When I was young, my grandfather was fond of me. Over time, I got to love him and craved being around him. All we did was talk frivolously and laugh. He would tell me baby stories to keep me happy. And before you ask about my grandmother, she was a bundle of joy as well. She died some years ago at 90. My grandfather has since died at the age of 100.
As our bonding period progressed, I used to ask why he was not as fast enough as I was. He would tell me it was due to his age. I would run away from him and expect him to catch me, but he could not. Later, on as I began to grow older, I started to seek my independence away from him. He would call me, but I would hide. He would send me to do something for him; I would promise to do it but I would not. He would run after me, yet I always ran faster than him and hid. One day, he told me, “When you grow older, you will understand how old people feel about their grandchildren not listening to them.” Now I understand.
Jesus told us in the gospel the parable of a father with his two sons. The first son promised his father that he would work in his vineyard and he never went. The second son said he would not go but later went and did his father’s will. Among these two, who did his father’s will? The chief priests and the elders replied, “The first.” And Jesus concluded his parable by bringing out the lesson for all of us to see: “I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did.” They hardened their hearts and refused to believe.
That is the way of humanity. We always think that those family members working for our interests are unfair to us. The Prophet Ezekiel says, “When someone . . . turned away from all the sins that he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.” From this passage, we can see that God does not condemn us, we do. God does not justify us, we do. To live in two extreme conditions of life is a choice that we willingly make. St. Paul knew this and said, “Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others.” When there is no humility in the heart, you will place yourself as most important before others.
We all hate to be old but old age is a blessing. Old people are known to possess wisdom because they have experienced life in many dimensions. Now that I am older, I feel for my grandfather because my joints and muscles are not the same as when I was a teenager. I know why he used to be slow when running after me. No more baby stories. In her book, If You Ask Me, Betty White the American television icon wrote, “It is [old age] not a surprise, we knew it was coming – make the most of it. So you may not be as fast on your feet, and the image in your mirror may be a little disappointing, but if you are still functioning and not in pain, gratitude should be the name of the game.” It is natural for the body to start breaking down when aging begins to set in, but determination does not break. Does anybody love to age? No way! Because we love being young and doing what young people do, dislike aging. But remember, listening to older people gives you new perspectives toward obeying God’s voice. Disrespecting them is like shooting oneself in the foot; you will soon get old as well. God is speaking to you; do you have time to listen?
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