When it comes to the Philippines, many tourists who have been here say that it is still the world’s best kept secret. Tourists often go to Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore, and China. Very seldom is the Philippines at the top of the travel list. The impression is that it is full of poverty and trouble, but for those who do come over, they get very pleasant surprises. English is widely spoken; the country is so beautiful; Filipinos are an incredibly warm and friendly people. As someone once said, “When you are with Filipinos, you are with family.”
Further, it is said that we Filipinos are very religious and God-fearing. However, the Gospel reminds us of something very important: Love of God and love of neighbor go hand in hand. Look at some various ways of how we treat our neighbor:
- We can throw our garbage anywhere without thinking that it could clog the drains.
- We can sing our hearts out even when it is late and our neighbors cannot sleep.
- We can do anything we want while driving, from wang wang to stopping anywhere, easily forgetting that we affect everyone else on the road.
How can we say that we Love God when we treat our neighbor badly? It is not limited to how we treat individuals directly; it also includes our actions that affect our general surroundings.
Three things we should remember:
- All our lives are intertwined. If you are a blessing, everyone gets blessed…even the generation afterwards. If one is a menace, everyone also gets affected.
- No one is an island. All of us are here because God has a mission for each one of us. He has blessed us because it is meant to be used to served others. “Walang sino man ang nabubuhay para sa sarili lamang.”
- Basis for Eternal Life. Jesus explains that the basis for eternal life is what we do to others, especially those who have less in life.
May we truly show how much we love the Lord with how much we love our neighbor. How can a country be so Catholic yet so corrupt? How can a people be so talented yet live in a country that is poor? We can have better lives by being a better neighbor. We cannot do it alone, we cannot be on our own. People need people.