Why not take out of the world?
John and Daisy have been married for about 15 years. They have a daughter and two sons. One of the things that made them lose their good sleep was the worry about a tendency to be addicted to video games they saw in their sons. Nowadays, kids seem to be prone to this kind of addiction easily. John and Daisy had seen negative consequences related to this addiction. For example, their eye health got weakened; their lack of physical movement tired the body; their concentration in study became difficult; their ability for social interactions also became more difficult; particularly, the tendency to become violent in their behaviors was alarming. To cope with this situation, John and Daisy decided to put the computers in the living room and allowed their children to play only one hour of game each day. Although they loved their kids and wanted to please them, they thought about their future and decided to apply this discipline to their family life.
One day, while attending Sunday Mass, their second child named Tom asked the father:
“Why is there only one God but Three Persons?”
John was surprised. He looked at Daisy. A basic question of the faith, but how to give a good answer to Tom? They both felt unready.
But thanks to this question of their son, Daisy discovered a new method of education for their children. She said to her husband:
“Honey, kids often ask ‘why’ because they love to explore. Then why don’t we help them by creating a holy game that starts with the word ‘why’?”
“A holy game?” It was the first time John heard that term. Interested, he said to her: “Honey, could you give me an example?”
Daisy replied: “For example, we can look for questions about the faith and ask them why. Who can find the best answer will be rewarded.”
“Good idea! Let’s try it.” John showed his enthusiastic support.
From then on, each time before going to Mass, they spent some time looking at the readings and tried to find a ‘why’ question for their children. This helped the kids focus more during Mass because they wanted to figure out the answer. Then one Sunday during the Easter season, while the family was waiting for the bus to go to church, Daisy told her children:
“Today, in the second reading, Saint John talks about the boundless love of God; but in the Gospel, Jesus prays to the Father that he does not ask the Father to take the disciples out of the world. In this case, the world represents a place of suffering, persecution and danger to them. Obviously Jesus loves his disciples very much, but why doesn’t he want to take them out of this place?”
The bus came. They got in the bus. The three children were excited, thinking about the reward. The two adults were also excited about hearing the answer from their kids because this question was not easy.
At Mass that day, the three children paid close attention to what was going on, especially the homily of the priest, to see if they could get some hints to answer the question. However, the priest only preached about the desire of Jesus that all might be one in love. Though they did not find what they were looking for, they still had some time before dinner when the family often discussed the holy game.
That afternoon, they went together to visit Mr. Dave next door. His wife had passed away about four months. He must have been sad to be alone. Having them at his house, he was so glad! While being there, the eldest sister of the three, Joyce, asked him about his idea on the question, but she did not mention about the reward part. Mr. Dave explained to them. Their face suddenly became so cheerful!
Dinner time came. The family got together. The youngest son, Bryan, had his turn to pray before meal. No sooner had he finished his prayer than he said: “Mom, I know the answer already!”
John and Daisy looked at each other, feeling proud of their little son. Daisy rubbed his head, saying:
“My son is great. Eat a little bit and then tell us your answer.”
He took a big spoon of food that filled his mouth. He wanted to eat and talk but he remembered his parents’ words that one should finish the food in one’s mouth first before talking. After swallowing that food, he said:
“Jesus did not ask his Father to take the disciples out of the world because He had a good reason to do that.”
“What reason is that, my son?” John asked.
Bryan gave his older brother Tom a wink with his eye who in turn said:
“Jesus wanted them to stay back in the world so they could continue his mission.”
John and Daisy looked at each other again. Surprised and happy. Tom then gave his sister a wink as a signal for her to talk. She said immediately:
“That mission was to be witnesses of Jesus by loving one another. When people saw them love one another, they would recognize the Lord and believe in Him. So the world would be transformed and receive salvation.”
The parents listened with their mouth wide open. The kids high fived one another. Obviously, this was a team success. The parents also celebrated the success of their holy game by high fiving each other and their children. It was the success of the family.
After cleaning the dishes together was the moment of proclaiming the winner and the prize. Daisy cleared her throat, saying: “Today, you did an excellent job in finding the answer. Even more wonderfully, you worked together as a team. Bravo! We are very happy. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! So we decide to reward all of you with your favorite Italian ice scream, and each of you will be rewarded with one more hour of game this week.”
The three children shouted “Oh yeah” and jumped up with joy. Suddenly the youngest boy Bryan stopped and turned to his mother, saying:
“Mom, can you also reward Mr. Dave? He explained the question for us this afternoon.”
“Of course, my darling.”
Tom also said: “Ah mom, he told us one more thing: all of us are disciples of Jesus.”
His sister Joyce gave a conclusion: “Therefore, if the Lord has not taken us out of the world, it’s because He still needs us here to carry out a mission.”
John and Daisy looked at each other, again. Sometimes happiness is that simple. John told everyone:
“Let’s go visit Dave and give him a reward, too!”
Joseph Viet, O.Carm.