by Rev. Jose Mayo, OFMCap
"Nobody is so poor he has nothing to give, and nobody is so rich he has nothing to receive." These words of Saint John Paul are echoed in this latest Circular from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines President, His Excellency Romulo Valles, Archbishop of Davao.
The Love of Christ Compels Us
"For the love of Christ compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: If one died for all, then all died."
Citing 2 Corinthians 5:14, the CBCP President highlighted the urgency both of prayer and acts of compassion to those most in need. He recognizes the burden everyone has had to bear during a now-year-long pandemic. He mentions specifically daily wage-earners who have no choice but to risk contagion daily if only "to bring food to their tables every day."
Continue Good Works
Valles commended the Community Pantry initiatives: "We are happy to know that in recent days, in true bayanihan spirit, neighborhoods and communities have organized themselves to help needy families, especially with food and other basic necessities."
He likewise acknowledges the unnoticed works of charity that parishes and religious communities have been extending to the needy; he encourages them to continue this good work despite the suffering and difficulties they themselves endure.
More Suffering from Typhoon Bising
The lockdowns and quarantines have placed heavy pressure on the purses of dioceses, parishes, and religious congregations, many of whom struggle to find resources for church upkeep, employee wages, and even the most meager of basic daily needs in addition to supporting apostolic and charitable work like soup kitchens, feeding programs, educational support, and medical aid for the poor.
He further laments how Typhoon Bising has "compounded the suffering" of those already direly affected by the pandemic.
Before this dismal landscape, the CBCP President reminds his fellow bishops and the administrators of dioceses that Christ's love nonetheless impels Christians to action.
Faith in Christ draws Christian eyes away from his personal difficulties and moves the disciple to bring hope and love to those who are in most need.
Genuine acts of fraternal love and solidarity do not come from abundance or superfluity but from one's own generosity even when one is also in need. No one is so bereft of grace and blessing that one is unable to share something to another in need.