We are featuring a series of nine Faith Sharing of Virtues of St. Anthony of Padua that were presented during the fiesta 9-day novena masses. This is the first in the series, which will temporarily replace the Sunday Gospel Reflections; after which the Gospel Reflections will return.
FEED THE HUNGRY
I work in the world of food, and one of the things that people in food know all too well is that at the end of the day, it’s not just about the food and eating, but it’s about nurturing people and contributing to their general well being. It’s about making people happy.
These thoughts crossed my mind when I was given “feed the hungry” to reflect on, but of course in my mind, I knew it had to go deeper than this.
Was it my work as one of the Heads Of Calamity – an infamous title amongst thosein the Parish Pastoral Council, often drawing snickers when I introduce myself as such? Sure, it definitely fits in. I got this job after helping round up people during the days after Ondoy – it seems we did a good enough job despite our being entirely grass roots that I merited a leadership role should the need arise again. I often tell people that I wish they would never call me – because calling me meant people were suffering. Sadly, I’ve been called to service practically every year since, with Yolanda bringing the craziest times.
It’s not a job that gives you “satisfaction,” as some people think it does. For one thing it’s quite literally back breaking work, and I have to be annoyingly persistent in asking people to come aboard and help. But more than all that, it’s the fact that these people we send aid to have lost so much. It’s this thought that I believe keeps me (and I’m sure everyone else) from feeling any semblance of self-satisfaction. I cannot possibly be satisfied when all in my mind before passing out every night is whether or not we did enough that day. If we had more people, if we had more donors, if we had more trucks to help us transport things.Always if.
I do know in my heart, however, that it’s what I’m supposed to be doing, and it’s an honor to be of service in that sense. If there is any way of showing love for your fellow countrymen, this is it. Our volunteers work hard, and they work unconditionally.
But even deeper than this is probably my work with Antioch, one of our parish youth groups, which I joined myself many years ago. Im still with them now as one of their adult leaders.This is where I know we are truly “feeding the hungry” – not physical hunger, but the hunger for finding meaning in their live, the hunger to find God and make Him real, and to walk in His steps.I’ve literally seen small miracles happen here – lives changed, doors opened, hearts put ablaze with love. I’ve seen troubled ones fall, only to be helped up by their friends in the name of doing the right thing. Deep inside I firmly believe that through the hundreds who pass through our doors, the world can become a slightly better place, even in our own little corners of it. The desire to pass it on, to spread the Good News through compassion and through everyday deeds – that will surely satisfy the hunger of many.
There is a reason why Antioch is called such – it was the place where we were first called Christians. To me, it’s where we learned to put Christ at our center. Ultimately, it is the light of Christ that is our daily food – may we always be open to allowing that light to feed our souls. And as this is a parish whose patron is St Anthony – someone who loved the poor and the needy – let us all challenge ourselves as a community to be that light for others around us as well: those who are searching, those who are lost, those who are needy, those are shunned, cast aside, ostracized, we all have the capacity to feed the hungry. Such is the heart of our faith.