Serve people without conditions, bishop urges laity

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MANILA, August 19, 2013—Noting the apparent trends of politicking in the 2013 midterm polls, a Manila prelate on Saturday reminded the laity of the true sense of service that is rooted in one’s love and care for others. 

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Bernardino Cortez said the Filipino faithful must strive to serve others not because of the fulfillment of their self-serving aspirations, but because of love that urges them to extend help to others while not being bounded by any conditions. 

“Ask yourself not what you can get, but what you can give. This principle is so beautiful…for there is the spirit not of the world, not of ambition, but the spirit of love shown through service,” he said in his homily during the Katolikong Pinoy recollection held at the San Carlos Seminary. 

He criticized the act of some politicians who take advantage of the Filipino electorate especially during the election season in hopes that they would gain the latter’s trust, eventually winning their most coveted posts in the government. 

“Politicians usually please voters during the election season. They show care and concern, but after the period, everything goes back to normal. It just shows that they are doing things in exchange of something that could benefit them, and not because of the love they have for others,” Cortez said. 

Reiterating what Pope Francis once said, Cortez noted, “Rich politicians keep our people poor in order for the poor to (continuously) need them.” 

He also noted the implications that power can bring to a nation and its people. 

“Power, if it is in the hands of good people, can bring a lot of good. But once power is in the hands of bad people, (unfortunate things might happen),” he said. 

Allure of money 

The prelate challenged the Catholic laity to faithfully serve the Divine and not to be lured by the wealth and riches of the world. 

“Whom shall you serve? God or money? Power or simplicity?” he asked. 

“What we should be after is not money but the word of God. Not power, but the truth…Serve the Lord and His words will make its way to our hearts,” he said. 

He urged the laity to channel their skills and talents into acts that could benefit more people, than using them for the enrichment of themselves alone. 

“The Lord blesses us in immense ways but we sometimes tend to use those blessings in self-serving means. We can actually do a lot of things if only we would connect everything to the image of the Lord who is loving and always willing to give,” he said. 

Cortez reminded people of how greed corrupts by noting that glorifying riches may lead to the destruction and manipulation of humans by worldly factors. 

He reminded the faithful to let love reign in their lives and make the spirit of service alive in their day-to-day living. 

“We cannot give what we do not have. We cannot share what we do not experience. The truth is we are loved by God and that love is experienced through the love of others,” Cortez said. 

“We are loved by God not because we are rich or powerful. We are loved and chosen by God not because of need or duty, but simply because of the essence of love itself,” he added. (Jennifer Orillaza)

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