By Jan Odivilas
Cebu, 30 December 2021 -- Three days before typhoon Odette struck, the home of this poor tiny girl burned down with 50 other houses. Her parents were in fact trying to build a make-shift shelter from parish donations when they were told to move to the evacuation center because a typhoon was on the way. When the wind and rain calmed down and they walked back over muck and debris to their place, they realized that the little they had acquired had disappeared…. AGAIN.
The prophetess Anna in today’s Gospel was overjoyed to see the baby Jesus. I have to admit that my mind was somewhere else while I was reading the narrative during the mass. I had a roof over my head and had a good night’s sleep. I was thinking of the homeless little girl and another living, breathing prophetess who took her photo -- Mam Reggie. I’ve known her for more than 30 years. As a volunteer she has been in-charge of finding education-funding for poor kids in our parish, the Shrine of our Lady of Lourdes. Yet despite the many activities she runs, she extends her work by organizing relief work during emergencies like the recent calamity.
She was tired and her hair disheveled when I sat with her yesterday. But her face lit up when I said I was hoping she could help organize a relief operation for the families whose residences were burned. I handed her the donations we collected. Towards noon today, she called to tell me that she had bought all the dry goods and was with an army of volunteers filling 700 relief bags. She was up as early as 4am. The rest of the day will be a long one. This isn’t her first relief operation this month. And she knows that in the weeks to come there is a good chance she will be filling more bags. Her upbeat voice filled my heart. And I thank God for prophets like her. And I could only hope that she calls me again to tell me that she has put a smile on that little girl’s face and a brand new pair of slippers on her feet.