Disasters, Natural and Man-made

The Philippines is regularly visited by natural calamities: typhoons, earthquakes, landslides, storm surges. These events often bring out the best in our people. During these times, we usually are able to come together as a caring community to show compassion and help one another. People become more generous, unselfish and totally giving. This is probably the reason why we are often able to rise up again and again disaster after disaster.

Alas, the Philippines is also visited often by disasters of our own making, like what we are going through right now after the Mamasapano debacle. And such events often bring out the worse in us as a people. During such times, people are so easily given to bickering, hatred, anger, selfishness, greed and lust. It is still the season of Lent and these are probably God’s signs to us calling us to repentance and meaningful changes in our lives.

The great theologian, Karl Barth, reflecting the horrors of the First World War saw the hand of God in the unfolding of those grim events. I reflect on these insights from Fr. Robert Barron:

From the quiet of his parsonage in Switzerland, Barth followed the horrors of the First World War, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands, the devastation of nations, the collapse of the European social order. Then something dawned on him: it was precisely the inflated self-regard and hubris of nineteenth-century liberalism that led to this disaster.

He saw the European powers as descendants of the Tower of Babel builders, attempting to reach up to God on their own terms and in their own way. Behind the sunny confidence of the liberal period, he discerned arrogance, imperialism, and colonialism. The advances of science were made possible through the rape of the environment and economic comfort for some was made possible through the enslavement of others.

In the end, bad personal habits have bad consequences, but bad national habits have bad consequences as well. 

I pray for the Philippines and our people that we listen to the stirrings of the Spirit in our hearts and harken to the Lenten call to repentance and reconciliation.

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
~ Psalm 95

Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute,
and when the demon had gone out,
the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed.
Some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons.”
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
. . . .
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
Luke 11:14-23


This entry was posted in Philippines/Filipino, Presence, Spirituality and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s