Fear. The word fear in the “Fear God” as used in the Bible is used to describe the awesome and the highly held sacred respect people have for Him. It is definitely very different for the word fear used to describe the reaction to a curse or as in the fear of death.
In an organized memorial held for the late Bishop Richard Abellon last week before his remains were brought home to Sagada, Mt. Province, friends and family shared their stories at the Cathedral of the Ressurection, of how the so-loved Bishop touched their lives. It was not the usual ‘forced to speak” or empty eulogies of propriety some politicians deliver especially during campaign time.
All but one story was an account of an already sacred, first-hand experience shared with the late bishop. And, how important the lessons the bishop left with them for the future of the flock and country, that the bishop loved and served so well.
The bishop, faced with the inequalities and neglect dealt on the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera, he stood strong and consistent in support for human rights and for a people based community development. He supported fact-finding missions to check on the issues and fears of the people against state repression under the martial rule of the late president Marcos.
Community development programs initiated by peoples’ organizations like the Cordillera Council for Justice and Peace (CCJP), Cordillera Development Conference, the Montañosa Research and Development Center (MRDC) and the Covenant are among those he inspired. He worked so hard for what he believed in that he too was taken a political prisoner during martial law.
One touched by the bishop’s life example of hard work, caring and selfless service to God’s flock, to his congregation, family and to his country was today’s first victim of enforced disappearance in the Cordillera – James Balao, who was a student and office staff member of the bishop.
It was uncalled for, not his place or disrespectful for a politician or anyone to interpolate these honest, sincere accounts and tribute to the bishop. The bishop’s life example so worthy to emulate among his flock whom the bishop led very well by his diligent example does not put fear in peoples’ hearts. It just builds compassion to do what is right. #