By: Jose Ma. Montelibano
If I were Muslim, I would confront my religious leaders if they allow the hungry among Islam’s children to suffer without intervention. If I were Buddhist, I cannot but do the same. But I am Christian and Catholic, and I can only send out muted screams in anger and shame at the apathy or cowardice of my religious leaders who cannot galvanize communal action, even revolution, to save a hungry people. There is less need to convert people to Catholicism than there is a need to feed His sheep.
In the heart of our trials and tribulations is the moral decadence we have allowed to creep into our souls and dominate our society. Yes, it is our decadence, yours and mine as individuals, and also yours and mine as people of God, as members of our respective faiths. While we wallow in our subservience to evil, I wonder if our moral guides and teachers, our pastoral leaders have any accountability at all to the covenant of evangelization they vowed to execute. In such a corrupt and immoral nation, can the sheep be so disobedient to their shepherds, or are the shepherds being followed even in their sins of commission and omission?
Bishops and politicians share a common mission – to tend their constituents in a manner and spirit faithful to the highest ideals of faith and state. Ethics is their lowest common denominator and the laws of the land follow closely the Ten Commandments, from parental respect to thievery, killing, lies, and adultery. What is happening to us, then, that both bishops and politicians govern in failure?
The shortcomings of our formal hierarchies, however, must not stop us from striving for our own compliance to the laws of God and man. The lack of inspiring examples from the highest of leaderships is compensated somewhat by the humble yet determined efforts of many who serve below them. More mayors and governors are showing how they can trigger progress in their respective areas despite national government, just as lowly nuns and priests quietly try to reflect the missionary spirit of their faith as they serve the poor.
Whether we are motivated by faith or by simple love of country, we face a trial ahead that will confront Filipino stomachs and lives. As ordinary citizens, there seems little we can do. But as ordinary citizens working as one body, there is nothing that we cannot do. If our convergence is not triggered by inspiring leadership, let it be triggered by the nobility of a common cause.
Let us feed His sheep, the least among us, by never forgetting when we awake each day that the hungry is out there and increasing, that the sick is out there and dying, that the landless and the homeless are out there and have been severed from their human dignity. There is only one antidote to a hungry and impoverished people – the caring and sharing of those who are not.
If only to be on the right side in the judgment of nations, we must remember that our measure is not our great personal accomplishments but the simple obligation of being our brother’s keeper. ***
Ang Tula ni Pareng Greggy;
SONETO SA BIGAS
ni Gregorio V. Bituin Jr.
Bigas ay pagkain nating pangunahin
Ngunit presyo nito ngayon ay sumirit
Daming tila di na kakain ng kanin
Presyo’y di na abot nitong maliliit.
Itong bigas nga ba sa merkado’y kulang
Gayong bansa natin ay agrikultural?
O dahil maraming mga mapanlamang
Tinago ang bigas nang ito’y magmahal?
Kapos sa panggastos, mababa ang sweldo
Nitong mahihirap na natutuliro.
Sabi ng negosyo, “Mahalaga’y tubo
Kung mahal ang bigas, ay, magutom kayo!”
Kung pagtaas nito’y gawang balasubas
Huwag tumunganga’t halinang mag-aklas.
Abril 3, 2008