It is truly an age of disbelief. Respect for the values of human life has plunged. People of Christian faith who declare belief in the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth that upholds the dignity and rights of the human person, stands with the poor and the excluded, shares with the refugees and the homeless, is at an all-time low.
Faith in serving one's suffering neighbor as a Good Samaritan, binding up the wounds of the stranger, reaching out to feed the hungry, working for peace and justice is lost in a world of materialism where the ideology is "greed is good." Our prosperous world of money and power, wealth and possessions has created a generation of people that appears to be more interested in selfish satisfaction and glorification.
Much of the younger generation is absorbed with themselves, cut off in isolation by technology and gadgets and games from loving, serving human interaction. This is a lonely, isolated generation. They seem to retreat into silence and inaction rather than take an open stand for the victims of human rights, child abuse and exploitation. Few march for peace and against racism and war. Where indeed are the cries of those who believe in the love of neighbor and the service to the oppressed and the exploited poor? They are drowned out by the noisy blare of mindless revelry.
There are brave and courageous Christians sacrificing themselves but they are mostly unsupported and are voices crying in the wilderness. Pope Francis strives to revive the faith of Jesus, which is lived out through commitment for the oppressed and a true option to live and work for social and gospel justice and truth. We are in challenging times for our beliefs and values and facing great evils.
In the Philippines, the so-called war on illegal drugs is chalking up ten killings of drug addicts and suspected pushers a day for the past several weeks, and there is no end in sight. They are mostly poor slum-dwellers.
If we think we are going to gain eternal life without passing the test that Jesus of Nazareth gives- to end hunger, release innocent prisoners, clothe the naked and feed the hungry (Matthew 25) and work for justice and love of neighbor- we are mistaken. What greater way is there to live than to live for others and not for self.
Columban Fr. Shay Cullen lives and works in the Philippines.