Times have indeed changed! PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 25 April 2018 12:53



THAT’S, of course, an understatement. As someone said before, change is the only permanent thing in this life. That might be a bit stretched, but, yes, just the same it contains a lot of truth.

I say this because the other day I had this amusing experience of being seated in the plane between an elderly woman, at least 70 years old according to my estimation, and a young boy of about 9 or 10 years old.

The woman, already with grey hair, was wearing denims with several tears in them, much like what you see among the millennials.

And the boy, so small and looking innocent yet, already was wearing earring on his left earlobe.

Then, in another occasion while doing my brisk walking in a park, I saw a pair of young ladies who looked decent enough and the type that I usually see working in places like Jollibee or 7-Eleven.

But they wore shirts that shocked me. Printed on their shirts were the words “I (heart) sucking head.”

I immediately thought if there was another, more acceptable meaning to those words than what I know. I must confess that I was bothered for the rest of my exercise. Did they know what those words meant, I asked myself. Flashing through my mind was the thought that I am getting to be a stranger to the places I usually find myself.

Indeed, times are changing, and with them, many other things are, too. I have to make adjustments in the way I see and judge things. I know this should be an abiding concern, but sometimes I feel like I have neglected this duty.

Yet, in spite of all these observations, I took pleasure in what Pope Francis said recently to those aspiring to become priests. He told them “not to be scared of young people and of tattoos” and to use these tattoos as a talking point to encourage dialogue. He said that even behind the things that are not so good, there is something that will bring us to some truth.

That is, of course, a good idea. St. Paul told us that we have to be all things to all men to be able to save all. (cfr. 1 Cor  9,22) And Christ, of course, is the prime example for this.

We have to understand though that we can only live that ideal if we are truly identified with Christ. Otherwise, there is no other way but for us to ignore others, to find it difficult to adapt ourselves to others, or worse, to be scandalized and be influenced by them instead of us influencing them for the good.

Toward this end, we cannot exaggerate the need for us to truly be with Christ all the time. This will also require of us to live a certain healthy detachment from our own ways and style of doing things, of our own culture and tradition.

In other words, we have to learn how to transcend beyond the many conditionings we are subject to, no matter how legitimate they are, because these conditionings do not have the exclusive ownership of what is right and proper to us.

In this regard, we have to be most careful to distinguish between what is really essential and not in our human dignity as persons and children of God. And we have to remember that even in the essential things about us, there can be several ways and forms of living them out legitimately.

The essential things need not be lived in a uniform way.

There can be a great variety of living them. Obviously, we need to be most discerning so that we do not end up compromising these essential things.

We have to learn how to be adaptive and flexible without sacrificing what is essential in our dignity as a human person and a child of God.