By Jimmy A. Badilla
In obedience to the call of the Church to spread the Good News, Neocatechumenal Communities all over the world initiated a ‘Great Mission’ during the recently ended Year of Faith - reaching out to as many people as possible and hoping to share the love and mercy of God that they themselves have experienced in their lives thereby offering hope and salvation to the desolate, the forsaken, the downtrodden. Yolanda victims need the love of God more than all the material things that many of us want to comfort them with. It is good, proper, and just that we give them whatever relief items we can afford, but above all as Christians we are called to let them feel how God works in our sufferings, how He wants to be with us as we agonize and bear our burdens, how He wants to give us hope and invite us to believe that after all ‘Man does not live by bread alone but by the words that come from the mouth of God’. Popular Missions of the Neocatechumenal Communities in various typhoon-hit places in the Philippines are ongoing.
Estancia, Iloilo, is the Tacloban of Western Visayas. People died. Houses and properties were destroyed. The future seemed bleak and uncertain as no immediate chance at normalcy could be gleaned, except some reported plans from Canadians and other foreign groups to give sustained support for rehabilitation to those severely affected by Supertyphoon Haiyan/Yolanda. And the Philippine Government's usual promises that yet await concrete results.
This is what I ask of you. Be shepherds with the smell of the sheep. POPE FRANCIS
Meanwhile, the people of Estancia needed to grab at any good thing that might come their way just to survive: food, used clothing, tarpaulin or thin roofing--anything that could help them try and rebuild their lives once more. They need to move on. And they need people, too, to talk with them, feel their pain, their loss, their suffering. They need somebody to empathize with them. They need some shoulders to cry on to. They need to feel that God is alive through their fellow men.