“Catholicism: The Faith We Profess”
Tambo Celebrates 25th Foundation Anniversary. The Parish of Nuestra Sra de la Soledad Parish in Tambo in Buhi , covers the areas in Buhi where people were affected by landslide and flood during TD Usman. The parish celebrated its 25th Year anniversary of the parish February 3, 2019. This year’s celebration is both a celebration of faith and a prayer of hope for the people. Their sincere devotion is always a source of strength in times of difficulties. (Photo credit:Mike Multo)
The church is celebrating because of the historic visit of Pope Francis to the Arabian Peninsula, an act that signifies the continues effort of the church to promote unity and peace. This spirit is felt here in the Philippines as we prepare for the 500th year of the Christian Faith in the Philippines this coming year 2021.
As we prepare for momentous event we remember when the Faith handed over, in the year 1521 through the Spaniards, to the native Filipinos, the Moros. It is truly a matter of rejoicing and celebration since our country has been holding strong to the Faith ever since, even being considered one of the largest Catholic communities in the world. Catholicism made its impact on the Filipinos as soon as it inspired and shaped theirhearts. Our forefathers founded moral values based on the teachings of Christ and it has also been expressed in all aspects of our society, including the foundation of the law and social norms, to name a few. Nonetheless, it has played a role in our national and cultural history.The Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is currently on its seventh year of preparation for this 2021 jubilee celebration – the Year of the Youth. As it nears the grand celebration, Filipino Catholic Bishops had gathered for a plenary assembly last January 2019 to discuss further activities and events for the festivity, including a possible invitation for Pope Francis to visit once again.People of all walks of life await this celebration – the youth and the laity, the religious and priests, the young and the old. However, with all of these celebrations and preparations, could we mind asking ourselves: “Do we still profess this Faith handed over to us?”
The millennial generation grew up with the emerging influence of the modern era in technology, with its ideologies and modernist perspectives. The Catholic Church has accepted the challenge and took the opportunity to spread the faith even more through the “New Evangelization”, involving modern ways of teaching Christ to Filipinos through social media, and other modern tools applicable for easier learning. It was all planned well, until the time came when these same tools were used the other way around. The social media status quo is full of fake news and lies; it became the ground for destroying the moral truth in life; it became the place of secularism and extremism; and it also became the place for violation of privacy. Advancements in technology are also being used to eradicate and discriminate the poor. Hence, we are challenged to battle against these hindrances in defense of our Faith.It seems that these present situations of our country are very unlikely of a Catholic-majority country: ideologies contrary to the Faith continue to attack the Church, especially through social media, with more and more Filipinos being infested by secularism, relativism, atheism, and the like. We even have a President who, with unfailing influence, spews profanity and tirades against Church leaders, and even leading a vast majority of the political and the civilian society against the Church.These events that occur may be surprising to us, but they are apparently not new to human history. They have been happening all along history. Even during Jesus’ time, the Pharisees and the Scribes are like people today who speaktirades against Church leaders; they mock those who speak the truth because they themselves are afraid of the reality of their evil deeds. In the other hand, the people who rant against Jesus’ teachings are like those people in social media who think they have their own moral truth; they do not know how to listen, but instead selfishly burst into cries of angst yearning for their own egocentric desires. This is not how a Catholic should be; for if it is, he is a dissenter of the faith.We are, then, reminded by St. Paul – “Stay sober and alert. Your opponent, the devil, is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, solid in your faith.” (1 Peter 5:8) Not everything that we see and experience in the society is in accordance with what God wants us to be. He wants us to discern well and to immerse ourselves in prayer and the Eucharist. The world, as we know it, is not as perfect as we seem to think. We are like fish at night that could be lured by the baiting light, only to discover that we are about to be captured.So, did the Spaniards do the right thing to spread the Catholic Faith in our country? Yes, they did. If they have not done their evangelization, we would have been pagans all along, or influenced by any other religion not in full communion with the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whose authority is handed over to the Holy Father, the Pope.However, knowing that we are blessed to have received this gift of truth from Jesus Christ, our faith is not professed well when we do not practice it, for “faith without works is dead”(James 2:14-26). Be a Catholic, not merely by name but by the way you live.