The current social-political environment we are exposed with today seems to be influenced by plenty of bickering of government leaders and the continuous display of insensitivity to the many lives that are uselessly wasted away through the drug trafficking controversies. What a way to welcome the new year of 2017. I hope every one of you are safe and sound with all of this turmoil happening around us and not to fail mentioning the immense burden of facing the traffic daily in Metro Manila. This is a call for action and we cannot just remain as audiences!
Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Genesis 4:1-9.This scriptural passage comes from the first book of the Bible rings out loud in relevance to our present situation.
Murder is a crying sin. Blood calls for blood, the blood of the murdered for the blood of the murderer. Who knows the extent and weight of a Divine curse, how far it reaches, how deep it pierces?
Only in Christ are believers saved from it, and inherit the blessing. Cain was cursed from the earth. He found his punishment there where he chose his portion, and set his heart. Every creature is to us what God makes it, a comfort or a cross, a blessing or a curse. The wickedness of the wicked brings a curse upon all they do, and all they have.
Cain complains not of his sin, but of his punishment. It shows great hardness of heart to be more concerned about our sufferings than our sins. God has wise and holy ends in prolonging the lives even of very wicked men. It is in vain to inquire what was the mark set upon Cain. It was doubtless known, both as a brand of infamy on Cain, and a token from God that they should not kill him. Abel, being dead, yet echoes his voice from the grave. He tells the heinous guilt of murder, and warns us to stifle the first risings of wrath, and teaches us that persecution must be expected by the righteous.
“What is your moral ascendancy in the Philippines?”
Defending the drug war, Duterte chastises bishops
Alexis Romero (philstar.com) – January 19, 2017 – 7:27pm
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday dug up old controversies including the so-called Pajero scandal and clergy sexual abuse in his latest tirade against the Catholic Church, which has been raising concerns over the spate of killings linked to his war on drugs. Duterte said the religious group of more than 80 percent of Filipinos, has no moral ascendancy to criticize his narcotics crackdown because it also has its own share of sins.
“You expose me, fine. I expose you. Why? When you commit mistakes, it’s okay but when we do, no? B***s***. That’s stupid,” the president said during the oath taking of newly promoted police officials at Malacañan.
“What is your moral ascendancy in the Philippines? Religion? What is the meaning of it? Hindi kayo nakakatulong, daldal kayo nang daldal (You do not help us. You just keep on talking),” he added.
Duterte cited the issue involving bishops who allegedly asked former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to provide them luxury vehicles.
“Remember you asked vehicles from Gloria? Knowing fully well that the policemen have no vehicles. You had Pajero, you sons of b******,” the president said.
“You were given vehicles knowing that there is a principle of separation between Church and State. It was sheer, purely graft and corruption because you did not deserve it. You cannot use property or money for your comfort. That is not for you but for the government but you had the gall,” he added.
In 2011, then Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chairperson Margarita Juico revealed that some Catholic bishops got Pajero sports utility vehicles supposedly in exchange for their support for Arroyo.
Juico eventually apologized to the Senate after it was learned that the bishops did not get Pajeros but utility vehicles, which were then used to conduct humanitarian missions. The bishops returned the vehicles to the PCSO, with one of them admitting to have committed a lapse of judgment when he asked Arroyo for a vehicle as a birthday gift in 2009.
Duterte also questioned the supposed failure of the church to explain how donations given during masses were used.
“What did the church do? The Catholic Church earns millions every week all throughout the Philippines. There are many churches. Where is the money of the people?” the president said.
“We explain how we use our funds to the people. You? Priests and bishops, you wear fancy clothes, you have vehicles. Do you have a house, even with just five rooms, for rehab? What did your church do?” he added.
“You count money instead of going around the neighborhoods, explaining to the people why they should not be in that industry because they will die. Now you want the killings to end? All you have to do is to preach because most of the people here are Catholics.”
