderly people who live alone, they say "I am ok." But it is visible on their face that they are craving to see their children.

      A woman once told me that after the death of her husband she felt lonely. She said that none of her children were coming home for Christmas that year. She was disappointed and thus locked up her house and stayed alone all day. The younger generation needs to realize that food and other basic things are not enough for their parents. Elderly people need something more. They need our presence, our time and our love. They need to be touched and reassured that they are not forgotten.

    A family includes the elderly. They are the treasures to the family as well as to society. A society or community that does not value, respect and care for its elderly members doesn't have a future because it has no memory, it has lost its memory.

    This weekend the Church celebrates the feast of Holy Family: Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Church presents to us this family as a model family to look up to for inspiration and guidance.

In the Service of the Lord,

  Fr Thainese Alphonse


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