The WORD in Other Words by Fr Ferdinand Bajao SVD (Philippines) for Monday in the 5th Week of Easter
On Christmas Outreach Day 3, we were going to jail! To distribute goods to the inmates. While I agree that law offenders should gobehind bars, neat ethical arguments slipped from my rational grip when I saw the young inmates. Why are they here? Unjust practices, incorrigible delinquency, threat to society. But one sighed: Napabayaan kasi sila (They were neglected).
No one is born a criminal; one becomes it. Before getting involved in a syndicate ring, this young boy might have been estranged from a loveless family. Before getting hooked on drugs, this young girl might have suffered devaluing from family.
I felt conflicted talking about Christmas joy, hope, peace, and Christ’s freedom when later the young inmates would retreat back to their barred spaces. My head was reeling until a young man of 15 volunteered to sing for us a contemporary Christian song, Still. He soulfully rendered, “When the oceans rise and thunders roar. I will soar with You above the storm. Father, You are King over the flood. I will be still, know You are God!”
Then, I got it. This lad learned a good song because he was exposed to it – heard and was attracted to it. He might not have experienced people’s goodness or seen good models of proper living in the past, but this music captured him, touched him. Beauty held him. It became a prayer. He might not appear clean and innocentbut his singing revealed a heart capable of praying and changing for the better.
The Lord indeed does not give up on anyone, and allows Himself to be known by those who seek him. Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him (John 14, 21).
Fr. Ferdie Bajao, SVD (St. Jude Cath. School, Manila)
Source – The WORD in Other Words, Bible Diary 2020