NOWADAYS, people would tell me, “The world has so many problems, Father.”
“That’s right,” I would respond, “We’re living in a challenging and distressing time — the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the gas prices, the deep division in politics and society, and the secularism affecting our faith life.”
Then, I reflect on what to make out or make sense of these situations—these global issues. Here are some of my thoughts:
First, one thing is sure: it’s making this world a smaller place, which means that we’re more connected to one another than we think. One country’s problems become our problems. We suffer when other people in the world suffer financially and spiritually. We grieve seeing cities in Ukraine being bombed, killing civilians, and destroying homes. A part of us dies when we learn that another family has perished. Indeed, deep inside us is compassion for other human beings.
Second, the presence and force of Evil in the world is evident. From a Christian perspective, the source of these conflicts and problems in the world is the Evil One — the enemy of a loving, merciful, just, and compassionate God. Sadly, many people, including world leaders, have succumbed to the Evil’s wishes to destroy our peace, unity, and aspirations to provide decent, orderly lives for everyone.
Third, I firmly believe that the Almighty God will ultimately trample down these evil forces. It’s what we firmly believe because of our faith in Christ’s Resurrection and Second Coming. And so, there is more reason for us to proclaim Christ to the world and the Gospel.
Incidentally, this Sunday’s (March 20) Gospel (Luke 13:1-9) tells us about God’s clamor for people to repent and the consequences of their response. He’ll show mercy to those willing to turn away from their sinful ways and condemn those who refuse to follow His ways. “If you do not repent, you will all perish as they did,” Jesus said to some people who related to him about the fate of the Galileans.
Fourth, as I mentioned, it is even more urgent nowadays to proclaim and preach the Gospel of love, mercy, forgiveness, peace, and justice. While some people see the irrelevance of faith and church life, many feel called to be warriors for the Gospel of Christ — unyielding to the temptations of indifference, fear, sarcasm, and apathy to Christ’s commands. We know the true revolution that would save us all — it’s the revolution of Christ’s love, mercy, and justice for all peoples.
God intended our world to be a holy ground for all of us where we can live in peace and harmony. It should be a place where we feel his presence actively working in our midst according to what God told Moses that his name is “I am who am,” which implies immanence and presence.
Our task is to allow his presence and power to permeate the world. May we never despair to take up this challenge!
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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.
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Fr. Rodel “Odey” Balagtas is the pastor of Incarnation Church in Glendale, California.