Trinity Sunday, Year B-2012
- Be all the more eager to make your call and election firm (2 Pt. 1:10—NABRE)
Why is it that Philippines is mostly a Catholic country while the neighboring countries are not? How come it is the Filipinos—along with the Chileans, according to a recent study published less than two months ago —who most believe in God?
The historians, the sociologists, the social psychologists and the cultural anthropologists have their answers, for sure. But for the Catholic believers of the Philippines, and also of Chile and other countries, the only explanation that counts ultimately is basically the same one that we find in the first reading: the decision of the provident God. It is he who takes a nation for himself from the midst of another nation and chooses it to be his people, at times writing straight with crooked lines, for example, by not allowing the conduct of those who come with the sword and the cross in hand—as though the two have something in common—to be altogether a hindrance to evangelization.
It is by the grace of election that we Gentiles were cut out of a wild olive tree and grafted into a cultivated olive tree, and thus came to believe in the same one God of the Israelites (Rom. 11:24; Dt. 6:4). It is God who favored us besides with the revelation of himself as the perfect communion of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, which overflows with love that it cannot but be both missionary and maker of missionaries (Jn. 14:26; 15:26; 16:7; 17:18; 20:21). It is not we who choose Jesus, but rather, it is he who chooses us (Jn. 15:16).
Aware of the divine initiative and of our condition at the time of our calling, and acknowledging as well that we do not possess anything that we did not receive, we will not boast as if we are above others (1 Cor. 1:26-29; 4:7; 15:9). Being chosen does not mean superiority but rather the responsibility to do what is good and to avoid wickedness, for which certainly the chosen will not go unpunished (Am. 3:2). Instead of presuming too much as though everything depends on us, we will show our gratitude to God for our calling, and for the Spirit of adoption we received from him, through our observance of God’s statutes and commandments. And we will be missionaries to all nations, teaching them to keep all that Jesus has commanded us, but seeing to it that we know it ourselves and abide by it.
It is so that we may go on a mission and bear enduring fruit that Jesus has chosen us. Such a mission demands, of course, that we missionaries “live together as having but one heart and one soul,” to cite St. Vincent’s instruction , “so that by this union of spirit” we “may be a true image of the unity of God,” of the three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity. Said mission forbids inflammatory rhetoric that only contributes to our becoming so polarized that we end up screaming at each other across a divide that is impossible to cross.
The same mission also requires that in those so-called Catholic countries where there is so much poverty, like the Philippines, missionaries do what St. Alberto Hurtado, S.J., did in Chile in 1941. Without failing to recognize, like St. Vincent , that “remaining still, above all among the rural folks, is deep faith in Divine Omnipotence, trust in Heaven’s protection, a depth of Christian life that shines through in an inexhaustible charity, unlimited goodness, gratitude for every good done, loyalty, disinterestedness,” St. Alberto put into question Chile’s Catholicism and prophesied by words and deeds against a luxurious and squandering lifestyle that contrasted with the misery of the populace .
Indeed, where among Catholics there are divisions and indifference toward the poor also, there discernment of the body of Christ is lacking and put in doubt is such place’ or country’s election.
-  Cf. http://www.norc.org/PDFs/Beliefs_about_God_Report.pdf (accessed May 29, 2012).
-  P. Coste IV, 235-236.
-  Ibid., XI, 200-201; XII, 171
-  Cf. ¿Es Chile un País Católico? at http://www.memoriachilena.cl/archivos2/pdfs/MC0003658.pdf (May 29, 2012).
The Spanish version can be accessed at/La versión española se puede leer en http://somos.vicencianos.org/comentarios/2012/05/31/ciclo-b-la-santisima-trinidad-reflexion-de-rosalino-dizon-reyes/#more-1628.