February 9, 2023

The Lord is a God of justice, who knows no favorites. Though not unduly partial toward the weak, yet he hears the cry of the oppressed. (Sirach 35:12-13)

We were having breakfast at one of the restaurants in Bontoc, Mountain Province when an energetic kid entered. He was moving fast and I got his attention, “Good morning, little boy.” The boy did not attend to my greeting. Then a woman and a man followed after him, which I did not doubt were the parents of the little boy. They passed along our table. I greeted again the boy and the couple turned around, maybe noticing my voice and they exclaimed, “O Father Marcs, it’s you. We are sorry, we did not recognize you.”

Then the couple called the little boy and said, “Athan, bless to Father Marcs.” The little boy was obedient. He tried to reach my hand, so I bent to meet the hand of the kid. He took my hand and surprisingly, he placed it on my forehead. Instead of getting my hand to put it on his forehead, he did the other way. I later realized that the little boy blessed me.

Children indeed have their innocent way of showing love and blessings to the family and to the older ones. Let us be keen and open to the children.

The children are the “anawim” of God. They are helpless and powerless until they are with their parents. They are honest and humble to teach the old about authentic attitude. Being the “anawim” of God, it means in their powerlessness, God will defend and protect them. Hence, any violence against children, God will protect them. Any oppression against the children, God will take care of them. The children are the poor and lowly of God. “The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest until it reaches its goal, nor withdraw till the most high responds, judges justly and affirms the right, and the Lord will not delay.” (Sirach 35:18)

Jesus used the children to teach the old. 1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. (Mathew 18: 1-5).

On Oct. 15, the Sagada Catholic Mission Youth Ministry has organized a youth gathering dubbed “Youth Leaders Arise! Season of Creation” that convened 420 young people all over Mountain Province and of different religious affiliations. It was held in Teng-ab, Bontoc, Mountain Province.

The weather was pleasant to speak about God’s approval and favor on the youth activity. They came to Teng-ab to be stunned by the beauty of nature and spirituality. They also learned about youth leadership, synodality, spirituality, and care of Mother Earth.

The theme of the activity alone summarized the event. The youth are the active participants for critical change in the communities. Hence, they need proper information and profound formation and transformation.

As church leaders, especially, the Leng-ag (Provincial Ecumenical Ministers Association), we gathered together and we walked with the youth through our teachings and witnessing.

The gathering was a beautiful picture of synodality that Pope Francis has reiterated.

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