Peace amid earthquake-A A +A
By Dr. Bob Ocio
Isyo ug Servicio
Sunday, October 20, 2013
“MANY times we experience the greatest peace in the midst of trials, suffering, persecution, etc. The contrast is so vast that it is easily distinguishable. Struggles and conflicts are sometimes the greatest contributors to peace because they put us on our knees, and through these strong prayers from the heart, we receive the grace of peace in our hearts which eventually leads to peace in our surroundings,” from the Writing of ‘Crisis of Discine,’ Friend of Medjugorge, 2004.
We all knew what happened just lately as an intensity 7 earthquake shocked the nation. Meanwhile, the children's choir of Loboc sang Josh Groban's "The Prayer" which moved the nation to tears Thursday night amid the Visayas earthquake tragedy.
Even Filipinos I never knew before told me here in Vancouver how they were moved by the gesture of the children. They wanted to sing the message of hope despite the deaths and the destruction which made people homeless in some communities, levelled of several churches and even sent entire towns isolated with no food and water.
“The award-winning Loboc children's choir performed at the end of the newscast, in front of the church ruins where they used to sing countless times. Their song touched the hearts of people nationwide who were watching, with many expressing their emotions in social media,” ABS-CBN reported. That was not all for the town, just after the earthquake, the parish of Loboc held the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in front of their destroyed church.
Meanwhile, Monsignor Abet Uy of Jagna parish announced in his timeline that, “We are very grateful to the people of JAGNA, both the rich and the poor, local and abroad, who responded quickly to the call for help and also to the people of Duero, Bohol. Global Jagnaanons made the donations quick via a Facebook page as they exchanged news and ideas to help while volunteers came rushing as never seen before. Monsignor Abet, for sometime led the volunteers of the parish in building homes for those who need them most, a house at a time. He called it, Operasyon 222 - Duha ka kilo bugas, 2 ka botelyang tubig ug duha ka delatang sardinas o noodles.
In a light mode he wrote, "CHURCHES were destroyed because God was so busy protecting our HOMES that He forgot HIS." Ruth Tan Fernandez replied, “Bear in mind that those churches are just structures made by man. The real church is in the heart of each one of us. This is a reminder for everyone that material things come and go, no matter how grand they are. I am also saddened by the destruction that the earthquake had caused. Never fear, if you have Jesus Christ in your heart, then God's church is in you. John 2:19 promised that Jesus will build his church in three days. Just hang on to that promise.”
My brod Glenn wrote to ask what is going on? Our town of Jagna, Bohol just experienced days ago an unprecedented flood where the water overflowed from the river banks in the Poblacion area. Our nephew was in Tagbilaran with a family of an uncle who reported trauma over recurring aftershocks which forced them to sleep outside their home. Jagna residents which are over 50 kilometers away also reported of aftershocks which jolted them many times. Yet, we know too that Manila recently has been hit by floods, Mindanao by bombs and the earthquake was felt in many parts of the country.
I replied that we are inevitably facing the last days of our times. The message of Medjugorge does not run counter to the events happening in our recent times urgently calling on humanity to get back to their faith and in prayer and unity with God and the whole of mankind. Every human agenda from hereon, now pales to the urgency of the more important needs of our faith.
I did write a week ago that the message of Medjugorge which asks for prayers for the entire humanity to return to God. It is amazing that out three churches in Bohol, an icon of the blessed Mother was resting in place in the middle of the rubble in one church, a statue of the Blessed Mother was unscathed and standing erect in another, and the statue of JESUS was standing in another. In Sto. Nino Church in Cebu, a picture showed an image of a boy atop the church just beside the falling edifice.
Myra Balandra wrote, Miracles abound, many still left untold I'm sure during the earthquake debacle - that laid bare our general ineptitude & unpreparedness for a disaster of such magnitude! That God's love & mercy for his suffering children is boundless! God be praised!
Yet, the question is, what is in a miracle? What is in the messenger? That amounts to nothing to the believer until he realizes the message of peace, love and reconciliation which is centered in our Spirit with our Lord and our relationship with our neighbors.
For the Christian believer, the message of peace is won if we get it right when we say Yes, to Jesus, not maybe, not later but NOW!!!
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 21, 2013.