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The great need of the world right now is peace. The threat of war looms over us. The single world power, super power, is threatening to wage war in order to safeguard the peace of the world. How contradictory. We want to secure the peace of the world and we do it by war. The only way to peace is peace. Peace cannot be achieved, secured and promoted through the weapons of war.
If we want world peace, we must pray. A world at prayer is a world at peace. If we want peace, we must forget selfish ambition and think of the common good. If we want peace, we must promote unity and reconciliation, and extend a hand of forgiveness. If we want peace, we must set our hearts on this task—one hundred percent intention to make peace. If the intention is clear, the mechanism will appear. According to Blessed John XXIII, the pursuit of peace stands on four legs: truth, justice, love and freedom.
Truth will build peace if every individual sincerely acknowledges not only his rights, but also his duties towards others. Justice will build peace if in practice, everyone respects the rights of others and actually fulfills these duties towards them. Love will build peace if people feel the needs of others as their own, and share what they have with others, especially the values of mind and spirit which they possess. Freedom will build peace and make it thrive if in the choice of the means to that end, people act according to reason and assume responsibility for their own actions.
The great need of the world is peace and the great need of our nation right now is unity. We can do so many things if we are united. The poor can be better served, the youth can be better educated, the homeless can be better protected, the problem of government corruption can be better eliminated, laws can be more speedily passed and implemented, if we are united. The will of God for us is unity. He came so that all may be one.
There can be no unity without God. Let our common love for God be our point of unity. Let us not allow our unity to be simply grounded on the needs of the present. Let us root our unity in God. In this way, our unity will go beyond political plans and economic programs. Our unity will be grounded on solid rock, on our faith and trust in God Almighty.
Our pursuit of peace and unity needs three keys—prayer, heroic selflessness, and strength of will. Our beloved President has shown a fine example of pursuing peace and unity for the world and for the nation.
The President sought the guidance of God and not politicians in declaring her decision not to run in 2004. It was a heroic decision that qualifies her to ascend the ranks of statesmen and patriots. We pray for her so that she may have the strength of will to pursue her vision for the nation against all odds, for the sake of the nation, for the glory of God. Let me share this modern parable about crises and problems.
A daughter complained to her father about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Doesn’t it sound familiar for our country?
Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on high fire. Soon the pots came to boil.
In one pot, he placed carrots. In the second, he placed eggs. And in the last, he placed ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil without saying a word.
The daughter sucked her teeth and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. In about twenty minutes, he turned off the burner. He fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then he ladled the coffee beans out and placed them in a mug.
Turning to her, he asked, “Darling, what do you see?” “Carrots, eggs and coffee,” she replied.
He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled, as she tasted and smelled its rich aroma.
She humbly asked, “What does it mean, Daddy?”
He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity, boiling water. But each reacted differently. The carrots went in strong, hard, and unrelenting but after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But after sitting through the boiling water, the inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” he asked the daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”
How about you, my dear countrymen? Are you the carrot that seems hard but with pain and adversity and national crisis, do you wilt and become soft and lose your strength?
Are you the egg, which starts up with a malleable heart? Are you a fluid spirit, but after a death, after a break-up, after bankruptcy in business, or a lay-off, have you become hardened and stiff? Your shell looks the same but are you bitter and tough with stiff spirit and heart inside?
Or are you like the coffee bean? The bean changes the hot water, the thing that is bringing the pain, to its peak flavor when it reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit. When the water gets the hottest, it tastes better. If you are like the bean when things are at their worst, you get better and make things better around you.
How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?
Mass for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
January 2, 2003
Love Like Jesus