Love Knows No Protocol

December 03, 2008

“…My heart is moved with pity for the crowd…” (Matthew 15:32)

I can still remember very clearly that scene at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. 

The old man, flanked by his security escorts, lumbered his way down the flight of stairs from the aircraft. The frantic crowd was mesmerized by his sheer presence. The TV crew readied itself for an interview of a lifetime. Flashing bulbs. Tear-filled eyes. Waving banners.  

This was 1995. And on the tarmac was the most controversial and most loved human being on the planet during those times: Pope John Paul II.

His visit to the Philippines moved my heart. What he did on the airport that day, however, brought tears to my eyes.

The security could not stop him. Decorum could not prevent him. Protocol could not limit him. Despite the protests of his escorts, he did the unthinkable.

As he descended the flight of stairs, he saw a group of dancing children behind the cordon which separated him from the welcoming crowd. At this sight, the saintly pontiff broke the phalanx of escorts, cut through the cordon and embraced the children. It was a sight to behold.

Today, I wonder what moved him to do what he did. I could only surmise.

Perhaps it was the same reason which moved Jesus to perform the miracle of the multiplication of loaves in today’s gospel. Most likely, it was the same reason which also moved the Father to send his only Son to be born on a manger on the first Christmas night.

His heart was moved, strong enough to break all protocol.

“…My heart is moved with pity for the crowd…” (Matthew 15:32)

On the first Christmas night, the Father broke all decorum just to embrace His children with the greatest expression of His love: the birth of Jesus.  God wasn’t supposed to do that. God wasn’t supposed to stoop down to our level. God wasn’t supposed to enter time and be bound by it. God wasn’t supposed to suffer for 33 years the temporal consequences of sin (e.g. pain, loneliness, poverty, sadness, fear etc.). God wasn’t supposed to allow himself to be contained and limited by human flesh. No, it’s wrong. It’s unthinkable. It’s irrational.

Guess what?

That’s exactly what God did. For the sake of humankind. For all of us. For you. For me.

Believe it, dear friend. Love knows no protocol.

In Christ,


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