One of my first impulses in meeting new people, specially fellow Filipinos, is to find connections and common bonds. In so many ways, I ask where they are from, where they went to school, where they have worked. Then, I proceed to find out if we have common friends and acquaintances from the places they have lived, studied or worked. And more often than not, we would soon realize there are no more than six degrees of separation between us.
Being a human person is being with others in the world. Our humanity is defined and made possible by our relationships. We exist in a web of relationships – with our fellowmen, with God, with ourselves and with nature. Fr. Boyle in talking to us about his work with the gangs in LA, shared that he tries to build and foster a kinship among the gangs that will be stronger and more powerful than the hate and anger they have for one another. Pope Francis, from Day One of his Papacy, has been tearing down walls and building bridges, reaching out and welcoming all in need of care, compassion, love and understanding.
For all the differences that divide and keep us apart, there is a lot more that binds us together. Under the electron microscope, we are all made of the same atoms and elements. In the ecosystem that the planet earth is, we live in symbiosis with one another. Even in the world of business and economics, we are realizing that a financial crisis in any one country easily becomes a worldwide contagion. And now we are seeing that pollution and the degradation of nature in one part of the world brings about climate changes to the entire planet. And in our deepest being, we are all children of the One God, no matter how we imagine Him to be.
And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” But he said to them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”