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Monday, November 11, 2013

The Suffering of The Filipino People

The Suffering of The Filipino People
Nothing can ever compare to the suffering and death of Jesus in the cross. But we quickly recall the cries of anguish of the Man in Cross as we bear our own crosses in 2013, our "Annus Horribilis"(horrible year).
Yolanda is but the latest of a sequence of human and natural disasters to have hit the Philippines in recent months including floods in Mindanao and Luzon, the violence in Zamboanga and the earthquake in Bohol. In addition, we also have the world-class thievery of our corrupt legislators in the "Pork Barrel" scandal. 
We ask ourselves that painful question: "My God,  My God , why have You abandoned the Philippines?"
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."
Gospel of Luke 23:34
Jesus is looking down from the cross just after he was crucified between two criminals.He probably remembers those who have sentenced him - Caiaphas and the high priests of the Sanhedrin. Pilate realized it was out of envy that they handed him over .
But is Jesus not also thinking of his Apostles and companions who have deserted him, to Peter who has denied him three times, to the fickle crowd, who only days before praised him on his entrance to Jerusalem, and then days later chose him over Barabbas to be crucified? 
Does Jesus react angrily? No! At the height of his physical suffering, his love prevails and He asks His Father to forgive them! 
We too have our betrayers and torturers.The corrupt Pajero bishops.The corrupt TRAPOS who forgot about their oath of office and instead became brazen thieves.We also have the small band of ageing MNLF warlords who inflicted so much pain to both our Muslim and Christian brothers in Zamboanga.

"Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
Gospel of Luke 23:43
O Filipinas!
a soldier, a father,
a brother, a son,
a husband, a friend
all gave up their lives
In your greatest hour of need.
To all the Valiant Men and Women of the Armed Forces and Integrated Police:
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for risking and sacrificing life and limb in defense of our freedom in the recently concluded Zamboanga rebellion.
Hat tip to our gallant men and women in uniform.
"Jesus said to his mother: "Woman, this is your son." 
Then he said to the disciple: "This is your mother."
Gospel of John 19:26-27
Jesus rises above all the pains and sufferings in the cross, and his concerns are for the ones that love him. The good son that He is, Jesus is concerned about taking care of his mother. 
Many years ago, Ninoy told Noynoy, "Son, the ball in now in your hands."
Ninoy knew that he was living on borrowed time under the Conjugal Dictatorship.
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34
One is struck by the anguished tone of this expression in contrast to the first three words of Jesus. This cry is from the painful heart of the human Jesus who must feel deserted by His Father and the Holy Spirit, not to mention his earthly companions the Apostles. As if to emphasize his loneliness, Mark even has his loved ones "looking from afar," not close to him as in the Gospel of John. Jesus feels separated from his Father. He is now all alone, and he must face death by himself. 
Even by Philippine standards, the natural and man-made disasters so far have made 2013 the most horrible year in recent history. We almost feel like crying and shouting to God, "My God, My God, why have You abandoned our country?"
"I thirst."
Gospel of John 19:28
The fifth word of Jesus is His only human expression of His physical suffering. Jesus is now in shock. The wounds inflicted upon him in the scourging, the crowning with thorns, and the nailing upon the cross are now taking their toll, especially after losing blood on the three-hour walk through the city of Jerusalem to Golgotha on the Way of the Cross. 
In the Philippines, millions of people live in abject poverty. 27% of the total population live below the poverty line. 11 million are jobless. They understand Jesus' cry of thirst (and hunger).
When Jesus had received the wine, he said,"It is finished;" 
and he bowed his head and handed over the spirit.
Gospel of John 19:30
Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 
"Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."
Gospel of Luke 23:46