PEACE has been misconstrued as a situation where everything conforms to our individual comfort zones. When there is comfort and relaxation in a certain situation, it is immediately “peaceful” to us. Once a situation favors us and our comforts, then there is “peace.” These are our misconceptions of peace. These are the notions taught to us about peace.

On the other hand, charity is an act only for holy men and women. We who are not in the religious profession has nothing to do with this. Charity is simply an act of giving old clothes, buying tickets or feeding program (plus all the documentation and press releases). Charity for most of us is a great deal for our political and even professional careers.

Charity is also synonymous with “love.” How well do we understand love? Today, love is only construed as for opposite sexes (even same sex). It is no longer the virtue of love that is taught to us. It is more of the feeling of affection rather than the “dying for another.” Today, it is more of I like you because of your physical self and because I need you. I love you because I want to use you, as in the words of Rev. Fr. Carlos Villabona, OAR of Colombia. Love should be “I believe in you.” This should be our attitude towards love.

Christ “believed” in his apostles. He did not make them his friends for he wanted to use them or to utilize them for his ministry but he believed in them. He believed in their capacity and in their ability to love others. He accepted them no matter who or what they are. He manifested the unconditional love of his Father in Heaven which in return was reciprocated by the Apostles by passing it on to the disciples and eventually to us. But how do we use “love” today?

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President Rodrigo Duterte recently halted the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-New People’s Army (NPA)-National Democratic Front (NDF).

This is due to the lifting of the ceasefire by the NPA and some of its violations. In the early stages of the negotiations, the administration was complaining about the requests of the NDF panel. In most instances, the administration gave in to the requests of the NDF. A handful of alleged rebels were given provisional freedom. Yet, according to many political technocrats of the administration, this is too much of a concession. If they (NDF) want peace, let them negotiate with our terms and not with their terms, one military official opined.

In the Philippines, peace talks is always coupled with ceasefire. In the late 80’s, Cory Aquino sought peace talks and declared a ceasefire. When the ceasefire collapsed, the talks also collapsed. This time, the ceasefire had been violated, so the peace talks is suspended. In short, there will be no peace but rather fear in the coming months.

Peace should be taken in the context of justice, charity and common good. We should view peace not as a situation of “rest in peace” but as a situation of cooperation, collaboration, and service for the common welfare.

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Congratulations to Ms. Richelle Verdeprado for the launching of her book “Love and Learning” last Sunday at SMX. The same also goes to Mr. Dexter Paul Dioso for successfully defending his dissertation on February 8.

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St. Ezekiel Moreno, Sts. Pedro Calungsod and Lorenzo Ruiz, Pope St. John Paul II, Mons. John Liu and Su, Fr. Cornelio Moral, OAR and Fr. Loreto Dacanay, OAR; Manoy Bill and Sir Faraon Lopez, pray for us.