Churchgoers devoutly attend mass despite the pandemic, but Pinoy youth say the faithful should go beyond prayers and show their faith in God through their actions.
By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — Stressing that ‘action speaks louder than words, ecumenical organizations led by university students and young theologians are calling on Filipino Christians to act on the basis of their faith and practice self-denial more than religious piety during Lent.
In a statement released recently, proponents of Prophet Project, an organization composed of young Catholics and other Christians stressed that religions (all over the world and across the Philippines) must transcend books by putting faith into practice.
“We need modern-day prophets. We are a community seeking to integrate faith and justice, deep spirituality, and radical praxis. We uphold Jesus as a savior and liberator offering us liberation from personal and social oppression,” the group said in a social media post to mark this year’s Lenten season which traditionally began on Ash Wednesday, February 12.
Pointing to how religious practices like fasting and abstinence can create positive impacts on Philippine society, the group explained that “there is so much power in religion, as a social institution, (and this could serve as a way) to bring us together,” Prophet Project’s proponents added.
“Fasting, a form of self-sacrifice, could propel one to think about more than himself but about others who are poor and underprivileged. Jesus teaches us that self-denial is not passive, compliant religious piety. Rather, it is a disposition that feels and bears the weight of those who are hungry and are in need, and thus spurs the action of giving and deeper solidarity. It is a disposition grounded in justice and compassion,” they explained.
In doing “acts of justice” this Lent, the group said, it believed its members can fulfill a prophetic role.
“The call to be prophetic is more urgent than ever. Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy,” it noted.
“Fasting is a duty required of the disciples of Christ, but it is not so much a duty itself, as a means to dispose us towards other duties . . . especially in helping the poor, those who do not have jobs, the hungry and the sick. Fasting should lead to giving.”
The Prophet Project has been active in various Catholic donation drives such as helping victims of super typhoons Rolly (Goni) and Ulysses (Vamco) in 2020.
It also joined recent protests against a controversial new anti-terror law, which critics say attacks people’s civil liberties, and President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial war on drugs, which has allegedly killed thousands of innocent lives. (AI/MTVN)