MANILA, Nov. 23, 2014 – The Year of the Poor will see many activities centered on helping the less fortunate, but Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Archbishop Socrates Villegas also stresses the values of “working well”, industry and self-respect.
“Help the community in helping yourselves. Should you have no work, look for work. Should you have work, work well. Cultivate a personal sense of industry, self-respect and social responsibility,” he said in a recent pastoral letter, entitled “The Gaze of the Crucified Lord.”
Stressing the importance of being responsible, Villegas said Man should continue to work hard for himself, avoiding the temptation to just rely on another’s help and be lethargic.
The prelate had a two-fold message to the faithful: for the haves and the have-nots.
Villegas asked those whose ends do not meet, those who work “long hours”, work over time and even have a second or third job, to “gaze into the eyes of the crucified Christ” and in them feel God’s love.
The head of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan said the rich, those whose “fullness of life is the good life” needed to heed the message of the Father: to help provide for their brothers and sisters in need by sharing what they have.
According to the prelate, there is no poorer image of Jesus than that of His crucifixion. “Behold Jesus, poor. No image of Jesus, poor, surpasses this one. Jesus hangs from his Cross stripped of his clothes, his dignity, his possessions, his power, his strength.”
But, it is the same image that communicates God’s love for humanity, thus, he exhorts, “In the Year of the Poor, look into the eyes of the crucified Lord. There is no experience richer.”
The Year of the Poor opens on Nov. 23, Christ the King Sunday, as the third year of a nine-year spiritual journey for the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines. (Natalie Hazel Quimlat/CBCP News)