December 4, 2022

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)
Life is a mystery but we have to live it. We have plans for our life and we are passionately giving our best to realize them. But life can suddenly end too.
Life is short but it is beautiful especially when we walk with God. Life can be loaded with plans but we will surely not meet all of them but God will do it for us especially when life ends suddenly.
In 2014, we planned to construct a park along Barangay Anabel, Sadanga with then Mayor Jose Limmayog to honor those who fought for the higher good of Mountain Pro-vince, especially Bishop Francisco Claver, SJ, but it was not realized.
The late Mayor Gabino Ganggangan learned about the plan and gave hope of reali-zing it during his term. In November last year, Ganggangan visited Teng-ab complex to finally discuss about the plan and how to jumpstart. We went to the site with some of his staff members while I brought good friends: Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ, and Geneveive Cupang. Gangga-ngan was happy to show the relocation of the historical marker.
We had a productive discussion with the biggest hope to realize the plan, when suddenly on Jan. 29 at 9 p.m., the good mayor bade goodbye.
Will his death mean the stoppage of the plan? Will the project be realized? If it is God’s will, it will happen. I hope Mayor Gabi meets with Bishop Francisco and have a better discussion in heaven on how to the project can be realized.
Many commented that Ganggangan’s death is untimely, but for God, there is no such thing as untimely death. God is in charge even of the events that we can hardly understand. God knows best for everyone and in every event.
It’s always helpful to see our plans in the will of God. Isaiah 55:8-9 narrates, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Some people may see the death of Ganggangan as a defeat for he cannot realize anymore the peace advocacies, which he stood and fought for. Some even may rejoice for his death because the social revelations he did regarding the evils of insurgency and wrong ideologies will gradually end.
But it is not a defeat and it is not the end of the fight for peace. The gospel reading during the funeral underlined the consoling hope and direction of everything, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it will remain a single seed but if it dies it will bear much fruit.” (John 12:24)
The brave efforts and realistic advocacies of Ganggangan will multiply and its realizations be more. His death is not a defeat but the birth of more people to continue and realize the plans and advocacies. His death is not the end of peace advocacies but the birth of a bigger circle of peace advocates and wider ripples of goodness. Peace is God’s presence in the communities, hence, God will realize it himself through his good and brave prophets.
Ganggangan was laid to rest in the earth on Feb. 5, but his good works will give birth to many peace advocates and good harvest for everyone.
Here is an excerpt of my homily during the funeral mass: “The big difference of faith and culture is that when we die, faith will surely give us a clear assurance that we will go back to the Father as testified by Jesus when he suffered, died, and resurrected.
Our culture needs to be immersed with faith and vice versa. Dialogue happens in and through the Holy Spirit. We are indigenous peoples. We live our indigenous way but we will not lose anything when we let culture embrace the beauty of faith, our hope in the Risen Jesus.
Our life will not end in vain but will end in glory, our eternal life with the Lord. We are Igorot Christians by virtue of our culture and faith.”
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