The time has come to move on again
I feel like a plant that is being uprooted
instead of a sower who cannot stay for the harvest
The parting would have been so much easier
if we did not come this close.
I was a stranger and you welcomed me
into your barrio and your hearts.
I did not have a home yet I was at home with all of you.
I became a member of every family,
I ate with you and slept in your little huts.
I learned to call you by your names and heard your stories.
You brought me to your farms
and celebrated the ritual of sowing and harvesting.
I went fishing with you
and talked about your hopes
while waiting for the fish.
We went to the swamps to catch frog
when there was not enough to eat.
You shared with me everything
including your hunger.
The word brought us together.
We listened to it, shared it, lived it and celebrated it
in your nipa huts, bamboo chapels,
ricefields, the picketlines and barricades.
The word became alive and was discovered as good news
to the poor and the powerless like you,
bad news to the rich and powerful,
and to their uniformed goons.
It broke the culture of silence
and ended the paralysis.
You can now see the evil around you
you can now hear each other's cry
and can speak out and proclaim
you can move and march and struggle.
You do not need your coconut wine and sugarcane rum
to give you courage for you are filled with the Spirit.
The military hated us
and accused us of being godless communists.
The brutally dispersed teh picket and the barricade
yet it was they who became helpless
for they did not know how to fight
against a people who fought with their tears,
prayers. their songs and their hunger.
We discovered God in our midst
whose will is life not death
liberation not oppression
struggle not resignation.
Our lives and struggles became a sacrament
of liberation and salvation.
We discovered our common priesthood
when we drank for the same cup
when we shared the bread of life
and offered our bodies to be broken
for the sake of the kingdom.
Our fiestas have become celebration of the kingdom
we hope for and struggle for
when abundant food and drink will be shared by all
when only the blood of pigs and chickens will be shed
when only the burst of fireworks will be heard
when we will sing joyfully our hymns of victory
and jump and dance in our own land.
Our processions have become our march for freedom
and reminder that we are pilgrims
on the way to the promised land.
I came to evangelize you
but all along it was you who evangelized me
by your life, your faith, your wisdom.
In your faces I see the face of Christ.
You have become a community of friends and disciples of Jesus
whose liberating mission you continue.
I came as a stranger
and you called me father.
I leave as a friend and brother.
When the time of harvest comes
Fr. Amado Picardal, CSsR