Shun apathy, embrace sensitivity to needs of others—bishop

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MANILA, Oct. 2, 2013—Noting the negative effects of apathy to a nation, a Catholic prelate on Saturday called on the Filipino faithful to act against the various social ills plaguing the country by being more sensitive to the needs of others.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said that the long-standing problem of poverty in the country does not root from the country’s lack of resources, but because of the people’s lack of concern to the affairs of the state and plight of their neighbors.

“The Philippines has a lot of human, financial, and environmental resources but why are we still marred by poverty?”Pabillo said in his homily during the Generosity Conference held at the San Carlos Seminary.

“One reason for this is the lack of equal partitioning of the country’s riches to both the rich and the poor—some are living in abundance, while some have literally nothing,” he added.

“We do not care if our country is breaking down in shambles and if a lot of our brothers and sisters are suffering in poverty,” he said.

Avoiding apathy

Pabillo also criticized the indifferent nature of Filipinos with the plight of others, noting that this kind of apathy will lead the country to its downfall.

“For us Filipinos, it has become a virtue not to meddle with the affairs of others. This virtue is good if it is done out of respect, but it becomes bad when it turns to indifference and insensitivity to what is happening around us,” he said.

“Let us remember that we are all accountable to our brothers and sisters. Sins are constituted not only of the acts that we commit, but also of the acts of goodness that we fail to do,” he added, noting that the same principle applies to the vigilance of the people to the affairs of the state.

“This is a call that we must fulfill by the virtue of our being Christians and Filipinos. If we will remain indifferent with the issues faced by our country, if we will do nothing and continue with our lives as if nothing is wrong, this constitutes a grave shortcoming on our part,” he said.

The indifference of the majority results to the victory of the dominating few who desire to manipulate others, the prelate noted.

“Only a few Filipinos are influenced by evil, majority are still living by the virtue of goodness. But as most Filipinos choose to be indifferent to the affairs of the state, the evil desires of the few tend to rule and dominate all of us,” Pabillo said.

“This will not happen if we will do something. The indifference of the majority turns all of us into victims. If we will not sacrifice, things will just remain the same,” he added.

The joy of giving

In terms of sharing one’s blessings, Pabillo said that it will not be hard for people to give what they have if they will be exposed to the sufferings of others and if they will recognize God as the Divine source of every blessing they receive.

The problem arises when people become too possessive of the blessings bestowed upon them. Giving only becomes hard once people fail to remember that they are only stewards of what is originally possessed by God, he said.

“Let us look at the needs of others and realize that their needs are greater than ours. Do we really possess the things that we have? We are only stewards for God is the real owner of everything. We should follow His desire to share all our blessings to others,” Pabillo noted.

He reminded the laity that “all superfluous wealth is no longer yours.”

The prelate also urged the faithful to spread their generosity so they may become instruments of the Divine in reaching out to others.

“All of the blessings given to us by God are not intended solely for us. He blesses us so we may act as the hands of His goodness. Through giving time, service, and material help to others, we become the Lord’s providence to our brothers and sisters,” Pabillo said.

“Our Lord sacrificed everything for our sake—every drop of His blood, every piece of His body…Whenever we feel burdened by our service, just think about the extent of His sacrifice. Think that He gave up everything because of His love for us,” he said. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)

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