BACOLOD

Sickness, storms: Who is in control?

BES Chat with Bp G

LAST Sunday, we celebrated the Solemnity of Christ the King. During these times, we are called to remember God’s power and dominion over the world and all of His creation. However, it is not difficult to imagine how in times of crisis like this, many of us find it hard to see God’s plan. We are, at present, still in the midst of a pandemic which has claimed the lives of over 8,000 Filipinos and more than 1.3 million people across the world. The Covid-19 has also caused many of us to lose jobs and has caused the economy to suffer a downward slope which we are only beginning to overcome.

In the past few months, we have also witnessed a string of destructive storms: Pepito, Quinta, Rolly, Siony, Tonyo, and most recently, Typhoon Ulysses. Although our country is no stranger to storms, science has shown us how these weather-related disasters are becoming either more frequent or more intense as the climate continues to change. And while no one is safe from the damage and loss of life owed to these climate-related disasters, their onslaught proves to be more burdensome and frustrating to the poor, who are more vulnerable to the effects of such crises, and have fewer means to hurdle and recover.

It seems as though this year would not relent in handing us one trial after the other. And our anguish is compounded by disappointing news among those whom we have tasked to aggregate and coordinate efforts to respond to and to minimize the damage of crises. It pains us to remember that during this ongoing health crisis, a crisis of corruption also was exposed among the ranks of Philhealth. Moreover, during the succession of storms, many of us decried how some of our leaders seemingly are absent during the most crucial points in crisis response.

And so many of us could not help but ask: is anyone in control?

Thankfully, while we are witnessing and experiencing desperate times, we are also seeing a renewed sense of community and shared obligation among our people. Instead of clinging to despair, many of us choose to give other people hope. In these past months, we have seen the bravery and fortitude of healthcare workers and frontliners, who even in the earliest days of the pandemic, soldiered on to take care of the infected. We have seen people share food, clothes, and other resources to their neighbors affected most heavily by these succession of crises. Many have also given their time and effort in helping in relief and recovery operations after the storm. And just this Friday, communities affected by coal projects from across the country have banded together to call on our leaders to abandon dirty energy as a service to the environment, the people’s health and the climate.

Despite these times of frustration and suffering, we are still reminded that God is still in control, that He still cares, and that He delivers us, by the good works present among people. It is fascinating that it is during these times that we are asked to observe distance from each other physically, that many, if not most of us, spiritually come together in service of each other.

Just as important in remembering Christ the King is remembering our identity as his subjects, his servants. And like what the Lord said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Whenever we are faced with the understandable seed of doubt in our neighbor, who has suffered greatly and dearly in these times, it is precisely then that we are called to feed, clothe, assist, and shelter Him.

We have much to do and much to give. For an important example, the intense weather events should act as a wake-up call for us, and especially our national and local leaders, to reconsider projects which would damage our forests, mountains, ecosystems, and our natural guards against calamities. While we are astounded and while we celebrate the goodness of others in times of crisis, we must remember that it also takes goodness to preserve and care for what is already here, that we may not only regret their loss in the future. We also serve the least of our brothers and Sisters not just in offering what we have, but in conserving and caring for what we all share: our Common Home.

God is still in control because He still moves through us. And we can continue to give service and hope to one another in many ways: donating and sharing with those in need, fulfilling our duties in our homes, offices, and schools, even in continuing to call on our leaders to care for the People, and the rest of God’s creation by caring for the environment.

After all, service is more than a duty, it is a form of worship, a way to comfort, and just as important, a reminder of God’s power and goodness as our King.


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