There are two aspects of this situation that we can reflect in regard to our own faith commitment and calling: 1) The discipleship of Fr. Giancarlo, and 2) our own response to this evil abduction.
First Fr. Giancarlo answered the call of Jesus we heard in our Gospel (July 1/Lk 9:51-62): Follow me. He answered without fear or hesitation, without conditions or excuses. He knew full well the cost of discipleship. He literally and figuratively put his hand to the plow and moved forward, not ever looking back. Now his unconditional acceptance of God’s call to discipleship has cost him his freedom, has placed him in a difficult and dangerous situation. His faith and trust in the Lord is being put to a great test. But we know that he has a giant-sized heart and a giant-sized faith, and so I’m sure that even now he’s contining to say to himself: The Lord is my light and my salvation, of whom should I be afraid? We should be inspired by his commitment and try to follow his example in our lives.
A second thing we need to consider today is our own reaction to this evil action. I remember back in 2000, in my previous parish in Mindanao, there was a situation were a whole family was massacred in one of the small villages up in the mountains. Our Bishop, Romulo Valles (now Archbishop of Zamboanga) addressed the community, saying that at times like this, some people, in a search for consolation, cling to the idea that it is all to be accepted as the will of God. The Bishop asserted that in this case, we can state clearly that the massacre of these innocent victims is absolutely NOT the will of God. And Bishop Valles was correct. The murder of that family was an evil act, and we know that there is no room for evil in the will of God. The same is true here: the kidnapping of Fr. Bossi is an act of evil, and not at all part of God’s plan or will.
But this presents each one of us with a great challeng. As Christians, how do we confront evil? What is our reaction as we stand face to face with evil actions? Just as this kidnapping is not in the will of God, neither can it be God’s will that our reaction is one of hatred or seeking revenge. We always talk about proclaiming the Kingdom of God, which is the expression of His will, and we know that it is a Kingdom of peace, of mercy, of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Jesus is also our model. He too was a victim of evil. As he hung upon the cross, he had the power to respond in anger and revenge upon the perpetrators of evil. Instead, he chose to pray for them: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This is the challenge for each one of us: to face evil with a heart full of goodness and mercy. It’s not easy. After all, we’re only human beings, and we’re filled with many emotions. Let us seek the help and the strength of the Lord, to overcome whatever anger and bitterness we feel. Let us be sure that the Lord is with us in our trials, providing us with the grace we need to be true disciples, true witnesses to His Kingdom of love. Let us in solidarity with Fr. Giancarlo in the belief that “The Lord is my light and my salvation. Of whom should I be afraid?”
At the same time, we continue to pray for Fr. Giancarlo. We still believe, hope and pray that Giancarlo is alive. In the name of the PIME Missionaries, I want to thank all of you for your prayers. Let us remain united, as one parish, one family and beg the Lord to send Fr. Giant back to us, safe and sound.
Fr. Steve Baumbusch, PIME/ Parish Priest/ Mary Queen of Apostles Parish/ Diocese of Parañaque/ MetroManila