Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
— Martin Luther King Jr.
IN one of his campaign sorties in Los Baños, Laguna, Progressive Movement for the Devolution of Initiatives or Probinsya Muna Development Initiative (PROMDI) standard-bearer Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pacquiao explained why he had decided to run for president.
Pacquiao revealed that it was not about gaining fame or fortune but rather his enormous desire to serve God and to save the millions of poor Filipino families from abject poverty aggravated by the prevalence of corruption.
But at the start of the gathering held at the Los Baños Grand Harvest Ministries activity center, the People’s Champ, instead of outlining his political platform and agenda to the pastors and members of the Laguna for Jesus Movement, first gave an exposition of God’s love and goodness by preaching the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats.
This parable is found in Matthew 25:31-46 and here, Jesus uses the example of a shepherd who separates his sheep from his goats in order to help his followers understand what judgment will be like.
Jesus explains that people will be separated into two groups: those who have lived good lives and believed in God will be put on one side and have a place in Heaven while those who have rejected the belief in God and sinned in their lives will be placed on the other side and will go to Hell.
The Parable of the Sheep and Goats strongly encourages Christians to take action to help those in need. In this parable, Jesus makes it clear that a life worthy of the reward of Heaven must involve actively helping people in need.
Jesus explains that helping a person, no matter their status is just the same as helping Jesus himself and is, therefore, a duty for all Christians.
According to Pacquiao, in our life and in any situation, we should put God first. He stressed that “the greatest hindrance (to any one of us) is when we assume we are worthy of heaven.
In Matthew 7:21 to 23, he recalled: Not every one that said to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and in Your name have cast out devils, and in Your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity.
And to even give more weight to this, he highlighted how it is worthless to claim one is Godly in Hebrews 10:26, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left.”
Pacquiao mentioned how many Christians are now compromising their faith because of their desire to escape extreme poverty and hardship. He remembered how he once was asked to choose between divorce and abortion in order to win (the elections).
“Huwag na lang po akong manalo . . .” he said he had answered in order to emphasize that he would never compromise himself at the expense of losing his principles and faith.
And looking closely at what is happening today in our country, he sadly described it as something not normal: Our inequities are forcing God to turn away from us!
He stressed the need to repent, to fast if need be (for three days) in order to receive God’s guidance in making decisions, particularly in the exercise of our right to suffrage.
He asked those gathered: Maniniwala ba kayo sa mga pangakong wala sa puso?
In what could be considered a reply to this, he advised that “we should practice what we learn from God’s teachings.”
“My passion is to share the goodness of God and how faith can strengthen us,” he added as he veered towards what kind of leadership and governance he would bring if the Filipino nation gave him the mandate for the presidency.
“Tumatakbo ako para sa Diyos, para sa bayan. Isusulong ko ang tunay na pagbabago na kikitil sa katiwalian sa gobyerno. Mahigit isang dekada, nakita ko ang korapsyon from the highest to the lowest position . . .”
The People’s Champ cited that the time for reform is ripe.
“This is our time. Ang laban ko ay laban ng bawat Pinoy.”
“My commitment to clean our country of corruption is not to our people alone but more importantly to God.”
In ending, Pacquiao also recalled how his critics described him as unlettered that’s he does not deserve the highest post of the land.
The truth though, he said, is that nobody can find fault in him except for being below par the education his detractors have obtained, and this is why they continue to lambast him about his lack of knowledge.
Could be . . . but what have we really gained from those we elected just because they profess to have wide experience and intelligence?
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