REFLECTION: Getting down to brass tacks PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 January 2015 14:24

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

It’s truly a blessing, and therefore very heartwarming, to see the earnest, simple manifestation of faith among our countrymen these past days with the pastoral visit of our Holy Father, Pope Francis. Thanks be to God, it’s happily and healthily contagious.

Some intellectuals and those who consider themselves as educated, knowledgeable about things, and armchair analysts in their ivory towers may wonder whether this is true faith and piety or mere superstition and mass delusion.

I was amused when a CNN report, for example, presented the event more as a joke than anything else, since according to them the Philippines is 80% Catholic. What can you expect?

And so, they took the spin of the Philippine Church facing the danger of getting increasingly irrelevant if it would not allow same-sex marriage, contraception and abortion. Well, that’s CNN, not worth getting mad at. Just to be prayed for.

The media will always have some spin, depending on their political or ideological color. And let’s just be sport with this fact of life. But we just have to proclaim the gospel as it is, adapting it to the minds and current needs and conditions of the people. This, in itself, is already a formidable task should not be unnecessarily hindered by some unavoidable spoilers.

As to whether all that expression of faith and piety is genuine, only God knows. We cannot judge. What we already know is that even in the time of Christ, big crowds also followed him with all sorts of motives, and some of these were not even good.

In fact, there were those who spied on him, trying to get something from his words to pin him down at an opportune time. Besides, many of those in the crowd were the same ones who shouted, Crucify him, Crucify him, later on.

But Christ did not reject anyone. On the contrary, he had great compassion for them, since he regarded them like “sheep without a shepherd.” And so he preached the Good News to them and performed some miracles.

Those with faith benefited from all these. Those without, of course, did not receive anything. He also did some scolding, if only to clarify matters. In the end, he offered his life for everyone, bearing all our sins and stupidities.

Let’s remember that Christ came to save all, and not to condemn anyone. It would really be a waste of time if we have to bother about whether all that explosion of faith and piety we have just witnessed was genuine or not.

Let’s just be most thankful that we still have them, and then take this occasion to let them grow some more, deepening and strengthening and broadening it as much as we can, with God’s grace. We have to make them mature and fruitful.

That is what Christ himself would want. He told us to enter by the narrow gate and avoid the easy way of life. He told us to love one another the way he loved us all the way to the cross. He told us to pray without ceasing, to deny oneself and carry the cross, to go out to all nations and to proclaim the Good News to all, etc.

The Holy Father told us many things. As Vicar of Christ, as the sweet Christ on earth, he was transmitting to us what Christ would have told us at these times. We have to protect and strengthen our families. We have to show mercy and compassion with everyone, including those who are not yet with Christ.

We need to be vehicles of the love of God for all of us, showing this by proclaiming the truth with constant affection, abiding spirit of mercy and compassion that should be expressed in the most immediate, direct and tangible way.

We need to be wary, of course, of the usual dangers. The Pope talked about the evil of corruption and some ideological colonization that is going on in our country. He also talked to us about the danger of complacency, fear of change, petty compromises with the ways of the world, and “spiritual worldliness.”

We need to get down to business to tackle all these points that the Pope told us. Let’s consider them slowly in our prayers, and start to make the necessary adjustments and changes. There is always something to adjust and change in spite of what we may consider already as our accomplished level of wisdom and holiness.

If we truly have God and everybody else in our mind and heart, we will always feel the need to adjust and change, to grow for the better.