The Numbers 75 and 100


Kuya Pons V., one of our most reflective speakers at PREX (Parish Renewal Experience) Seminars at my former parish in Marikina, is fond of injecting an analysis of numbers to spice up his talks. For example, If there are 10 participants in a PREX class, he could say that this is a very lucky class because 10 consists of the number 7, which is a lucky number in Judaism representing fortune and blessing, and the number 3, which is the number of Divine Persons in the Blessed Trinity. If there are 11 participants, he could add the number 1, which is that there is only 1 God. And so on . . .

When I turned 75 less than a year ago, I said to myself: Now I have reached the passing grade (for from grade school to college, our grading system was in numbers, not letters A, B, C, D, etc. Last week, when everybody at school was wishing each other “Enjoy your summer”, I asked Sr. Mary F., an elderly teacher, if she was going somewhere for the summer and she replied that she was going to another state to celebrate the 100th birthday of her mother. And she said she was still doing great.

Although in Old Testament Scriptures some of the patriarchs lived for over 800 years, Abraham lived 175 years and Moses 120 years. The Psalms are clear on the brevity of life: “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Psalm 90:10).

But it is not really the number of years we have lived on this earth that is really important. (In the first place because that is beyond our control.) It is how we have lived it. Some saints have left this world in their teens and some on their death bed when they could no longer move due to old age. And that is why the Church has always been making a “universal call to holiness.” And this call is much more than to get a passing grade, but a drive to be, with God's grace, the best of who we can be.

Every day is thus a day to thank the Lord, Who sustains us and holds us on the palm of His hands. Each day is a day of hope and joy, a looking forward to a longer life, one that will last not only more than a hundred years . . . but forever.

For as it is written:“What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Realizing this in humility and in joyous expectation is the mark of truly wise man.

And we do not want to be otherwise. #

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1:7

"Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." Isaiah 46:4

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