Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
Msgr. Leonardo Medroso DD
October 29, 2011
Just some days ago the 'Philippine Daily Inquirer’ carried a banner article on its front page anent the world population which is to hit 7 billion anytime these days. Relative to this is the account that while the number of children in the family has been reduced to 2.5, the infant mortality has substantially dropped and life expectancy has soared to 68 years. Released by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the statistic was received with differing reactions. Some take it as an alarming news for it augurs the threat of overpopulation with its concomitant problems in the area of economy, such as the equitable distribution of wealth and services, the creation of new jobs , housing and other necessary facilities; of the environment, such as the rise of carbon emissions, garbage management and proper disposals; of social concerns as migration of rural folks to the cities, the rising gap between the haves and the have-nots. Others take the UN report with optimism and a bit of a swagger for it bespeaks of man’s triumph on this earth: human spirit over dense matter, science over superstitions, knowledge over darkness and ignorance, modern technology over man’s limitations, confidence over the forces that ever threaten man’s life.
The true Christian welcomes the United Nations statistical data regarding population, for he is convinced that the report is a statement of fact. After all, Christian faith is about reality, flesh and blood truths. It is not a religion of the imagination, but of facts; it does not teach man what is apparently good, but what is really good. Reality is the locus of Christian faith for it is in reality where the man of faith meets his God. The God of the Christian is the God who listens to the cries of the poor, the God who deigned to take up the human flesh, and lived out his story with us, giving it up as a ransom for all.
Hence, reality has to be faced squarely. That man has survived and increased to a staggering number of 7 billion in spite of the negative factors that have so often threatened his survival, that his life span has expanded to almost 70, and that mortality rate of his children has plunged, is a good news. He has faithfully responded to what God has enjoined him to do with this world when He said: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the things that move on the earth” (Gn 1:28). The report on the reduction of the number of children in the family to 2.5 is objectively a good news. But it does not stop the man of faith to probe with the question: in what way was the number of children reduced?
The man of faith believes that the world and everything in it is a creation of God. He knows that the world did not just pop out from a big explosion, for he believes in the existence of a Transcendental One who created everything out of nothing and breathed into man’s nostril the breath of life. He knows too that this Creator of his is a personal God, a God of the living. He knows that God came into this earth and declared to His creation: “Do not be concerned for your life, what you are to eat, or for your body, what you are to wear. Consider the ravens: they do not sow, they do not reap, they have neither cellar nor barn – yet God feeds them. How much more important you are than the birds. Which of you by worrying can add a moment to his life span? … Stop worrying. The unbelievers of this world are always running after these things. Your Father knows that you need such things. Seek out instead his kingship over you, and the rest will follow in turn” (Lk 12:22-25; 29-31). The man of faith therefore walks this earth with confidence and poise no matter the forces that threaten him.
It is for this reason too that the Holy Father having perceived the many fears that have hounded modern man came out with a Letter “Porta Fidei” announcing a year long celebration of Faith by 2012. He knows that man has gone astray because of these fears that he has forgotten to hope and to love. He knows that left to himself man can easily be swamped by thousand and one existential problems and death threatening events. The proclamation of the content of Faith should bring man to a personal encounter with Christ, know His ways, understand a little his plans. Or it should bring God into the consciousness of man so that he can realize that God’s hands made him and shaped him in his mother’s womb, that God’s Law is always right, governing the world in perfect harmony.
Through the celebration of the Year of Faith we are hopeful that the world alarmed by its 7 billion citizens would soon realize that God is more powerful than all our problems. The Holy Father put it this way: “To a greater extent than in the past, faith is now being subjected to a series of questions arising from a changed mentality which, especially today, limits the field of rational certainties to that of scientific and technological discoveries. Nevertheless, the Church has never been afraid of demonstrating that there cannot be any conflict between faith and genuine science, because both, albeit via different routes, tend towards the truth” (Porta Fidei).
Christ being with us this earth of 7 billion warm bodies is still our best possible world.