Countdown to Christmas
Filipinos enter tomorrow into the nine-day preparation for Christmas, marked by Mass on nine consecutive dawns or Misa de Gallo.
For many survivors of the landslide that hit Naga City, it will be a bittersweet time.
They have been allowed to go home to residences near ground zero of the cataclysm but far enough from it for safety’s sake.
The rest, at least 444 families will be moved to Barangay Tinaan near the sea, which the government considers to be safer ground.
For the broader public, this will be a time for solidarity with persons like the landslide survivors who have to bear such hardships as picking up the pieces and moving forward with life while memories of the misfortune that struck them are still fresh.
Prayer, that opening of the heart to the divine and to neighbor so that seeing the divine in neighbor one no longer sees a stranger will be an important first act of solidarity.
In prayer we shall ask for blessing for our hope that those who have to rebuild may have all the courage they need to succeed in the task, for our hope that action by agencies such as the Mines and Geosciences Bureau and the environment department will for once strike that important balance between stewardship of resources and public safety.
From Naga City, Cebu, the supplicant’s heart must step backward and behold the nation and the world, still pining, as the hymn states, in sin and error.
Many are the situations for which the heart must beg heaven for resolution. True prayer will be proven by the faithful’s refusal to ask only for their personal good.
We must beg for a national renewal; for the conversion of those who remain addicted to wealth, power, pleasure, and status, so that God’s poor in these lands and elsewhere on earth may not remain marginalized like the Holy Family who failed to find an inn on the Holy Night, but be treated in accordance with their inherent dignity as human beings.
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