Communion of life, love and truth
Rev. Eutiquio ‘Euly’ B. Belizar, Jr., SThD
By the roadside
You were on your way home from Manila. At the airport you excitedly headed for your flight’s gate. There was a lady and a gentleman at the counter lazily chatting, one of whom only glanced at your ticket, then ushered you in. Relaxing yourself at your seat, you suddenly fell asleep and woke up only when the captain announced that the plane just safely landed at Mactan International Airport. You felt like a ton of bricks hit you. You were supposed to reach Baguio
City, not Cebu.
The right destination matters.
What is our right destination? Vatican II declares that it is “the kingdom of God… established by Christ as a Communion of life, love and truth” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church or Lumen Gentium, no. 9).
In simple terms this means that if we find ourselves surrounded by death, hatred and lies, we have reached the wrong place. We would neither be happy or at peace. We have to find, even grope or claw our way back to where life is valued, love is practiced and truth is adhered to and lived by. These are the marks of God’s kingdom.
But why life?
Because of God’s nature. The one God is the living God, the God of life. So says Jesus the Christ: “He is the God of the living, not of the dead. All are alive in him” (Lk 20:38). It goes without saying then that his People must stand for life, consequently for the culture of life, not of death. Where people are getting slaughtered every day for any reason whatsoever God’s People cannot be silent or approving, else they betray the kingdom. When the silent majority keeps harping on the sound of silence in the face of the not-so-silent massacre of alleged drug offenders etc., the Church must ever constantly sound the prophetic alarm, or she becomes a caricature of herself.
But why love?
Because “God is love”, so teaches John the evangelist (1 Jn 4:8). We therefore also betray the kingdom when in the guise of love of country we stop looking at some people as our brothers and sisters and make them objects of “search and destroy” missions. I was swatting flies and mosquitoes when it hit me why. I saw them as carriers of disease and other health hazards. Haters do not see people as people but as things, as carriers of disease, destruction or worse. But we need to make necessary distinctions. Animals and things do not cease to be animals and things even when we dress or call them human names; humans do not become animals or things even when we reduce them to objects, such as “carriers of disease” or destruction.
In the Scriptures truth means everything God reveals particularly in Jesus Christ who identifies himself as “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (Jn 14:6). No wonder when Pilate asks him, “What is truth?” (Jn 18:38), Jesus is silent. Pilate is staring at the answer in the face. Lies have always been told and bruited about among human beings by human beings. In our time there is a plethora of “false news” in social and mainstream media. No matter what or where, lies proliferate where people are not grounded on the God of truth who reveals himself through the Scriptures, the Church and its teachings, just men and women’s words and deeds, graced events of life and history–that is, through signs of the perfect revelation, Jesus Christ. We need to tune in to the right signal-makers, not to the false ones.
The Philippines today is surely marching forward.
But are we headed in the right direction? Are we seeing signs of the “kingdom” or of its antithesis along the way? And do we care at all when instead of the culture of life, love and truth, we find ourselves cultivating the culture of death, hatred and lies?