Rising from the shambles caused by Super Typhoon Yolanda may be a struggle for some, but not for Filipinos who never forget to call on the Lord in times of hopelessness and despair.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, in a series of reflections delivered during the Prayer Service and Holy Hour for the thousands of people who suffered the wrath of Super Typhoon Yolanda, urged the Filipino faithful to continuously seek the Lord as they begin to rebuild their lives.
“We have seen pictures of raging waters, houses, and trees. We have seen lives devastated (by this wrathful storm). Could we keep ourselves from worrying? Is the Lord really enough?” Tagle said in the vernacular at the San Fernando de Dilao Parish last Saturday.
“My brothers and sisters…the Lord listened because it is in Jesus’ heart that all of our pain and sufferings are stored…There is an answer to all of our prayers, there is an answer to all of the things we seek. Through the voice of Jesus, the Lord will listen,” he said.
Super Typhoon Yolanda wreaked havoc in Central Visayas last November 8, leaving thousands of Filipinos dead and millions affected.
As of Wednesday, the National Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that the Yolanda death toll stood at 4,011, with 18,557 people injured and 1,602 still missing. The report also stated that 2,145,359 families or 9,996,065 people suffered from Yolanda’s battering.
Cry of the suffering
Tagle lifted the spirits of the suffering victims, noting that they are not alone in bearing their pain as the Lord voices out their fears and anxieties.
“Christ is not alone for when he cried, ‘My Lord, my Lord, why have you forsaken me?’ he was voicing out the cry of all mankind. Would the Lord listen to this? Would the cry of the suffering be heard?” he asked the laity.
“We believe that through Christ, those who seek the Lord here on Earth are given a voice…He gives a voice to all children and abused women, He gives a voice to those who are hungry and ignored, and to those who are suffering from the abuses of the greedy and selfish,” he said.
The senior prelate said that even if the incident might have affected the faith of the laity, they must remain strong and hopeful that a brighter future awaits them in their journey.
“As we see images of war, bloodshed, disputes, calamities, and hunger unto our television monitors, could we still sing and profess that God is love? Could we refrain ourselves from worrying?” he said.
“Don’t you feel pain whenever…you see the images of devastation? …Don’t you ask yourself if there is still any sense behind all the glorified singing?” Tagle said in Filipino.
“There is still hope in the midst of mourning. (Hope is present) as people seek the Lord, asking who and where He is.”
Part of one body
In times of different tragedies and calamities, Tagle said that it is through the unity and cooperation among His flock that the Lord’s presence is made alive.
“If others are having difficulty to see the face of Christ, maybe we should strive to be the face that they seek. If they could not hear the words of the Lord, maybe we should strive to be the voice that they long to hear. If the people could not feel the saving presence of the Lord, maybe it is through our sympathizing arms that His saving presence may be felt,” he said.
“So that those who are seeking the face of Christ may say that they have seen—even only through a shadow, that they have heard—even only through a silent whisper, and that they have felt—even only through the slightest touch, the presence of the Lord,” he said.
“We are all part of each other. The sickness of one part affects the entire body for we are not only part of each other. We are all part of the Body of Christ, which gives us the ability to be the face, voice, and touch of the Lord,” he said. (Jennifer Orillaza)