Archive for July, 2010

The Road to Emmaus

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Sr. Anie Montejo arrived in Brazil for the first time in mid-April.  In the following article she shares some of her reflections as she adapts to her new mission.

The Road to Emmaus

Scripture points to the significance of the road as a symbol of journey in Jesus’ life.  It was on the road that Jesus taught, healed and carried out his ministry.  Reflecting on this, I can see that in our time we also learn many things on the road that is life.  I feel that I am also on the road to Emmaus as I continue to deepen my understanding of my Christian vocation. 

In the story of the Road to Emmaues (LK 24:13-35), the disciples of Jesus were discussing what had happened in Jerusalem (Jesus’ death and resurrection) when Jesus joined their conversation and they did not recognize him.  The phrase that strikes me in this story is the question that the disciples asked him, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that have been happening there these last few days?”

As I reflect on this phrase I feel a call to be mindful.  Of what ought one to be mindful at this time?  A good look at our world today shows that we face many challenges:  violence, environmental issues, poverty, land disputes and so much more.  Am I the only a visitor in Brazil who doesn’t know what is happening here?   It is an invitation for me to explore the culture and the lifestyle of the people.

In the story, the disciples invited Jesus to stay with them and eventually they did recognize who it was who was speaking with them.  How often does Jesus talk with us on the road of our own lives? 

Right now, my own road is leading me to explore the culture of Brazil.  It’s a journey full of fun and learning.  A little while ago we were invited to a big celebration for a woman who is a close friend of the OLM sisters here in Brazil.  It began with the celebration of the Eucharist, led by three Bishops and five Priests.  The liturgy was so rich in symbols and so alive with drummers and a flutist playing.  There were also five young women who offered a liturgical dance each wearing one of the four colours of native peoples:  white, red, yellow and black, to symbolize the four directions of the earth.  The fifth woman was wearing green to symbolize the Earth itself.  The church was full of people whom this woman encountered in her 60 year journey of life which includes many long years of work and 40 years of marriage.  She was recognized as a good mother, a friend, and wonderful co-worker for so many.  Her achievements were reflected in the large number of people who had come out to celebrate with her.  Looking back on all of this I hear a call for us to become more mindful of what is happening to our companions on the journey – the human ones and the other- than- human ones.  Am I the only visitor in Jerusalem that doesn’t know the things that are happening to the Universe?  I hear a challenge to be more mindful of all the tiny events of life happening around me at each moment.

My own road to Emmaus right now is challenging, but full of fun too. I enjoy learning Portuguese and discovering the lifestyle of the people in Brazil.  As a stranger in this land, I can feel the hand of God leading me on the road to my destination of making this place and these people my home.

P-noy Ako! (I am Filipino!)

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

OLM’s and OLM Associates and friends gathered together on June 30 to watch on television the inauguration of the 15th President of the Philippines, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. 

 Quirino Grand Stand was a sea of yellow, the colour of Noynoy and his mother, Cory, for this historic event.  People from all walks of life from as far away as Tarlac arrived in droves.  It was estimated that more than 500,000 were present.  Moreover, representatives from 81 countries and various organizations, and about 200 overseas supporters came to grace Wednesday’s event.

 It all began with the singing of the national anthem, and then three religious leaders were called to lead the national prayer:  a Catholic priest, an Imam (a Muslim religious leader), and a Protestant pastor.  When they finished the prayer, a succession of Filipino songs was rendered.

 Senate president Juan Ponce-Enrile read the joint resolution of the 14th Congress declaring Noynoy and Binay the duly elected president and vice president of the Republic of the Philippines, respectively.

The excitement is filled with hope as the 15th President of our country states his desire to make “democracy reach its fullest potential: that of ensuring equality for all.”  And all felt the security of a new beginning.  Two disturbing questions were also mentioned in his speech:

“Is our government beyond redemption?  Has it been written that the Filipino’s lot is merely to suffer?”

What is most beautiful about the speech is the acknowledgment of the present condition of the people—that most Filipinos suffer from inept, even unjust governance.  It is time, therefore, for the government to regain the trust and confidence of the people.  How will he do it?  President Noynoy says he will represent the People, and will do his best to cleanse the bureaucracy of graft and corruption.  He will be the foremost example of a true and honest Filipino citizen, meaning the Filipino people are his boss.

What is note-worthy about his speech are his thoughts on transforming government, from an inept and tyrannical one to a participative government, one that hears and opens itself up for criticisms and observations.  Aquino vows to effect a feedback mechanism, a communication system, whereby government will be able to adjust its policies based on the people’s perceptions and views.  This is the first time that government will try to effect a participative or a responsive system, a system which relies on a mass-based feedback mechanism.

The core message of the speech though is simple—for change to occur, the people must take part in the process of nation-building.  The inauguration ended with the oath taking of the different sector’s representatives led by Sr. Mary Grace Mananzan, osb proclaiming “P-noy ako!”  (I am Filipino!)

by Lorie J. Nuñez, olm