GOD IS IN CONTROL
We have gone through entire length and width of this country. We have seen long, sad faces of men and women cursed by years of poverty and misery, but we have seen too the bright faces of children everywhere, apparently full of hope and confidence of tomorrow. We have seen many villages that have not been touched, it would seem, by the “refinement of progress”, we have seen too the infinite wonder and beauty of this land: the rows of trees in the countryside, the rock-ribbed mountains of Northern Luzon, the magnificent beaches of many islands, particularly in the Visayas, the luster and splendor of the sunset in Manila Bay. The marvelous Rice Terraces in Banawe, and endless fields of grain from North and South that attest to the patience and industry of our farmers. These are all God’s gift to us and as we receive blessings from God, we become grateful to Him. That gratefulness makes us open our eyes and be able to rise above the attitude of despair and complaints to trust God despite the bleakness of the situation around us.
After the May 9 elections, we will be having a new set-up in our government. Let us pray for a program of transition that would create a social order capable of administering justice with ultimate goal of building a just, peaceful, and prosperous society. Still, human plans, however, well-conceived may go haywire. In the Christian life we have an inspiration. An unseen presence is Jesus Christ who cared for people, loved them and healed them. In this chaotic times, there is no place more secure than in the safe presence of our dear Lord. In our back breaking toil for daily survival, there is no voice more restful than His that assures of provision. In the midst of scandal and corruption in high places, there is no ground more refreshing and reassuring than that of His ethical teachings.
The life in Christ means to see Him in every person and love one another in concrete terms, respect each other’s differences, heal each other’s wounds, promote each other’s knowledge, disagree without resort to violence, and build a social justice where the weak shall be safe and the strong shall be just.
How true, and much more so if we do it for God. Because even in our darkest days, God has everything under control. He knows exactly what’s going on. And if we trust Him, He promises to see us through. He can make our life and our country all we’ve dreamed it to be and more.
OUR COMMON TASK
The problems we face today as a people appear, overwhelming. We tend to think that our leaders in government seem to be playing games with the country, whether it is in leadership or governance or economy. And I feel helpless most of the time, if not hopeless.
There are two kinds of reactions we tend to take: First is to throw up our hands and say, “We’ll have nothing to do with this.” We don’t vote, we don’t engage in any political affairs in the hopes that by doing so, we remain clean and untainted.
Another reaction to take is to just get along with the rest that says, “If you can’t beat them, join them. I’ll just follow the dictate of the surveys, so, we enter into all sorts of compromises, denying our faith as Christians – disappearing into jostling crowd nameless, spineless, faceless and faithless.
Do we belong to the totally non-involved or the totally immersed with the evil ways of the world? Either one does not make the Christ’s Gospel a reality in life. Christians should get involved with public life, as Jesus did. Justice and righteousness will not happen if Christians seclude themselves. Building our life requires our active engagement.
However, many of us wonder, “I am only a housewife, what can I do to change my drug-crazed community?” or, “How can I be an influence in this corrupt office? I’m just a clerk here!” Or there are those of us who say to ourselves, “If only I was a congressman, a senator, yes, maybe the president, I can really be of service to this country.”
Our unhappiness with our own leaders comes from the fact that in the heat of choosing during election time, we say, “Pwede na yan!” What is needed today is a transformational leadership. A leader who is mindful of the needs of the people especially the poor and the underprivileged, so they can participate in the building of a good and just society. What is happening in our society today, the powers governing us resort to outright lying, window dressing their lies or distorting the truth to make it palatable to the people, and the weak are not able to speak the truth they know. Such type of governance goes against free will, imagination, creativity, emotional range thirst to seek divine companionship that the Creator endowed the people with. Manipulative government and private corporations are insults to God’s divine intentions for people especially the poor and the weak.
Though theoretically we believe that in a democracy, government emanates from the people, reality shows that the people we put into government office become more powerful than all of us put together.
The faith of our country for the next six years is in our hands. Let us pray leaders to rise among us to embrace politics as a calling from God.
JOCKEYING FOR POSITIONS
With elections coming up in a few weeks, candidates for various positions believe that winning the election, by whatever means, is the most important thing in the world. There are so many power-hungry candidates today who resort to backstabbing, smear campaign, even violence to get the position they want. And once in position, they inflict their atrocities on the people to keep their position.
In choosing leaders, we should carefully study and match the traits of candidates with the needs and issues diabling our country today. Our country still remained mired in poverty and ignorance.
What the Philippines needs at this time is not simply popularity in poll surveys, but ethical moral and sincere leadership – if we want a government we can really be proud of, one that is good and reliable because the high officials are themselves upright and competent, honest and dedicated. It has always been said, we get the government we deserve because the people themselves choose their elected officials who will lead them. And most of the time, citizens do not use their best judgment in choosing their leaders.
Here are some guidelines for voters based on the criteria of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines:
Does he lead and inspire his constituents?
Is he responsible and has the ability to make decisions?
Does he have good knowledge of all the demands of the position?
Does he have know-how in economics, with preference for the poor?
Does he have the know-how in foreign policies in case of external conflict?
III. ROLE MODEL
Does he have a good track record, not marred by scandal, graft and corruption?
Is he a good family man?
Is he clean, honest and fair?
Is he of good moral character?
IV. PERSONAL COMMITMENT TO DEMOCRATIC PROCESS
Is he a stanch fighter for democracy?
Is he loyal to his country?
Is he protector of the oppressed?
Is he concerned for the common good?
V. PRO LIFE
“To be Pro-Life is to defend and promote life, to show reverence and love for it, task which God entrusts to every man…” Pope John Paul II
Does he advocate life and fight anti-life policies?
Is he anti-death penalty?
Is he an anti-human right violation?
Is he anti-unfair labor practices?
Does he believe in preservation of family as the basic unit of society?
Is he true and faithful to marriage?
Is he open to new life as God’s procreator, responsibly caring and educating the children brought into the world?
Does he protect and take care of his surroundings and the world in which he lives, most especially the womb, which is the first and most important environment?
On May 9, let us help make the election clean and thereby make a redemptive contribution to society. The time to become an educated voter is now, by being responsible and wise as leaders in our own right.