A reminder from God behind the problems our nation faces?
Images and photos of victims of extrajudicial killings have become so common that the issue is hardly worthy of further comment.
Nevertheless, may I offer another point of view and many people may find disconcerting and uncomfortable: What if what our country is going through right now is a “wake-up call” from God, for us Christians, for Catholics especially? What if, aside from pinpointing the disturbing realities in our country (illegal drugs, abuse of creation, change in government, capital punishment, divorce, same-sex marriage, graft and corruption, widespread human trafficking, pornography, etc.,) God also wants us to see the failure the Catholic Church, as a whole, in its evangelization mission?
If such problems go unresolved in a predominantly Catholic country like ours, it can only mean Catholics like me have failed in spreading Christian values, in having them take root in their lives. Popular religiosity may be strong in our country, but it seems we are already “content” just with that.
It is painful and embarrassing to admit, but we—hierarchy, clergy, religious, laity—have failed in our mission in our evangelization mission. This is shown by the fact that Christian values are not being lived truly. Is it perhaps providential that the wake-up call coincides with the celebration of the Year of Mercy? Perhaps, to assure us that in spite of our failure, with His mercy within our reach, we can do things differently and much better?
Perhaps we have been more concerned with maintaining the status quo, our dominance, our clout (since we have the numbers) than with the call to the “New Evangelization of the Church” which has been a call for decades—for us to learn from history, to be aware that we are a powerless, humble servant rather than a dominant institution capable of dictating how the rest of the population should live although, sadly, we ourselves might not be living the way we should, as Jesus asks us to?
Synods, congresses, people power have not produced lasting, ideal results. They have turned into mere showcases of how numerous we are, even as our social problems—e.g., poverty, the degradation of nature—continued to worsen.
We have to answer God’s merciful wake-up call. We must learn through prayer to listen with our hearts, admit our failure, and work ourselves toward an authentic, personal and communal “metanoia”—a drastic, radical, fundamental change of heart, starting from the top. If we have to be martyrs in the process, so be it.
I join Bishop Soc Villegas in offering himself as a victim, but we will die trying. This is our task, our challenge. Perhaps, we should see the present events not as threats, but as grace; it is not for us to judge.
We just have to read the message, take it to heart and wait for God to intervene. If we do our part, God will do His. In giving us this wake-up call, He shows He loves us. Let’s return His love by heeding His call.
—ANTONIO MARIA ROSALES, OFM, [email protected]
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