Wednesday, October 31, 2007

“Be not deceived...”

And they asked him, "Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?" And he said, “See that you not be deceived..(Lk. 21,7-8)

“See that you not be deceived..” when man’s dignity is measured by the quality of his life. When man is determined by the kind of life he is living, or even, by the kind of life he will be living. Thus, one's life becomes more meaningful only because he is healthy. Or, one is more dignified because of the wealth he has and the power he wields. Thus, we find that abortion is now justified because the unborn is certainly going to be disabled! Or, that one is “allowed” to die (a euphemism for euthanasia) because of the pain and the suffering one is undergoing. But we ask: can a man become less a man because he has no money and no power? Because he is sick and old?

“See that you not be deceived..” when man is used to attain a material, passing entity, such as wealth, power and pleasure. It debases man’s dignity when he is bought and bribed in exchange for favors that usually are illicit and illegal! That is why there is condemnation of the traffic and prostitution of women and children because they have become means of achieving pleasure!

“See that you not be deceived..” when prophets come proclaiming that money can buy everything! That money is more important than man, that power has to be achieved at the expense of the lives of men, at the expense of principles and morality, that the state exists to be served at all costs, and not to protect, nourish and defend the lives of the individual citizens.

“See that you not be deceived..” when the end justifies all means. Thus, it is OK to tell a lie if only to escape a responsibility and the consequence of one's actions. It is OK to steal if only to have an easy and luxurious, wealthy life. It is OK then to have wealth without work, without social obligations, without conscience! Is it, really?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Matters of Consequence

When a wrong is repeatedly done, it somehow becomes tolerable for the many, and for the wrongdoer.

When the tolerable action is further repeated, it becomes not only tolerable, it becomes "the normal" action; the wrong has become a "right".

When the wrong has become right, eventually it becomes, to our desensitized consciences, the moral standard. The basis for which our succeeding actions are founded.

And when the very foundation of our actions is immoral, what kind of fruits will our actions, our way of life, bear?


Lest we forget:

It is NOT the normal way for government officials to receive cash, without proper receipts and vouchers. Unless, the "gift" is a bribe. And bribery is illegal and immoral.

It is NOT the usual way that public officials are elected by cheating through manipulations and erasures of public documents. Unless, one is a cheat and a liar. And cheating and lying are wrong and immoral.

It is NOT the regular way that during elections, votes are bought and sold. Unless, the buyer has no respect for the dignity of the voter, and the voter does not value his vote. For vote buying and selling are illegal, and immoral.

It is NOT a practice that a government official usually promises to somebody that "may 200 ka dito". Unless, one is a thief. And stealing is wrong and immoral.

It is NOT the standard of the justice system that a convicted plunderer, is given immediate pardon without the latter admitting guilt and remorse. Unless, the President is named Arroyo, and the convicted plunderer is Erap. For Arroyo and Erap are .....

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fear not!

I saw them from the window of the Parish Office. Three boys and two girls. High School students as could be seen from their uniforms. It was only half past two in the afternoon. Why would they be out of school at this early?

They were in a huddle. One of them was arguing with the others. The others were trying to convince her of something.

I went out and walked towards them.

"Agka natatakot! Sigue labat!" I overheard one of them told the lone "dissenter". "Do not fear! Just do it!"

I would have told them instead: Be very afraid! If you plan to do something you believe is wrong! But "Fear not!" if you do what is right and good!

Fear not in telling the truth! Fear not in forgiving somebody! Fear not in loving another!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Cycle

Once it begins, it goes around, and around. It never stops -- only because it is following a cyclic path.

"Agko amta no akin et pinatey da may unaan." An authority in the town remarked as he referred to the unkown motive why a murder was committed in the town.

San Fabian is a peaceful, rural town. Almost idyllic. It is located along the shores of the famous Lingayen Gulf. It has pristine beaches. Calm seas. People frolicking in the beaches during weekends. San Fabian has beautiful mountains, too. Hills still covered by large trees. Rivers from the Cordillera Mountains continously flow, irrigating her farmlands. Providing the much needed water in these times of dry spell.

"Balet, saya so kumadua so ginawa et petang na ulo!" Again, referring to the second death, barely two weeks after the first. He was saying that the second death was done out of anger.

There may be more deaths coming. Who knows?

But as long as the cycle of violence continues its murderous path, death being sought in anger and out of revenge, more blood will flow in this otherwise idyllic, peaceful town. The violence can go on and on because it follows a cyclic path. Death is met by death. Life for life.

But there is a better way.

Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. (Mt. 18, 21-22).