09 November 2009

8-9 November, Days 28-29: update on kidnapping of Fr Michael Sinnott

Philippine Daily Inquirer, 7 November 2009

Every week the Philippine Daily Inquirer features a cartoon of a person currently in the news. The paper has been giving excellent coverage to the situation of Father Mick.

Today is Fr Mick Sinnott’s 29th Day in captivity. The days grow longer but the word of God continues to encourage and give us hope. 'God is our refuge and our strength, an ever present help in distress. Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea' [Ps. 46].

I arrived in Manila yesterday afternoon and had two meetings, one which lasted over two hours. I also had to opportunity to discuss some of the issues less formally with another person. It was late when I got to bed. Today was also a day of meetings and I was out of our house from 10.40am until 7.30pm. Though tiring, all of this is evidence of the number of people who are willing to lend their time and knowledge as we continue to do what is possible to have Father Mick released soon.

The readings at Mass this morning are also encouraging. The first reading speaks of the river of healing water that flows out from the dwelling of God into the world and brings healing to all. We are once again reminded of God’s desire and dream for his creation. And in the Gospel, a 'zealous' Jesus drives out all that obstructs this dream becoming a reality. Maybe it could be symbolic of our hearts? When too many ‘concerns’ overtake our hearts such that they are no longer a place of prayer – attentive listening to the word of God and our response of praise and action – we become emptied of true life. Our relationships suffer and we no longer see our own true value or that of others. And people are abducted and used as ‘barter’.

Today was a very sad day for the family of Gabriel Canizares, 36, school principal, who was kidnapped in Patikul, Jolo, on October 19th last. He was decapitated by those holding him and his body found today. Our hearts can only go out to his family as we pray God to bring Gabriel into the joy of his kingdom and some comfort to those who mourn. Let us pray that the ‘healing waters’ that come from the heart of God will also heal the hearts of those who did this, that it may never happen again.

Tonight Father Mick is entering his 30th night in captivity. We continue our novena to Our Lady of Good Remedy that she will keep Mick and all other captives safe this night. May she soften the hearts of those who are holding him and all others with the healing waters that flow out from God. Let us dare to hope that Mick and others will soon be free.

I return to Pagadian tomorrow (Tuesday).

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