CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 August 2019

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Healing Hong Kong’s trauma

HONG KONG HAS been seriously injured due to backlash to the now-suspended extradition bill.  The School of Public Health of the University of Hong Kong found that nearly 10 per cent of people in Hong Kong were found to have suspected depression in the past two months in the course of the last two months and that the city it suffering an “epidemic of mental health” issues.
 
Many organisations are trying to remedy the situation by helping people deal with emotional distress: the Catholic Ad Hoc Group for Psychosomatic and Spiritual Care has different activities and workshops for the caring of mind, body and soul, Caritas-Hong Kong and local non-government agencies are expanding their counselling services, while some Christian social workers are actively extending a helping hand by listening to and comforting those young people in need.
 
The traumas with which the people of Hong Kong are presently wrestling with are also due to accumulated pain and suffering. If the root of the problem is not addressed, any remedial work is just a drop in the ocean.  There are various causes, including: a sense that no matter how hard one tries it seems all efforts useless; that even their if passion for learning and serving others is no different from prior generations, the present generation is dismissed as “worse than the last”; and then there is the alienation between the police and the people, caused by the city leadership mistakenly using law enforcement to fix a self-inflicted political problem.
 
When dealing with trauma and injury, people may lapse into anger despite having tried their best to cope. However, human ability is limited and we cannot solve this problem on our own. Christians, can turn to God and with the empowering and guidance of the Holy Spirit, they can bear good fruits after enduring pain and suffering. 
 
The gospel story of the Good Samaritan can be the model of how caring for the injured. The Samaritan did not hesitate pour oil and wine on the injuries to bandage up the wounded man.  He then brought him an inn and even asked the innkeeper to look after this man. The Good Samaritan reminds us how selflessness and compassion eases suffering. The accompaniment and guidance of the Church is just like the hospitality of the inn; people who suffer may be healed in body, heart and soul, and take back control of their direction in life. The nourishment of the sacraments is just like the wine and oil as they heal our woundedness.
 
How the Church cares for the injured with empathy can show people how face the current situation: with love and hope, reconciliation with yourself and others, thus regaining inner peace and joy.  
 
The core element of reconciliation is forgiveness, a gift we can receive through pray. Therefore, those who are going to heal need to first to pray for strength before accompanying the suffering.  Let’s remember what God says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
 
To break the present deadlock, we cannot simply treat social issues as if they are emotional or psychological problems. Restoring justice is still the priority in addressing the root cause and the medicine can be those words written on the Post-It notes which are stuck to the Lennon Walls which have sprung up around the city: Freedom, Democracy and Justice.  
 
Let’s follow the diocese’s suggestion to fast every Friday this summer, and through these acts of sacrifice we can be like more Good Samaritan: accompanying, listening to and bandaging the injured. SE