Feb. 14, 2017

Valentine Call


My dear friends, I want to use this medium to wish you all a happy and blessed Valentine celebration. Sure, love is in the air today the world over. The elderly are watching, relieving their experiences of younger years. The young are excited, so many have earmarked different social activities to express their feelings for loved ones. Churches have set up programs to continue their push towards injecting Christian spices into the celebration. Secular organizations have set up strategies to promote their businesses and also commercialize those mundane definitions of Valentine. Whichever camp you might belong, one thing is clear about today; it is February 14th, the much orchestrated day for lovers. Everyone is singing, shouting, proclaiming and re-echoing the same wishes. That's awesome. 

One question that could be asked today is the same that Jesus asked his disciples after washing their feet, "Do you understand what I have done?" (Jn.13:12). Do we really understand what we celebrate on a day like this? Does love still mean the same thing as in the days of Jesus? Does it still convey sacrifice, compassion, support, affection, sympathy, respect for life, and all positive gestures of kindness? Or does it just mean sending beautiful text, Whatsapp or Facebook messages, GIF images, video clips and flowers of different colors on social media? Those gestures are wonderful expressions in themselves. They can only be meaningful if they convey the inner feelings of charity for one another. Secondly, they have to be ongoing and not just done this day because every other person is doing same.

In today's gospel, Christ warns his disciples,  "Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod" (Mk.8:15). The same could go for us. Watch out, guard against the popular notion of spreading empty love, the false and ephemeral actions that begin and end on Valentine day only. Guard against the exploitative mentality of the time. Spread love by being sincere agent of love. 

For the husband who has been unkind to your wife, let today bring that turn around attitude in your marriage. For the wife who has been nasty, let today reawaken and transform your feelings for your husband into positivity. For brothers and sisters who have spent days feeling hurt, let your love begin to be genuine and supportive henceforth. For friends, let the energy be channeled towards promoting mutual trusts and interests. Today can redefine your love. Today can open up new chapters in those strained and stained relationships. Think of doing good actions. Think of how best to encourage and motivate that person you claim to love. Think of what sacrifices you make in your relationships from this day forward. Only then would the messages, songs, GIF images and gift cards be truly VALENTINE. 

Again, I wish you all lots of love from the Family Apostolate.
Fr. Vin