WHY are you afraid? Was the repeated question Pope Francis asked during his extraordinary Urbi et Orbi Saturday dawn that was aired at 1 a.m. Philippine time.
It was a question my friend and I were also asking and were likewise following the line Pope Francis delivered. The absence of rootedness to what is essential is what made us feel as if we were floundering in raging seas when we were told to stay home.
My friend being an artist, and I a writer, went on with our work and became even busier because we are confident about what we can do and can set out to do amid the grand vacation we were handed. Our lives’ purpose was calling to us and all the distractions have been swept away, we can work like we’ve never worked before, isolated yet not disconnected.
“Lutang” is a word my friend often uses when describing a person who is not rooted to his true identity and purpose. It’s all about rootedness. When you know who you are in its deepest sense from your identity as a Mindanaoan to your identity as a believer and what your purpose is, even a storm like Corona virus will not make your founder.
As Pope Francis pointed out, it’s not about not believing that there is God and that Jesus is our savior (excuse us if you’re not Christian, we have to understand that this is the leader of the Catholic faith speaking, and so you can just replace Jesus with your own prophet or spiritual teacher and the message will remain the same). Rather, it’s about the faith that yes, there is a God and he can lead us out of this.
Appropriately, the Pope cited the case of the apostles who ranted and railed at Jesus as he slept amid the storm that was threatening to sink the boat Jesus and the apostles were on.
“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” Jesus asked.
For indeed it is not just in believing but in the deep faith. Think: regular mass goers and yet have no qualms about stealing from the people. Or wearing a public face of being a person who cares but is not above pulling strings and ropes to get his way, even if he should be one of the people who must not be moving around, being a carrier of the virus.
“In this storm, the façade of those stereotypes with which we camouflaged our egos, always worrying about our image, has fallen away, uncovering once more that (blessed) common belonging, of which we cannot be deprived: our belonging as brothers and sisters,” the Pope said. (And look who’s falling out of grace? – Sorry, I couldn’t resist that dig.)
It’s not so much as believing but trusting that, “Hey! Christ is risen, yuh know, who could be more powerful than a risen Christ? But then, yuhuh, we fell into the trappings of power and ambitions and forgot that.” Sad, very sad.
It’s not too late. We’re not out of our houses yet. Go inside, explore the places you have not yet visited, especially your soul.
For indeed, as Pope Francis said, “The tempest lays bare all our prepackaged ideas and forgetfulness of what nourishes our people’s souls; all those attempts that anesthetize us with ways of thinking and acting that supposedly “save” us, but instead prove incapable of putting us in touch with our roots and keeping alive the memory of those who have gone before us.” firstname.lastname@example.org