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Children are expected to respect their parents. Younger people are expected to respect their elders. The laity are expected to respect priests. The priests are expected to respect their bishops. And the principle is—the higher, the more experienced, the older, the more deserving of respect.
If we follow the same principle, then God is not expected to respect anybody because He is the highest. He is perfect. He is the oldest, so to speak, although He is beyond time. Following that principle, God owes no respect to anybody because He is the highest, He is the most that can ever be. And yet here is God, respecting a lowly handmaid of Nazareth and asking that handmaid, “May I?” Here is God who created the world, who sustains the world, stooping and showing an act of respect to a teenage girl and says to her, “Will you please?” If God were using Filipino, He would say, “Puwede po ba?”
Such love! You know, if there is any lesson that the Annunciation teaches us, it is that respect is not only to be given to the more experienced, to the older, to the higher or the one with greater authority. Respect must be given to everybody and the mark of a real Christian is that we are able to give respect. We are able to reverence even those whom society considers lower than ourselves.
If the Annunciation is to be a meaningful feast for us, isn’t it time for bosses to be more respectful to the janitors and for the employers to be more respectful to the yayas, to the helpers, and to the drivers? Isn’t it an act of Christian faith that we do not only show respect to persons, but also that we show respect to a tree that has been there for years, to the plants, to the dog, to the cat, to any animal?
I feel in my heart that there is no peace in the world because we have lost our capacity to show respect for everybody and for everything.
Love Like Jesus