From my earliest years, I have always been fascinated by you seeking to know better and love you more. Even before I was fully aware of the world around me, I had been wondering what you were doing in our house, seated on your throne as King. I wondered why we had to go to your house every Sunday, which in time I looked forward to doing with Ima, Tatang, my brothers and sister.
I have always loved words and playing with them. I thank you for the gift of my facility with words and ideas. From the time I could master words, it was your words that I memorized and captured in my heart: “Come to me all you who labor and I will give you rest.” “Learn of me because I am meek and humble of heart.” “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and suffer the loss of his immortal soul.” “If anyone would come after me; let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”
At a tender age, I tried to leave everything and follow you. I spent nine years in formation for the priesthood, years that I look back to now with gratitude and deep appreciation. But you led me elsewhere to be in your service. I have spent all of my working years in doing what you did most of your public life: teaching and healing. I thanks you for my fruitful careers in education and healthcare. I shared this work with the many wonderful friends and colleagues you have blessed me with. I have become a better person because of them.
You have blessed me with a family that I could not have imagined possible even in my fondest dreams. Your words have been our life. And I am amazed how you have made it possible to make the seeds of faith and love you have planted in me to grow so vibrantly in Jane and Jonathan. We talk about you with them very often. But I have a feeling they have better memories of you (from whom they came) than I have knowledge of you from my own feeble attempts to know and love you better. Please keep them safe, enfolded in the mantle of your grace and presence.
Am I spellbound by your words? Indeed I am. Your words have been my life. You are the Word of the Father whom I seek as my source and final destiny. You are the Word made flesh, sharing our humanity to make way for us to share in your divinity.
Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard.