News / November 10, 2016

How about Operation Good Shepherd

Opinion, Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 10, 2016
National Council Member, Reginald B. Tamayo


We are a wounded society that needs healing. The extrajudicial killings are just an indication of how serious our wound is.

I am speaking of the social wound of disconnectedness, alienation or depersonalized relationships. We exclude the suspected drug pushers and users from our own families and communities as if they a separate species. We seem to view them as the cause of our social wounds, hence, we isolate them; worse, we exterminate them, thinking that our society would be better off and restored to health once we get rid of them.

Let us learn from Jesus, the Good Shepherd. In Luke 15:1-7, Jesus compares Himself to a shepherd who goes after a lost lamb. The lost lamb isolates itself, deliberately or otherwise, from the flock. It wanders away from the flock into an unknown, dangerous grazing area, feeling unsafe and thinking, perhaps, of itself as the least among the sheep.

The Good Shepherd pursues and looks for lost lambs. And when He finds them, does He break their legs or punish them for being wayward, or kill them? No. He instead lovingly carries them on His shoulders and brings them back to the fold.

I presume many of our suspected drug pushers and users are wayward sheep in our society. On this premise, I call on the Church to fully assume its role as the Good Shepherd.

In this Jubilee of Mercy and beyond, the Church opened its doors to all, especially the wounded who carries the burden of sins and failures. But it is my view that it would be a welcome gesture if the Church, not only opens its doors but also goes out of its doors to seek the wayward sheep, and finding them, to invite and lead them back to the flock of God’s children and welcome them as part of God’s family. We should remember that while Jesus told the Church to “go” (Matthew 28:19-20), He also told those who are weary and burdened to “come” (Matthew 11:28).

Many had already voiced their concerns against Operation Tokhang (Visayan for knock and plead, a door-to-door antidrug campaign). We are tagged as suspected drug pushers or users when cops knock on our doors to persuade us to stop our alleged illegal drug activities.

We should also voice our concern for the Church to seriously assume its role as a Good Shepherd. Call it what you will—“Operation Good Shepherd, maybe,” to mean knocking on the doors of the homes of suspected wayward sheep, drug addicts, pushers, users or peddlers of illegal drugs; and bringing them back to God’s flock.

It is in this way that we can heal our wounded society. If the Church truly loves and cares for the wayward sheep, it should assume its role as a Good Shepherd.  And soon enough, our wounded society will be healed and will rejoice in the light of the Gospel.

REGINALD B. TAMAYO, Assistant City Council Secretary, Marikina City