Earlier, the Catholic Church announced that it would work with local governments to establish rehabilitation centers. One of the church-initiated programs aimed at addressing the drug problem is the Sanlakbay Para sa Pagbabagong Buhay, which was launched last October.
Duterte also cited the clergy sex abuse hounding the Catholic Church as well and the illicit affairs of some priests. The president revealed last year that he was sexually molested by a priest when he was young.
“You asked for it. If you want a showdown, then let’s have a showdown. You mend your ways. If you cannot even give justice to the small boys that you have molested in the past, you do not have that moral ascendancy to lecture (me) on what to do. Sanctity of life? You’re enjoying your worth,” the president said.
“When we were young, I talked to cabinet members. When we were making confessions to you, we were being molested,” he added.
Duterte also scored alleged homosexual acts happening inside seminaries and the alleged failure of the Church to improve the plight of its faithful.
“What will you do with the homosexuality in your seminaries? What have you done to the children there? Did you investigate us? Mga le**e kayo (You fools),” he said.
“You are in palaces while your faithful are in squatters areas and then you talk about sanctity? Look at your mirror.”
Duterte encouraged the public to read “Altar of Secrets,” a book by the late journalist Aries Rufo published in 2013 that discussed the corruption, sexual abuses and other controversies that rocked the Philippine Catholic Church. Last Wednesday, Duterte said priests should try shabu so they can understand the seriousness of the drug problem.
“Am I my brother’s keeper?”
The phrase “my brother’s keeper” occurs in the context of the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:1-9. After the Lord God had expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden for their disobedience, Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy that God had found Abel’s sacrifice acceptable, but He had rejected Cain’s. After the murder, the Lord, knowing full well what had happened, asked Cain where Abel was. Cain’s response was “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
There is a grain of truth in this brazen lie, despite the surly response Cain offers to the God who created him. While no one is the absolute “keeper” of others in that we are not responsible for everyone’s safety when we are not present, every man is his brother’s keeper in that we are not to commit violent acts against them or allow others to do so if we can prevent it. This sort of “keeping” is something God rightfully demands of everyone, on the grounds of both justice and love. But Cain’s reply indicates a total lack of any kind of feeling for another human being—not to mention the absence of brotherly love—and the overriding presence of the kind of selfishness which kills affection and gives rise to hatred.
So are Christians to be the keepers of other Christians?
Yes, in two ways.
First, we are not to commit acts of violence against one another. This includes violence of the tongue in the form of gossip and “quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder” (1 Corinthians 12:20).
Second, we are to exhibit brotherly love toward our brothers and sisters in Christ with a tender heart and a humble mind (1 Peter 3:8). In this way, we “keep” those for whom Christ gave His life.
One of the golden chapters of the Bible is 1 Corinthians 13. In this magnificent portion of the Scriptures, we are reminded that love is even greater than faith and hope. Sometimes love must correct, admonish or reprove (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15; Matthew 18:15). However, correction is always to be done in the spirit of love with the goal of reconciliation.
Paul the apostle wrote to the church at Thessalonica, “And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-15).
So, as the faithful followers of Christ, we are to be our brother’s keeper. As Paul wrote, “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify (build up) another” (Romans 14:19).
Our nation and the world at large will never truly experience the true meaning of “Peace” if we don’t first have recourse to the original source of peace which is in God through Jesus Christ.
“I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart and the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.” (John 14:27)
That is the bottom line, so let us begin to do our part that our country we loved will receive this great gift of God that we sorely need today and it all begins in our home, the family prayer.
Let us intensify our campaign on this critical mission on prayer life. Please try to influence others especially your loved ones and friends. If you need assistance to do it then do not hesitate to call on us.
Our prayers in the Holy Family of Nazareth.
In Jesus, Mary & Joseph,
Bro. Ed Karganilla
If you have any comments or further inquiries,
please do not hesitate to respond to us and kindly share this “grace” to others
so that we may collaborate together in this vast spiritual network
of the mission of the Holy Family of Nazareth that is critically needed today.