June 2, 2023

There was once a senior citizen who was about to undergo surgery. She was afraid and nervous, “Doctor please be very careful, it is my first time to undergo surgery.” The doctor was so confident to respond, “Madame, don’t worry, because it is also my first time to do surgery.”
It is elating to hear that even those who are not religious are now praying for the healing of people infected by the Covid-19, for the safety and protection of frontliners, and for wiser and more humane decision making of local chief executives.
If we have one common prayer today, it is healing for the world, healing of our land, and healing and protection of everyone.
This can be likened to the Canaanite woman who called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” (Matthew 15:22) The Canaanite woman was not sick, but she sensed and felt the pain and anxiety of her sick daughter. On behalf of her daughter she cried out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David,” which showed her selflessness.
Jesus tested her faith. “But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her.” (Matthew 15:23) Jesus further tested her faith, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)
Jesus tried to use the cultural difference to test the woman. But all more the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” Jesus further tested the faith of the woman. But the woman who was longing for the healing of her daughter was constantly determined, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”
Jesus saw the firm faith of the woman who selflessly sought mercy for her daughter, “O woman great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour. (Matthew 15:28)
We encourage everyone to pray and to ask mercy from God for the healing of the world, for those infected by the Covid-19, and for all those burdened by anxiety and depression.
We entrust all our sick sisters and brothers, especially those infected with the Covid-19 to the healing hands of Jesus. The sick may not hear our prayers but they will feel it and God will listen.
It is a virtue if every day, we spend quality time for these intentions.
I also exhort everyone to pray for the healing of the two warring ethnic groups of Betwagan, Sadanga in Mountain Province and Bugnay, Tinglayan in Kalinga.
The conflict between the two barangays is more than a decade now. The problem has never been resolved and it is causing more chaos. It has taken lives and will continue to do so if it remains unsolved. It is creating more social issues, suspicions, and fear among tribesmen.
Series of dialogues had been conducted but they all ended in vain. Many interventions had been done but it did not solve the tribal conflict.
Will this kind of relationship be cultivated among the young and let them carry the same burden or even a heavier one today and in the future?
Let the elders of both ethnic groups ponder, decide and act courageously, prudently, and wisely. Let the elders acknowledge the Divine. Faith must overcome the two parties.
I was invited to join the volunteers to help resolve the conflict. I met with some elders and barangay officials but I can hardly see hope for reconciliation and peace. Anger, hatred, and pride seem to overcome those in the meeting.
During the meetings, I did not hear from the tribesmen asking the intervention of God. Sheer human means and efforts were always sought, which is why they all failed. I may sound irrelevant and awkward, but this is what we need, to resolve the tribal problem today. The Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Commission on Indigenous People, religious groups, non-government organizations, Provincial Peace and Order Council, and government officials were requested to help but they all failed.
Let us invoke God. God must intervene. Let him be in charge. It may sound impractical and idealistic but give it a try. I may be seen as spiritualizing issues but let it be, so long as we invoke God. Letting God in charge will result in this formula: Humility plus honesty equals obedience or H2O. Only in God can the tribal conflict be resolved. H2O is water and water is life. If only Betwagan and Bugnay elders will ponder well and let their faith in God work, hope of settlement and peace will manifest.
To advance peace among the groups, they must humble themselves to the Lord and to one another and be honest with each one’s statements. Only then can they obey God. Only then can they reconcile. They must allow the Holy Spirit.
I encourage each one to follow the Canaanite woman. Let us, together in our daily prayers, include the peace settlement of Betwagan and Bugnay conflict. If one day, peace is achieved, you are a peacemaker through prayer. Jesus will surely bless you. “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
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