John Awatin Walks 1 Kilometer to Serve as Lay Minister

John Awatin Walks 1 kilometer

to Serve as Lay Minister

by Apolinario Villalobos

 

John Awatin lives one kilometer away from the parish church of the Saint Martin de Porres located at Panapaan, Bacoor, and he walks to and from the said church as a Lay Minister. He has been doing the said sacrifice when he was taken in as such in June 6, 2014. But before that, he has been jobless for one year. He did not pursue his seafaring career that gave him ample monthly wage for eight years, due to seizures. Until today, he suffers from ticking of left eye. Fortunately, his seizures are already under control.

 

He was a hardworking guy since he was young, helping their mother do household chores and even going to the market on weekends. He learned how to cook and took charge of the laundry, too…all these he did, being the eldest among the brood of four. Unfortunately, both their parents left them while they were still young.

 

His parents were from Camiguin Island in Mindanao. Both of them were hardworking, a trait which he and his siblings inherited. At a young age, he settled down with Sheena who is now working with the YMCA-Manila. They are happy today with their four “angels” – Sheen, Sean, Nash, and Hans.

 

When John was rejected by manning agencies for seafarers due to his ailment, he was, as expected, so downhearted that he became reclusive. His seizures worsened so that there were times that he would just fall during attacks, despite which he persisted in attending Sunday Mass with his wife. The drugs he took did not help much as he was also emotionally affected. It was at this instance that Jun Kamatoy, a Lay Minister serving at the Saint Martin de Porres parish, thought of convincing him to become a Lay Minister to keep his mind busy.

 

Neighbors were sort of curious how such a guy who suffers from seizures and with a very minimal “exposure” to religious activities could possibly assist the priest during Mass. Practically, Jun Kamatoy risked his credibility when he assured the parish priest that John would be a good Lay Minister. True enough, after passing his orientations with flying colors, he proved his worth for such a religious obligation.

 

As he had no “decent” clothes to wear, Jun Kamatoy also gave him several pairs of pants and undershirts, as well as, a pair of shoes, while Emma Duragos, a crusader of the Holy Face, gave him white long-sleeved shirts, courtesy of her son. A neighbor also gave him another pair of shoes and two more pairs of pants.

 

Since the first day of his service as a Lay Minister, nobody among his neighbors knew that he was walking his way to the church, as well as, in going back home, except when the weather is so bad that he had to take a jeepney. The distance he covers both ways are two kilometers. I found this out myself when I saw him trekking one early morning to the church, while I was on a jeepney on my way to Baclaran. One time, too, I saw him walking under the sun still in his white long sleeved shirt on his way home.

 

When I had the chance to talk to him, I asked about his seizures and he told me that his condition has been fast improving and he feels that he would finally overcome it, although, I have observed that the ticking of his left eye is still very evident. He also keeps himself busy by attending to the needs of their children, humbly accepting his role as a “houseband”. He cooks for them and does the rest of the chores at home. We never mention God or Jesus in our conversations, although, deep in my mind and heart, I know that John is a manifestation of another miracle. At 43, John is a picture of contentment and happiness….

 Awatin Family John Sheena

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Ang Tungkulin at Responsibilidad

Ang Tungkulin at Responsibilidad
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Ang tungkulin ay hindi na dapat inuutos pa at ang responsibilidad ay may kaakibat na pananagutan sa lahat ng ginagawa ng isang tao. Bilang isang matalinong nilalang, alam ng bawa’t tao na kasama ang dalawa sa anumang pinasukan at inako niya.

Sa isang trabahong pinasukan halimbawa, alam ng isang tao kung ano ang mga dapat asahan sa kanya kaya may tungkulin siyang tuparin ang mga ito. Nakapatong sa kanyang balikat ang pagpapatupad ng mga ito sa abot ng kanyang makakaya, subalit kung siya ay mabigo, dapat siyang managot – yan ang responsibilidad.

Sa ibang bansang Asyano tulad ng Korea at Japan, ang dalawang nabanggit ay itinuturing na mitsa ng buhay at ang katumbas ay kahihiyan. Kapag nabigo sa mga ito ang mga tao doon, itinutulak sila ng kahihiyan upang wakasan na ang kanilang buhay. Para sa kanila, ang kabiguan sa mga ganoong bagay ay duming didikit sa kanilang pagkatao habang buhay at ang makakapaghugas lamang ay kamatayan.

Sa Pilipinas, iba ang kalakaran at nangyayari, lalo na sa gobyerno. Kung may mga palpak na pangyayari, lahat ng sangkot ay nagtuturuan. Mayroon pang mga walang takot sa pagbanggit sa Diyos na saksi daw nila sa pagsabi nilang wala silang kasalanan. Pati ang kalikasan ay binabanggit, kaya tamaan man daw sila ng kidlat, talagang wala silang bahid ng kasalanan. Mabuti na lang at wala sa mga “matatalinong” ito ang nagdidiin ng kanilang sinabi ng, “peks man”!

