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Joys & sorrows of OFWs

Published

By Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD

Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

A husband who has not returned home for three years called from Saudi Arabia. “Kumusta na kayo?”

The wife replied: “Salamat sa mga padala mong pera. Ang beer house natin ay KTV Bar na! Ang tricycle natin, taxi na. Ang one-story house natin ay three stories, at ang tatlong anak natin ay apat na!” Four in three years! How come?

* * *

That’s just a joke but it highlights a sad reality of marital and family problems among Filipino migrants due to long separation of married couples.

* * *

National Migrants’ Sunday falls on the 1st Sunday of Lent and fittingly so because the theme of the Mass is about temptation.

A spouse working abroad, for instance, can succumb to infidelity because of loneliness as a result of long separation. The spouse left behind can also fall to the same predicament.

* * *

Today our attention is focused on millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who have sought greener pastures abroad.

* * *

One wonders if the dollars earned abroad are worth it when one’s family is in shambles. To paraphrase the Lord’s words: “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but suffers the loss of his family.”

* * *

Moreover, not a few overseas workers suffer maltreatment from cruel employers, or land in brothels or sometimes on death row, like some kababayans who were meted death penalty for acting as “mules” to big-time drug dealers. Some are exposed to sexual harassment and rape.

* * *

We thank our OFWs for the enormous contributions they’re rendering to our country. But we pray that God will help them surmount the moral and family problems they’re encountering in their pursuit for a better life.

* * *

OFWs as Missionaries. Some years ago, a cabinet member of the government once related how he met an Italian minister at an international convention in Rome.

* * *

“So you are Filipinos!” he greeted. “I have a Filipina helper at home,” he said. As he tried to continue, he noticed the cabinet man and his Filipino companions were feeling uneasy, thinking he would report a bad news.

* * *

“Signori, please…don’t get me wrong,” he countered. “I’d like to tell you that ever since that Filipina helper has worked with us, our house has become very clean and orderly.

* * *

“Besides, my children now go to church regularly because she brings them, and we the parents have to go to church, too, because our children tell us.

“I tell you, she has done so much good for our family. I’m so happy we have her.”

* * *

The above and similar stories illustrate how our Filipino migrant workers have been a positive influence to the families and parishes where they’re working.

Thus, our migrant workers are also modern-day missionaries.

* * *

Temptation, Sin. Teacher asks: Ano ang pangalan ng pinakamalakas na bagyo? Juan: Tukso po. Teacher: Bakit tukso? Juan, quoting a song, says: Kasi po,”kay dami ng winasak na tahanan, kay dami ng matang pinaluha at kay dami ng pusong sinugatan.”

* * *

Note: The culprit that causes damage is not temptation (tukso) but sin.

* * *

Seminarians. The season of Lent calls us to do more acts of charity. One way of doing it is to assist the needy seminarians under our “Adopt A Seminarian” scholarship program.

For inquiries, e-mail me at belsvd@gmail.com.

* * *

God bless — the latest donors: Marie Rose Navarro, Marivic Balisi Umali, Rtc Manila, Jo Valencia, Christian Workers Move’nt COOP, Mla. City Hall.

* * *

Let’s support our seminarians. We cannot have priests, bishops, and popes without them.

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