AROUND this time last year, the Church in the Philippines observed the first Basic Ecclesiastical Community (BEC) Sunday as manifestation of the vision of a new way of being the Church.
BECs are smaller communities within parishes whose members gather regularly as one body in prayer and celebration of faith.
The observance emphasizes the importance of breaking free from the image of the Church as enclosed in the walls of the buildings where its gatherings are held - by nurturing the Church in the grassroots - in our local neighborhoods and villages.
Our observation of the BEC Sunday this year is all the more meaningful.
Presently, we are made to physically distance ourselves from one another as the coronavirus pandemic lingers, with tens and hundreds of fresh cases being recorded in our country everyday. Feelings of isolation and anxiety can be lonely companions at this time, but the bonds shared by brothers and sisters in communities of faith, our prayers for one another, and the guidance of the word of God are a source of hope and strength.
That BEC Sunday falls on Trinity Sunday is also no coincidence, as we envision the communion with BECs as patterned after the communion of the Most Holy Trinity.
The celebration of BEC Sunday is one of our concrete responses to the mercies of the Holy Trinity - and a wonderful reminder of the importance of collaborative action in the many ways we are called to respond to the cry of the poor and of our Common Home.
Around the world and in our beloved country, the past week has been extremely chaotic. Widespread protests against racism and police violence have broken out, first in America and then in various other countries, because of the unjust death of George Floyd at the hands of local authorities.
Locally, the measures implemented in the easing of quarantine measures across the country as the new month began has again placed heavy burdens on the shoulders of ordinary Filipinos. Issues of mobility, lack of livelihood and access to basic resources, and health security of the most vulnerable still abound.
This was coupled too with the fast tracking of the passage of the anti-terror bill, many aspects of which threaten our collective well being.
Preserving our togetherness, even with the physical distance we are asked to maintain for one another's safety, and uniting our voices in the middle of the crises we are in are as such extremely important.
And in the past months, we have learned that despite the limitations imposed upon us by the circumstances we are currently in, this is not impossible.
Filipinos from all walks of life again proved this true this Friday during the celebration of the World Environment Day, wherein various initiatives were still held to battle the many threats our Common Home faces today - such as the proliferation of dirty energy, destructive extractive industries, threats to biodiversity, wasteful consumption and production, and the protection of the rights and life of environmental defenders, among others.
May the observance of BEC and Trinity Sunday and the many issues surrounding us today be a reminder for all of us to renew our commitment to care for one another and preserve our community.
May we always be together as faithful stewards of Creation and witnesses to the example of God's love in facing the challenging times ahead of us.