Ang mga halimbawa ng mga problema na idinaan sa turuan ay ang Mamasapano Massacre, usad-pagong na pag-rehabilitate ng mga biktima ng typhoon Yolanda, nakawan sa kaban ng bayan, ang pinagkakaguluhang West Philippine Sea, ang nawawalang pondo ng Malampaya, ang mga problema sa LRT at MRT, at mga sunog na ang pinakahuli ay nangyari sa Valenzuela (Bulacan), sa Gentex na pagawaan ng tsinelas. Lahat ng mga sangkot na tao at ahensiya ay ayaw umamin ng kasalanan. Matindi talaga ang sakit ng Pilipino na “feeling linis syndrome” o FLD!

Sa mga pangyayaring nabanggit, malinaw na walang maayos na koordinasyon na pinapatupad. Ang mga ahensiya at mga tao sa likod nila ay nagkukumahog upang makakuha ng credit kung sakaling tagumpay ang mga ginagawa nila, subalit, mabilis ding mambato ng sisi sa iba kung sila ay nabigo.

Sa isang banda naman, ang presidente ng Pilipinas ngayon ay walang humpay ang pagbato ng sisi sa nakaraang administrasyon dahil sa mga kapalpakang dinadanas ng kanyang pamumuno, ganoong ang problema niya ay ang mga taong itinalaga niya sa puwesto, na ang iba ay matagal nang dapat niyang tinanggal subalit hindi niya ginawa.

Sa panahon ngayon, maraming mga magulang ang hindi nakakatupad ng kanilang mga tungkulin sa kanilang mga anak na lumalaking suwail. Ang sinisisi nila ay ang mga makabagong teknolohiya kaya nagkaroon ng internet, at mga barkada ng kanilang mga anak. Yong ibang magulang naman, taon-taon ay naglilipat ng anak sa iba’t ibang eskwelahan dahil palpak daw ang mga titser. Kung tumingin lamang sa salamin ang mga magulang, makikita nila ang kanilang pagkakamali dahil dapat ay sa tahanan nagsisimula ang paghubog ng kabataan. Ang eskwelahan at mga titser ay tumutulong lamang.

Marami na kasing magulang ngayon na mas gusto pang makipagsosyalan sa mga kumare o umatend ng ballroom dancing, makipag-inuman sa mga kabarkada, makipag-shooting, makipag-weekend motoring, atbp., kaysa makipag-bonding sa mga anak. Ang dinadahilan nila ay ang kapaguran sa paglilinis ng bahay, pagluluto, paglalaba, pagpasok sa trabaho, overtime sa office, atbp – kaya kailangan nilang magpahinga naman! Kung hindi ba naman sila nuknok ng ka…ngahan!… papasok-pasok sila sa ganoong sitwasyon, pagkatapos ay sisisihin ang pagod! Kung honest sila, dapat ay sisihin din nila ang libog ng katawan! Sa ginagawa nila, mga anak nila ang kawawa!

Dapat isipin ng isang tao kung kaya niya ang mga tungkulin at responsibilidad sa papasukan niyang sitwasyon. Ang kailangan niya ay katapatan sa sarili, hindi ang nagpapalakas ng loob na, “bahala na”.

The Nail

The Nail
By Apolinario Villalobos

It is just a simple piece of iron with a head, and its other end is terrifyingly pointed. It comes in different sizes. Some come in the size of a match stick, some in the size of a barbecue stick, with the biggest that come as big as a thumb. Before, the nail was just made from crudely cast iron, but later, copper and brass were used so it won’t get deteriorated by rust, and today, even stainless steel is used so that it can puncture delicate materials such as thin plywood.

Our ancestors before were contented in securing their homes with fibrous tall grass and vines due to the lightness of materials that they used branches, twigs and grass. But today, due to the use of heavy materials, the nail is very important in putting together the roof, wall, floor and stairs, to come up with a house. Obviously, the nail is among the primary components in providing strength to the whole structure.

Nowadays, the nail is unfortunately being used as one of the components in making improvised bombs, and which extortionists and terrorists use in sowing dread throughout the world. In the Philippines, it is also being used as arrowhead for the “Indian pana” (Indian arrow) which hoodlums in Tondo use against their rival gangs. Still another use of the nail, though unbelievably, is in witchcraft. It is purportedly planted in the guts of victims, who claim to painfully and bloodily eliminate them through bowel movement.

The nail is part of Jesus Christ’s suffering on the cross which Christians believe as His ultimate act in saving mankind from sin. He was nailed on the cross. The nail caused Him pain. The Christian church may have just inadvertently failed to mention the nail every time the saving act of Christ on the cross is mentioned. Without the nail, would His suffering for mankind been completed on the cross? If the cross that He carried is mankind’s sin, the nail is its arrogance, the pain from which penetrated even the last sinew of His muscle!