Bishop urges Negros Catholics to keep faith amid killings
ILOILO CITY — Noting the recent series of killings on Negros Island, San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza called on Catholics on the island to strengthen and deepen their faith as they confront their situation.
“During this Holy Week, we must strengthen and deepen our resolve to follow Christ even if it leads us to our own Calvary and death on the cross because we have faith and trust in the certainty of the resurrection!” Alminaza said in a message posted on his Facebook page.
He likened the current situation to the time of Jesus Christ and Pontius Pilate.
“Like the Jews who rejoiced to welcome the Lord as He entered Jerusalem saying, ‘Hosanna Son of David!’ and were also the same people who screamed in front of Pontius Pilate, ‘Let him die! Crucify Him!’, we too are very much capable of doing the same thing today,” Alminaza said.
“We must sadly and humbly admit that we too are capable of betraying, abandoning and rejecting our God even to this day. How many defenseless people have already been judged before the Pilates of our times?” he said.
The prelate cited the killing of nine people, mostly sugar workers. in Sagay City on Oct. 20, 2018. They were attacked by heavily armed gunmen after they occupied a disputed property.
Alminaza also cited the more than 30,000 victims of extrajudicial killings and those who died in police operations in the government’s so-called war on illegal drugs.
He said there were also the “unabated killings committed by both the (New People’s Army) and the security forces, the cold-blooded murders of politicians, police personnel, businessmen and other civilians.”
The killing of six persons in December last year and 14 others on March 30 in Negros Oriental in police operations purportedly against loose firearms “left a climate of extreme fear and anxiety among our communities,” he said.
“These are but a few examples of the many painful realities that continue to disturb and challenge us as disciples of Christ,” he added. “Undeniably, we all have sinned – not only by doing evil but also by our failure to do the good we ought to do. May we acknowledge and repent for our sins since our God, who is without sin, freely offered himself as a sacrifice for our redemption.” /atm
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