Monday, December 31, 2007

Be a Reason for Hope

AS we come to the end of the year 2007 we are challenged to assess ourselves, to evaluate ourselves as individuals and as community. Everyone must examine his conscience. A litany of questions along the line of the corporal works of mercy may be asked: such as what have we done regarding feeding the hungry and malnourished, helping build shelters for the homeless, supporting the education of poor students, creating employment and health security for the sick, releasing those unjustly imprisoned, liberating the oppressed and exploited, and doing away with all abductions and extra judicial killings.

Despite the good-willed efforts of government and church, the sinful root causes of our social problems continue to challenge both individuals and society to conversion and social transformation.

The birth anniversary of the God-Man, Jesus Christ, reminds us not only to celebrate but also to respond to its call for a change of heart and conversion to justice and charity. Among the many corporal works of mercy, “Pondo ng Pinoy” and “Gawad Kalinga” are non-government initiatives that have grown almost nationally. These and other social initiatives including the silent and unseen ones are also transmitters of the “new presence” of God and give our society “reason to hope” in the coming New Year 2008.

By our response we become reflections of God “who is the foundation of hope: not any god, but the God who has a human face and who has loved us to the end” (Pope Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter, “Spe Salvi”, no.31)

Archbishop of Jaro
CBCP President

December 31, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Reflection

CHRISTMAS is the celebration of an event of God “going outside of himself,” becoming man in Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ, God has assumed the everyday in order that through him and with him man may learn to be fully human. Jesus in his human life—as described in the Gospels—is the word, the address, the message of God to humanity.
Jesus must be experienced by Christmas, not simply as a great prophet, a religious founder or genius but as God’s ultimate Word to mankind. In him concrete human life is found in its most basic and radical form. Through his earthly life Jesus showed how the absolutely distant God is likewise absolute near. Through his incarnation, Jesus Christ reveals the deepest meaning of being human… that in every human being there is the ability to be God in the world or to be infinitely open to God’s self-communication.

+Angel Lagdameo
Archbishop of Jaro
President, CBCP

Sunday, December 09, 2007

International Human Rights Day

On Human Rights Day our attention, proclamation and prayer reach out naturally to the victims of human rights violation, v.g. the child in the womb, violated children and women, the abandoned, harassed and exploited, the disadvantaged poor, the unjustly evicted from their land, etc… Unfortunately in our country with a democratic form of government, the rights of the people are not always fully respected. And the culprits: among others, public servants and elected officials.

Human rights and the duty to respect, proclaim and obey them are mutually complimentary, indissolubly linked and inextricably connected. On the one hand, the human right of an individual imposes some duty on the part of others. On the other hand, one who claims his own rights, yet altogether neglects to carry out his duties, is a person who builds with one hand and destroys with the other (cf. John XXIII, Pacem In Terris, no. 264).

In our country where millions radically lack the basic necessities of life, such as food, shelter, education, employment and health security, “the more fortunate should renounce some of their rights (even over material possessions they justly possess) so as to place their goods more generously at the service of others” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine No. 158). It means going beyond mere charity, alms giving, and giving only what one no longer needs.

When leaders are hounded by unresolved anomalies and litanies of graft and corruption, it is difficult, almost impossible, to regain trust, credibility and respect which are critical ingredients to effective governance.

If civil society wants to effect moral transformation in governance, they must be reasonably angry, articulate, and persevering in effecting the change they want to see. Most important is the element of spiritual transformation, whose key is conversion to God which starts with ourselves.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Advent reflection

Beyond the nostalgia of past Christmas, the advent season is a reminder that Jesus who came more than two thousand years ago will come again. In fact, his incarnation, his being the Word of God-made-flesh, his death and resurrection, has made him belong to our history.

In advent, he is said to come, because his incarnation has made him one of us, a member of our humanity. There is an identity between the earthly Jesus and the resurrected exalted Lord. His eternal life is the ultimate form of his earthly life.

To confess his advent or coming among us, is today to welcome him not as a child of baby, but in his resurrected form. The more Jesus Christ is incarnated, enfleshed in our personal lines, the more he truly become the Word of God made flesh, God’s message or God alive, living in us.

+Angel Lagdameo
Archbishop of Jaro
President, CBCP