Beloved: First, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions and thanksgiving be offered for all, for kings and for all those in authority, that we may lead a quiet and quiet in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our Savior, who wants all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
– The First Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy, 2:1-5
BEFORE the main topic, a very serious alert to our national leaders and all Filipinos about Taiwan’s war games at the Center for New American Security (CNAS). The Washington think tank has constructed scenarios for a possible conflict on the island involving China, the United States and some American allies, including the Philippines.
Our training in the conflict assumes the full implementation of our security agreements with the United States, in particular the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) of 2014. Stalled during the Duterte years, but now pushed to be deployed under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the EDCA would step up US military deployment here and grant access to airbases in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija and near Cebu City, Puerto Princesa and Cagayan de Oro.
In the CNAS war scenario, American planes from our country join the offensives against the People’s Liberation Army of China. And we are under PLA attack.
Maybe it’s just me, but we lose sleep when US congressmen, retired military personnel and veteran defense analysts discuss the Philippines as a base for US planes bombing Chinese forces in a conflict. in Taiwan, subjecting us to missiles and bombs.
CNAS reports include a podcast on August 27 summarizing the war games (https://www.cnas.org/publications/podcast/war-games-china-invades-taiwan) and a US TV report in May (https : //www.cnas.org/publications/video/cnas-on-meet-the-press), with a graphic depicting an American plane from Luzon attacking China (7 minutes after the start of the video) and Chinese forces fighting back (10 minutes).
Taiwan’s Full War Games Report (https://tinyurl.com/taiwanwar) contains a chart showing the PLA’s attack on our country, listed among “US allies supporting Taiwan’s defense” at page 9.
Now, if the senior officials and security thinkers of our main ally see PLA attacks on our country, so could the Chinese.
Let’s hope our leaders will do what is necessary to extricate the Philippines from such scenarios of war, including resisting US overtures for EDCA implementation when President Marcos visits New York to address the United Nations. next week. Or abandon Aquino’s dangerous 3rd Pact altogether.
‘Prayers for All in Authority’
With respect to the main topic and given the immense concerns of leaders like the Taiwan war warning we just discussed, the Mass readings on Sunday, September 18 offer prayers, encouragement and admonitions to the President at the occasion of his 65th birthday on September 13.
As quoted above, the Apostle Paul rightly urges in the second Mass reading of his first letter to Timothy “that supplications, prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be offered for all, for kings and for all those in authority, that we may lead quiet and quiet lives with full devotion and dignity.” In other words, we pray for our leaders and ourselves to be blessed by heaven so that we can have peace, dignity and goodness.
Graces and divine advice are indeed indispensable for all leaders. It is foolish pride for any leader, even of a lowly barangay, to assume that he can wield power without the help of the Almighty.
Fortunately, President Marcos knows his limits. Explaining his cabinet choices, he told interviewer Toni Gonzaga on his birthday: “One of my simplest criteria is, who knows more about this subject than I do?” And given the success of his appointees in their fields, Marcos sees them motivated by love of country, as surely God wishes.
Yet there are many selfish quarters. As recent news stories of bad governance and profiteering among the sugar hoarders and their corrupt enablers in government have demonstrated, the Prophet Amos’ First Mass Reading (Amos 8:4-7) rightly warns:
“Hear this, you who trample the needy and destroy the poor of the land! “When will the new moon be over, ask yourselves, that we sell our grain, and on the Sabbath day, that we may spread the Wheat “We will diminish the ephah, increase the shekel, and fix our scales to cheat! We will buy the lowly for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals; we will even sell the refuse of wheat! ” The Lord has sworn by Jacob’s pride: I will never forget a thing they did!”
It bodes well that in his first governance crisis over sugar hoarding and imports, President Marcos denied warnings of cronyism and corruption under his watch and unleashed law enforcement to uncover and put billions of pesos of hoarded sugar on the market. Moreover, he asked the supermarket magnates to reduce the price of sugar to 70 pesos per kilogram instead of more than 100 pesos.
Well done, Mr. President. Heaven must be happy that in the sugar controversy the government followed the responsorial Psalm (Ps 113:1-2, 4-8) in using power for the underprivileged: “Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor. He raises the humble from the dust; from the dung he raises the poor to seat them with princes, with the princes of his people.
The reading of the Gospel of the Mass of Saint Luke (Lk 16, 1-13) often makes one wonder what exactly our Lord meant by praising a scheming servant who reduced by corruption the debts due to his master to win the favor of debtors.
In a 2019 homily, Pope Francis explained the parable: “The key to reading this account is Jesus’ invitation at the end of the parable: ‘Make friends through unrighteous mammon, so that in case of failure, they may receive you into eternal habitations” (Lk 16, 9)… If we are able to transform wealth into tools of fraternity and solidarity, not only will God be there to welcome us in Heaven, but also those with whom we have shared, well administered what the Lord has placed in our hands. »
Let those who have a lot of money and power use it to build up humanity in charity and brotherhood. Amen.