Bernardo M. Villegas
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We Sing

           As an inveterate forecaster, I am predicting that the most famous popular song in the Philippines in 2014 will be the new composition by famous American singer David Pomeranz.  It will go viral in the internet and will fill the airwaves throughout the Archipelago.  Written by a pop star who has a long-standing love affair with the Philippines, it celebrates the resilience of the Filipino and his never flagging cheerfulness and joy.  Just listen to one stanza of the song entitled "We Sing":  "When the rain pours down and the rivers flood the town, we sing/ When the wind shakes our doors and rattles our floor/ And the world seems to hang by a string, we sing."  Very appropriately, David intends to use the proceeds from the song to help the victims of the super typhoon Yolanda. In an exclusive interview with Philippine Entertainment Portal, he related, "It's a brand new song...I wrote the music and lyrics, and it's really about my experience having come here for all these many years, of Filipinos and how resilient they are, and the feel of the lives that I experience when I come here...In a way, it's a bit of a love song for the country."  In launching the song in the Philippines, David will be assisted by Benjie and Kay Atilano as producers.

          David, whom I had the pleasure to meet, is echoing the views expressed by thousands of foreigners who admire the resilience of the Filipinos, especially among the poorest of the poor.  I attribute this endearing trait to more than just a physiological or psychological phenomenon.  It has spiritual roots.  To use the title of the recent Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, it comes from the "Joy of the Gospel."  Thanks to the supernatural virtue of faith which most Filipinos received when they were baptized as Christians, they believe in a life after death and in the Divine Providence of God their Father who always sends good things to them, even if at times in the form of disaster, tribulation or trials.  Even in the midst of the greatest grief, their faith is their anchor.  Together with St. Paul, they are convinced that "everything works unto good for those who love God."  As a modern Saint wrote:  "Joy has roots in the shape of the Cross."

          Pope Francis gives another meaning to the "Joy of the Gospel."  The truths of the Gospel give joy to the believer, to the baptized.  There is, however, a further joy:  the Joy of the Evangelizer.  The one who brings the good news to others enjoys a double happiness.  As Pope Francis wrote in Paragraph 21 of the Apostolic Exhortation:  "The Gospel joy which enlivens the community of disciples is a missionary joy.  The seventy-two disciples felt it as they returned from their mission (cf. Lk 10:17).  Jesus felt it when he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and praised the Father for revealing himself to the poor and the little ones (cf. Lk 10:21).  It was felt by the first converts who marveled to hear the apostles preaching "in the native language of each" (Acts 2:6) on the day of Pentecost.  This joy is a sign that the Gospel has been proclaimed and is bearing fruit.  Yet the drive to go forth and give, to go out from ourselves, to keep pressing forward in our sowing of the good seed, remains ever present.  The Lord says:  'Let us go on to the next towns that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out' (Mk 1:38).  Once the seed has been sown in one place, Jesus does not stay behind to explain things or to perform more signs; the Spirit moves him to go forth to other towns."

          As we enjoy listening to the song "We Sing", a tribute to our resilience and constant joy even in the midst of adversity, let us thank David Pomeranz for proclaiming to the whole world why "It is more fun in the Philippines."  More than the physical resources that the tourists enjoy, we have a special attraction to them because of the inner joy that springs from our Christian faith.  We have to do everything possible to nurture this supernatural gift by putting it into action in our daily lives, especially in our work and family life.  As we start a New Year, let us read the Joy of the Gospel and take to heart its very practical recommendations about how to live our faith more fully and to spread it to all those around us.  For comments, my email address is bernardo.villegas@uap.asia.