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The Word, The Truth

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Homily for Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter, 13 May 2022, Jn 14:1-6

I’ve always wondered about an expression that is commonly used in Filipino English. It is supposed to be a discreet way of asking a woman if she is pregnant. Like: “Are you by any chance ‘on the way’?” In Taglish, they’d say, “On the way ka ba, kumare?”

I did not know until lately that it was wrong; the correct English expression is supposed to be, “Are you in the family way?” And it looks like it’s not even used anymore in most English-speaking countries. People nowadays simply ask, “Are you expecting?”

But honestly, the Pinoy English adaptation might actually be a better one. After all, the English expression “in the way” is usually more negative. As in “Hey, step aside or move over. You’re getting in the way.” Meaning, you are an obstacle to my path. Although the original English expression surely did not mean that, we know that there are circumstances in which some people would rather think of a pregnancy as an obstacle.

Our Gospel today would probably be more comfortable with the Pinoy English version of that expression, “on the way”, than “in the way.” Jesus is talking about a future that awaits us, that seems to be closer to the idea of being “on the way” in the Pinoy English sense of being in a process of birthing. Remember how he also tried to explain this to Nicodemus in Jn 3: “No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”

In the first reading, Paul is talking about the resurrection of Jesus being brought to fulfillment for us. He is quoting Psalm 2,1 for this, which sounds like an expression of a father who could not contain his joy on seeing his child being born into this world, “You are my son, today I have begotten you!”

This is a consoling piece of good news for people who go through the painful episodes most pregnant women experience. It is what Paul is also saying in Romans 8:18-19

“I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us. For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God…”

Then, in Romans 8:22-23, Paul continues, “We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”

Christianity allows us to imagine Jesus who has passed from death to risen life as the firstborn of many more sons and daughters of God still in the process of birthing. It is a narrative that allows us to see beyond the painful episodes and actually look forward to a better future with hope, in joyful expectation.

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Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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