5th Sunday of Easter –May 15, 2022

SYNDROME

✔ By syndrome (as in agape syndrome) we generally refer to a pattern of symptoms that characterize or indicate a particular social condition. In pathology and psychiatry (as in Williams syndrome), a syndrome is understood as a group of symptoms that together are characteristic of a specific disorder, disease.

WILLIAMS SYNDROME

✔ Williams syndrome (WS or WMS; also Williams–Beuren syndrome or WBS) is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder caused by a deletion of about 26 genes from the long arm of chromosome 7. It is characterized by a distinctive, “elfin” facial appearance, along with a low nasal bridge; an unusually cheerful demeanor and ease with strangers; developmental delay coupled with unusual (for persons who are diagnosed as developmentally delayed) language skills; and cardiovascular problems, such as supravalvular aortic stenosis and transient hypercalcaemia. The syndrome was first identified in 1961 by Dr. J. C. P. Williams of New Zealand.

(see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williams_syndrome)

Isabelle’s Fearless Love

✔ Meet Isabelle, eight years old.  Isabelle can’t stop loving you, or anyone else for that matter. She has a rare genetic disorder called Williams’ Syndrome that makes her fearless with other people

✔ By fearless we mean that she has no fear of strangers and is incapable  of discerning potentially dangerous  people and situations. She will walk up to a complete stranger, one that a normal person would avoid  and be cautious around, and ask to sit  in his lap and tell him that she loves him!

✔ Children with Williams’ are often physically small and frequently have developmental delays. But also, kids and adults with Williams love people, and they are literally pathologically trusting. They have no social fear. Researchers  theorize that this is probably because  of a problem in their limbic system, the part of the brain that regulates  emotion. There appears to be a dysregulation in one of the chemicals called oxytocin, that signals when to trust and when to distrust.

✔ This means that it is essentially biologically impossible for kids like Isabelle to distrust. “They don’t have that kind of evolutionary thing that other kids have, that little twinge of anxiety like ‘Who is this person?,  What should I do here?'”, Jessica, Isabelle’s mother, explains. “They just don’t have it. She just doesn’t have that, an early-warning system of sorts.”

✔ For instance, when Isabelle was younger, she was chronically happy. She smiled at anything. She loved everyone: family, friends, strangers. She reached for them all, and, in return, everyone loved her.  Strangers would stop Jessica to tell about how adorably loving Isabelle was.

✔ But as Isabelle got older, the  negative side of her trusting  nature began to play a larger role.  Jessica and her husband had to rethink even the most basic   elements of Isabelle’s day-to-day life as she was always in danger being too overly trusting and “loving”.

✔ It’s not just Jessica and her family who must be vigilant. Every teacher at Isabelle’s public school has been warned. Isabelle is not allowed to tell them that she loves them. Isabelle is not supposed to tell other schoolchildren that she loves them. And these are just some of the minor restrictions.

✔While Williams’ Syndrome focuses on what Isabelle lacks in her brain,  let us for a moment shift to what  Isabelle possesses due to this lack:  a trusting and loving spirit.

✔Think about it. A new heaven and a  new earth where every individual possesses what Isabelle has. Isn’t that the ideal?

(with texts from: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126224885&ps=cprs; http://bryanleemartin.com/)

AGAPE SYNDROME

✔In the gospel of John 13: 34, Jesus issues the Great Command to “love one another.” He says, “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”

✔Indeed, at first glance, this kind of loving has “pathological” features similar to William’s Syndrome.

Some would say that it goes  beyond what is “normal”  for human beings!

✔But Jesus was aware of what we considered “normal” when he said, “You have heard that it was said. ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ That was normal!

“You have heard that it was said.  ‘You shall love your neighbor  and hate your enemy.’ (Mt 5:38, 43.)  That, too, was normal, in the old mind-set!

But then He drops the bomb, when He says, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (Jn 14:6). In other words, Jesus was saying, “I give you a new norm!  I am re-defining what ‘normal’ is  all about for my followers.” Jesus explicitates this new norm, when he said, “But I say to you, offer no resistance  to one who is evil. When someone  strikes you on your right cheek,  turn the other one to him as well.” -Mt 5:39 

“But I say to you, love your enemies,  and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of  your heavenly Father. -Mt 5: 44-45

That is the reason why Jesus  refers to Agape as a new commandment (Jn 13:34).   Agape is the new norm of  Being, Doing, Relating and  Living for Christians. That is what we refer to as the Agape Syndrome.

SYMPTOMS OF AGAPE SYNDROME

What are some symptoms of Agape Love?

✔Are you NOT greedy, not covetous, not lazy, not gluttonous, not envious, not jealous, not boastful, not proud,  not rude,  not self-seeking, not easily angered, not keeping a record of wrongs, not evil, not lustful?

✔Do you rejoice in truth, protect others from evil? Do you trust? Are you hopeful? Do you persevere? Are you faithful? Do you forgive? Are you humble enough to ask forgiveness from others?

If you said YES to all these, Congratulations, you have the Agape Syndrome. By God’s standards, You are the most normal Christian around. Keep it that way. But please, don’t talk to others about it, or you lose one of the signs.

✔ So, let our life time project be: Normalize! Be an Agape Person!

Let us reclaim the lost innocence, the loving and trusting spirit we originally had if we want to hasten the realization of the new heaven and the new earth God had planned for us all!

Loving is Being and Doing

° Mga Magandang Mungkahi:

 > Feeding program. Kahit once a week or once every two weeks – may garahe ka, magpakain ka man lang ng ilang mga batang lansangan. Kahit lugaw ni Aleng Leni! Teach them to pray before and after meals.     

> BEC & Parish Renewal Experience. Maki-alam. Sumali. Lumapit. Magtanong. Take the initiative.

> Education Sponsorship. Mag-sponsor ka man lang kahit isang batang walang wala ang mga magulang para makatungtong man lang sa elementary ang kanilang anak. Pls. no alibis & excuses: e baka hindi ko rin naman matustusan yan hanggang grade 12, e sayang naman.

Friend, it’s time to act out our Love di ba? Long overdue na! Matagal-tagal na rin naman ikaw bini-bless ni Lord. Let the love flow!  ♥