Sunday reflection: Lord, teach us to become “bravehearts”

I have a confession to make. I seldom read the writings of Fr. Jerry Orbos in the Sunday Inquirer in their entirety. As is my wont, I would stop after his introductory quips and anecdotes and move on to other sections of the paper. In today’s issue, for example, his intro goes:

The story is told about a senior citizen, who, while driving, received a frantic call from his wife. “Honey, be careful!” the wife said. “I just heard on the evening news that there’s a car doing a counterflow, going in the opposite lane on the expressway!” “Gosh,” he said. “It’s not just one car, there are hundreds of them!”

And that is how Fr. Jerry gets his readers’ attention—through witticisms that hew to his main points. In today’s column, he writes about “bravehearts,” or those who stand their ground, speak their minds, and continue with their missions, in spite of opposition and persecution.

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The “Fallen 44,” the police commandos who were killed in Mindanao last week, were “bravehearts.” They went to do their mission, in line with their commitment to serve our people and our nation. There are many questions left unanswered, and many speculations and suspicions. Suffice it to say that these ordinary people from the rank and file are indeed heroes of our nation. I hope and pray that they were not mere pawns used for the personal, financial, or political aggrandizement of individuals blinded with greed and ambition. To the Fallen 44, fame! To their users and abusers, shame!

The sentiments of many Filipinos, exactly. And then he adds:

Villamor Air Base a couple of weeks ago was such a heartwarming sight, with the arrival and departure of Pope Francis. But last Jan. 29, it was such a sorrowful sight with the arrival of the metal caskets of the police commandos who perished in the line of duty. There are no words that we can say. The Pope taught us that in such moments, all we can do is be silent, cry and pray. Those who think they can “fix,” remedy, or manipulate such moments, please shut up. Just be quiet. Just be there. You don’t have to say much. You don’t even have to say anything.

Fr. Jerry ends with subtle admonitions on blaming others as a pastime, and choosing future leaders.

A Chinese proverb says: “He who blames others has still a long way to go in his journey; he who blames himself has arrived.” Blaming persons or situations is a sign of weakness and insecurity. Jesus did not blame people or situations for what came to pass. He took full responsibility and suffered the consequences of His words and actions. As I would put it, in a game of tennis, blame neither the racket nor the wind for every point lost or gained. Yes, if you face the light, your shadow is behind you.

Jesus was a leader who stood for us, sacrificed for us, and even died for us. We need leaders, not managers who just use or manipulate us. Pope Francis, following the example of his Master, is such a leader. Yes, beyond managerial skills and finesse, we need leaders who have a heart. We need so much, in our present day and time, “bravehearts”! “Bravehearts”!

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