Let us review the parable. The first son was poor with words, but he was good in action. The second son was good in words, but he was poor in action. There is no third son. A third son would have been poor in action, poor in words, poor in thoughts, and poor in everything. Plainly said, he would be bad in everything. There is no third son in the parable because such a creature does not exist. In every one of us, there is always something good. We do not always see it. We do not always want to look at it. We are a people who look more at the hole of the donut rather than at the donut itself. We are a people who prefer to look at the stain rather than to look at the whole picture which is nice and clean. There is no one who is completely bad. There is no one who is completely a sinner. There is no creature called devil incarnate.

The greater the sin, the greater the grace. Was it not St. Paul who said, “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more?” Where the crisis is so bad, the opportunity also becomes very good. When the temptations become so strong, holiness also becomes a strong call. There is none among us so bad that there is nothing good in him. In all of us, we can always find a golden nugget of goodness, no matter how wretched and sinful we may be.

I must admit that when I was younger, I was a man in a hurry. I was a man in haste, I was impatient because I always thought time was gold. Time that is lost, gold that is lost, will never be recovered. Now, as you know, I am 42. I am not a spring chicken anymore. I am not a young priest any longer. I am not young as a man anymore. My miter hides my gray hair but it is there. The signs of aging are appearing. But as one can see, I don’t wear glasses, neither do I wear contact lenses. I am not shortsighted, I am not farsighted. I am not myopic. Certainly, I have no cataract. But at 42, I have become wider sideways. I think I have started to see things in better perspective, and have started to see things according to the perspective of God. And to look for the best, to look for the good in the most wretched sinner, is to see as God sees.

That is my birthday wish today — to see as God sees, to see the best in everybody, and to see the good things in the very worst, and to see the big opportunities in the most serious crisis.

Mt. 21:28-32
September 28, 2002
Edsa Shrine

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