I recall a question articulated by our former Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez many years ago.
“What is happening to our country, General?” Pelaez asked as he was being wheeled into the emergency room of St. Luke’s Hospital, after an assassination attempt on his life. The question was directed to Gen Prospero Olivas who was then head of the Metropolitan Command (Metrocom) at that time. Pelaez survived the assassination attempt and went on to continue serving the country as head of the government panel that negotiated the peace process with our Muslim brothers in Mindanao. He later served as Philippine Ambassador to the US during the term of President Corazon Aquino. His would be assassin was never caught.
The question of VP Pelaez was more than a question, but an anguished cry about the conditions prevailing in the country then. It can very well our very own cry today.
Why is there so much crime and violence in our country today? And those in government encouraging the kidnapping and killing even of our priests and bishops? Why is the response of Congress (lower house) to allow criminal liability and possible imprisonment even on 9 year olds of our children?
Why is there still widespread grinding poverty on our people even when there is supposed to be record economic growth in our country?
One can go on and on. There are of course some good also happening, but the foregoing questions stick out like a sore thumb, especially because we are supposed to be a predominantly Christian and Catholic country.
Our faith tells us not to kill. Our faith tells us to love and care for our neighbor. Our faith tells us that what God has joined together no man should put asunder.
What is happening to our country? There can be many reasons put forward to explain and justify.
I believe the root of all these problems is that there is a yawning gap between our faith and our actual action.
In the letter of James, it is written, “My friends, what good is it for one of you to say that you have faith if your actions do not prove it? . . . faith without actions is dead.”
(James 2:14, 26)
Jean Daujat, writes in his book The Applied Faith, “The moulding of Christians who live out Christianity is the urgent business of today.”
A well-known contemporary author, Mitch Albom, writes in his book Have a little Faith, “Faith is about doing. You are how you act, not just how you believe.”
The urgent call is indeed for us Christians to live out our faith in our day to day situation.
I hope to continue to write about Christians who try to do this, who express their Faith by the many good things they do. I wish to honor them by this simple gesture and hope many more will be inspired do the same.