MANILA, Sept. 16, 2015 — It is through small, generous acts that will lead to the Kingdom of God, and collecting 25 centavos to help raise funds for Pondo ng Pinoy projects is one.
This was the message of Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales to more than a thousand catechists, students, and nuns of the Diocese of Malolos gathered on the occasion of the 10th founding anniversary of Pondo ng Pinoy in the diocese, held at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center on Tuesday.
Being the proponent of Pondo ng Pinoy project, he recalled its essence which focuses on accumulating funds by gathering even a meager amount each day. According to him, its spirituality is lifted from the parables of Jesus about the Kingdom of God.
“The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed,” he quoted. “[It is] like a pinch of yeast mixed into the flour… What will grant us entry to the Kingdom of God is the small things we did… Do something good, no matter how small, will lead you to heaven.”
Not St. Peter
Emphasizing this message even more, Rosales explained the tradition of St. Peter being the first person people will see in heaven as the “keeper of keys” of heaven is wrong.
He cited St. Matthew’s Gospel about the corporal works of mercy such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and giving water to the thirsty. According to Rosales, it is evident here that the first persons one will see in heaven are, in fact, the poor.
“When we eventually reach heaven, we’ll meet all the poor [we had helped.] You’ll meet there the man you fed, or even the man whom you shared a cup of coffee with. All of them, lined up in the door of heaven. Where is St. Peter?” he said.
Big amount not needed
The cardinal stressed that Pondo ng Pinoy is indeed a fund-raising program of the Church, but tremendous amounts of donations are not encouraged.
“The Lord would want us to give 25 centavos filled with love everyday than [tremendous amounts like] 20 thousand just to get rid of you. That is not charity,” explained Rosales. “Love is a Christian way of life.”
“God will multiply grace that has come from the poor, because Pondo ng Pinoy is a democratized charity. All are giving and are given something; all in the name of love,” he added.
Let go of comfort
Inspired by the words of the Pope Francis in his encounter with the youth last January, Rosales urged the faithful to avoid ”wallowing in comfort” and be affectionate to the suffering of the poor.
“We are too immersed in our material wealth that we become ignorant of the suffering of others,” he said. “Why can’t you let go of it? Man became too rich that 25 centavos lost its value. You are no longer experiencing pain, because pain is no longer part of your reality.”
Rosales called the faithful to spread this message to all, mainly to the people close to them like their neighbors, friends, and children, so everyone will not only learn about Pondo ng Pinoy, but also reflect on its significance as they join this cause.
Furthermore, he persuaded them to invite even non-Catholics who, according to him, show strong desire to back the Pondo ng Pinoy and its sponsored projects.
For the past ten years, the Diocese of Malolos raised more than Php 13 million through Pondo ng Pinoy. It has supported Dumagat scholars in Dona Remedios Trinidad, built different Church facilities, funded the housing program of the diocese, and even parochial social and developmental programs. (Luke Godoy / CBCPNews)