EVERMORE (For Tiyo Didi, + Juan de Dios M. Pueblos, D.D., Bishop of Butuan)

Incessantly, the Sower sows seeds.  Indeed, some seeds may fall on fertile soil, some on rocky grounds and some on barren wastelands. But a few do not fall as they are meant to be sown in love’s oasis.  One of these exceptions is Tiyo Didi.  Now that he has left us, his flowers will remain blooming in the hearts of those whom his life has touched; of those whom he has served; of those whom he so dearly loved; and of those who love and treasure him as well.

No matter how you esteem his flowers or loathe at them, how you savor or abhor their scent, how you gather them for your own vases or share as bouquets, how you pluck each petal to foretell your own luck or just to fill your trash bin, how you tend them or wish them gone, his place in your heart will never be empty.  His flowers will keep on blooming in the plains, in the mountains and even in the valleys and deep gorges of your heart.  Come rain or shine, they will always bloom.

A divine blessing to fisher folks Jovito and Segunda Mataflorida, who also till the soil, Tiyo Didi lived true to his name – of being “of God.”  This Juan de Dios was one with God and in God as he offered his life to serve the church.  This was how he loved the people and all of creation.  And this was how he, a seed planted in love’s sanctuary, flourished to be a sower of God’s love and a fisher of lost men.

He sowed seeds of God’s wisdom and love in the hearts of the faithful, in the very core of families, of communities.  He sowed them, not as an authority of his church, but as a true servant of God.  He sowed them not just on fertile ground but even on rocky nooks and crevices where only a handful of dust settles and a flicker of light shimmers. He sowed them with all the hope in his heart.

He also cast his net of salvation to the deepest crannies of the seas even daring the waves of life’s stormy struggles.

But even as his duties took him to far-off fields and oceans, he always made it a point to be always connected with the oasis of love where he was planted – his family.  For him, his roots were equally important with his fruits.  Not only his pulpit was anchored on the family as the nucleus of love and compassion, his heart was too.

After having farmed well the Lord’s vineyard and profusely fished the seven seas for lost souls, his journey through the brethren to the Father has been fulfilled.

Even if some vine tillers refuse cognizance of his roots, claim to be of his vineyard and keepers of his trunk, we remain hopeful to find answers to these questions: Could a trunk be without the tillers of the soil where his seed first fell?  Without the sweat and tears of his kin, would his seed have sprouted, reached for the sun, bathed in the raindrops, harbor a crown of sprightly sprigs and hopeful leaf buds until his trunk is sturdy enough to withstand the tests of the times and bear fruits that make sweet wine?  Are they really of his vineyard?  Where then is the love and compassion brightly painted by the summers of his vinelets?

In the end, the Will of the Father surpasses all our longings.  Let it be.  We have all the reasons to rejoice for he left us blossoms bearing the true colors of life’s rainbows scented with the zeal of a true sower of God’s love and wisdom.  Our eyes are opened more. A sweet surrender, still we keep this.  Evermore.

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