July 16-19 - Nationwide days for prayer, fasting and almsgiving
PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas (The Freeman) - July 14, 2018 - 12:00am

As we pursue God’s peace and not fear about witnessing for God, the CBCP reminded us also to recognize the sufferings of the poor.

Do we not hear the cry of poor slum-dwellers being jailed for “loitering”? Have they forgotten that for the homeless urban poor – the little alleys between their flimsy homes also serve as kitchens, bathrooms, recreation spaces, and playgrounds for their children? Have they forgotten that they live in tiny dwellings that are razed quickly to the ground when fire strikes, because they do not have proper roads?

Do we not feel the sufferings of drug addicts who are labeled as “non-humans” and are stigmatized as criminals? Can we not see drugs addicts also as sick people who are struggling with a disease, as victims crying out for help?

Are we to remain as bystanders when people are being killed in cold blood by ruthless murderers who dispose of human lives like trash? Do we not realize that for every drug suspect killed, there is a widow and orphans left behind – who can hardly afford a decent burial for their loved one? Do we not care when poor people’s homes are searched without warrants, or when drug suspects are arrested without warrants, or detained without charges?

Do we not care about the misery of people charged for drug-related offenses and packed like sardines in extremely congested jails and for those languishing in jail who need rehabilitation?

Do we not hear of the sufferings of indigenous peoples who are displaced from their ancestral lands in order to give way to mining companies and dams? And how do we feel about communities that are forced to leave their homes for fear of being caught in the crossfire of conflicts between government troops and insurgents?

How are we affected when our own troops die because of unceasing hostilities that have not been adequately addressed through peaceful dialogue?

To those who boast of their own wisdom and arrogantly regard themselves as wise and the Christian faith as nonsense, those who blaspheme our God as stupid, these words from Saint Paul: “For the stupidity of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Cor 1: 25)

And to those who ridicule our faith, we say “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.” (1 Cor 1:27-29)

Those angered by the insulting statements of people in authority need to remember that vengeance is never the way of Christ, not his way to return evil for evil; no, we can conquer evil only with good (Rom 12:21).” Until his last breath, Jesus prayed: “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.” (Lk 23:34)

Ours is the God who saves, a God “rich in mercy and compassion,” a God involved in our history, a God who – for love of us –”became poor, that we might become rich.” (2 Cor 8:9)

As a church, as a nation, let us pray, do penance, fast each day and especially on July 16 to 19, that we may “regain our strength from the blood and water that flowed from the wounded side of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”

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