Weekly Reflections: Living in critical times
By REV. LUNA DINGAYAN
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” — Genesis 1:1-3
Political, economic instability
No doubt, we are living in critical times. People in many parts of the world, especially in North Africa and in the Arab world are experiencing today political and economic turmoil. Long-time dictatorships and monarchial and authoritarian regimes are now being challenged by democratically oriented movements of awakened citizenry. It started with Tunisia, followed by Egypt, and now Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain. The spirit of freedom seems to be hovering over the face of the Arab world.
Unfortunately, many Filipinos are earning a living in these countries. Their repatriation would naturally result to a more serious unemployment problem in our country, and most likely there would be rise of crimes against properties, hold ups, kidnapping for ransom and other petty crimes. Many Filipino families are economically dependent on the dollar remittances of their relatives working abroad. As a matter of fact, our country’s economy is very much dependent upon these dollar remittances of overseas Filipino workers.
Political and economic instability in the outside world will indeed adversely affect our domestic economy. This is the problem we have to face due to the fact that our economy is export-oriented; even our human resources are exported abroad. Young people are educated and equipped to work abroad, rather than to develop our own economy. A genuine education should prepare, educate, and fully equipped our people to create jobs rather than to look for jobs. A genuine and stable economy is dependent not on jobs abroad, but on jobs locally created.
Moreover, we are also in crisis ecologically. Climate changes are being experienced worldwide. The series of high magnitude tremors, first in New Zealand, and now in Japan followed by a devastating tsunami are just symptoms of a world-wide ecological crisis. We also have our own share of such destructive natural calamities in recent past. Other Asian countries, like China and Indonesia, also suffered enormously due to earthquakes and tsunamis, respectively.
In the light of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that visited Japan, followed by a possible meltdown of their nuclear plants in Fukushima, the Mayor of Tokyo commented recently that perhaps God is punishing the Japanese people for being so proud of their scientific and technological achievements. Of course, he was heavily criticized to the point that he had to express apology for his comment.
But perhaps, the Mayor of Tokyo was right. Natural calamities make us humble before God. They would make us realize that there are limits to what human beings could do. We may be the richest country in Asia; we may have the most advanced technologies and the most modern equipments. But when natural disasters strike, we are simply reduced to what we really are: human beings, creatures with limitations. Our only hope is in God who created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1).
An American TV Host still managed to crack jokes which some Japanese people resented. He said that the Japanese are really advanced; instead of going to the beach, the beach comes to them!
Moral and Spiritual Crisis
Furthermore, we are also in crisis morally and spiritually. Our regard for human life has been reduced enormously. Human life has lost its sanctity and dignity. It has become very cheap. The long list of unsolved gruesome massacres, judicial as well as extra-judicial killings that happened in our country in recent past are living testimonies of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man.
The great number of big graft and corruption cases involving millions of pesos that remain untouched and unsolved would show to us how graft and corruption has become a tradition not only in the military, but in all branches of the government. People’s sense of what is right and what is wrong seems to have been lost. Christians as we are, we seems to have forgotten Christ’s injunction that our life is not consisted in what we own, but rather in what we share, not in what we get but in what we give (cf. Lk. 12:15).
Just recently, the victims of the Marcos Regime had finally received, after long years of waiting, their partial compensation for all the sufferings they experienced during the dark years of Martial Law in our country. Many of those who received the small amount said that this is not a measure of their sufferings, for there is no amount that could really compensate the pain they suffered. This is not also a measure of the guilt of the Marcoses. But rather it is proof of the guilt of the Marcoses. That’s why some of them copied and laminated their own checks before they in cashed them to serve as proofs of their sufferings, as well as reminders that never again should Martial Law be imposed in our country.
Some are saying that there are more victims of human rights violations during the Arroyo Administration than during the Marcos Regime. But why is it that people are not expressing their righteous indignations? Does this mean that they are already tired of struggling against the evils of a corrupt social order? Or, does this mean that the people have already embraced the evil system itself, and therefore have lost their sense of what is right and what is wrong, what is moral and spiritual? If such would be the case, then we are indeed, deeply in crisis as a people, morally and spiritually.
And there was light
Truly, we are living in these critical times. Our situation is like that of the Israelites when the first chapter of Genesis was written. Biblical scholars tell us that Genesis 1 was written when the Babylonians invaded and destroyed Judah and the city of Jerusalem was left in ruins. The leaders, the men, and all those who could walk were carried away as captives to Babylon. Only the old people who could not walk, the women and children were left behind. King Sedekiah was even tortured and chained and his sons were killed in his presence.
Yet in the midst of this hopelessness, the Priestly Writers declared their unwavering faith in the God who made the heavens and the earth, and said: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”(Genesis 1:1-3).
The Priestly Writers believed that there is hope in the midst of hopelessness because God is the Ruler yet. God made the heavens and the earth, and He continues to make his creations always new. God will make us a way when there seems no other way. God will give us light in the midst of darkness. It is in critical times, indeed, when we realize our human limitations as well as our utter dependence to the One who created the heavens and the earth. # nordis.net