July 23, 2024

We see the topic on ecumenism in Fratelli Tutti. At the same time, we ask God to strengthen unity within the church, a unity enriched by differences reconciled by the working of the spirit.
For “in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Cor 12:13), in which each member has his or her distinctive contribution to make. As St. Augustine said, “the ear sees through the eye, and the eye hears through the ear”.
It is also urgent to continue to bear witness to the journey of encounter between the different Christian confessions. We cannot forget Christ’s desire “that they may all be one” (cf. Jn 17:21).
Hearing his call, we recognize with sorrow that the process of globalization still lacks the prophetic and spiritual contribution of unity among Christians. This notwithstanding, “even as we make this journey towards full communion, we already have the duty to offer common witness to the love of God for all people by working together in the service of humanity.”
“Religion is the opium of society” was a popular quote authored by Karl Marx in 1843. He was a philosopher whose perspective was founded on realism. “It was a line on philosophical criticism he never completed.”
A journey of peace is possible between religions. Its point of departure must be God’s way of seeing things. “God does not see with his eyes; God sees with his heart. And God’s love is the same for everyone, regardless of religion. Even if they are atheists, his love is the same.
It follows that “we believers need to find occasions to speak with one another and to act together for the common good and the promotion of the poor. This has nothing to do with watering down or concealing our deepest convictions when we encounter others who think differently than ourselves.
The truth is that violence has no basis in our fundamental religious convictions, but only in their distortion.
Sincere and humble worship of God “bears fruit not in discrimination, hatred and violence, but in respect for the sacredness of life, respect for the dignity and freedom of others, and loving commitment to the welfare of all”. Truly, “whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 Jn 4:8).
It is due, rather, to an accumulation of incorrect interpretations of religious texts and to policies linked to hunger, poverty, injustice, oppression, and pride. That is why it is necessary to stop supporting terrorist movements fueled by financing, the provision of weapons and strategy, and by attempts to justify these movements, even using the media.
“The commandment of peace is inscribed in the depths of the religious traditions that we represent.
Each one of us is called to be an artisan of peace, by uniting and not dividing, by extinguishing hatred and not holding on to it, by opening paths of dialogue and not by constructing new walls.”
Pope Francis appeals to all especially those that hold political and religious authorities. “We resolutely declared that religions must never incite war, hateful attitudes, hostility and extremism, nor must they incite violence or the shedding of blood.
These tragic realities are the consequence of a deviation from religious teachings. They result from a political manipulation of religions and from interpretations made by religious groups who, in the course of history, have taken advantage of the power of religious sentiment in the hearts of men and women. God, the Almighty, has no need to be defended by anyone and does not want his name to be used to terrorize people.”
After pondering on Pope Francis’ Fratelli Tutti, my apostolate and my priesthood were fueled with more zeal to be firm with my priesthood but being loaded with kindness when relating with brethren regardless of religious affiliations and religions.
Happy All Saints’ Day and Happy All Souls’ Day! We ask the intercession of the saints while we pray for our beloved dead. For our safety, we don’t go to the public cemeteries but we can always pray for the dead. For live streamed masses, please tune in to FB account: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church Sagada, Mountain Province at 10 a.m. every Sunday and for Nov. 1 to 2.