Wednesday, November 09, 2016

#MarcosNoHero

Jose Rizal is not buried in the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani.
Nor is Antonio Luna. Not Claro M. Recto. Nor Gabriela and Diego Silang. Not Macli-ing Dulag!
Nobody really knows where lie the bodies of thousands of Filipinos—heroes and heroines—who offered their lives fighting against the Spaniards, the Americans, and the Japanese.
Nobody really knows where lie the bodies of countless students, church workers, laborers, farmers, fisher-folk, comrades—heroes and heroines—who disappeared during the Marcos Regime. And the countless more who have disappeared during the Aquino, Ramos, Estrada, Arroyo, and Aquino regimes.
Philippine soil from the Cordilleras to Mount Apo is nourished by the blood of fallen sisters and brothers in unmarked, mass, shallow graves. Just like Andres Bonifacio, the First President of the Philippines, who at 34 was executed with his brother, Procopio, and whose bodies were robbed of garments and then thrown naked into a hastily dug grave.
Heroines and heroes, all of them. And each of them are alive. In our collective memories. In our shared history of struggle. In our hearts. In the visions of justice, peace, land, and liberation for all that their sacrifice offered us.
Marcos, on the other hand, is no hero. A hero’s burial does not make one a hero. Never has. Never will.

#MarcosNoHero

Jose Rizal is not buried in the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani.
Nor is Antonio Luna. Not Claro M. Recto. Nor Gabriela and Diego Silang. Not Macli-ing Dulag!
Nobody really knows where lie the bodies of thousands of Filipinos—heroes and heroines—who offered their lives fighting against the Spaniards, the Americans, and the Japanese.
Nobody really knows where lie the bodies of countless students, church workers, laborers, farmers, fisher-folk, comrades—heroes and heroines—who disappeared during the Marcos Regime. And the countless more who have disappeared during the Aquino, Ramos, Estrada, Arroyo, and Aquino regimes.
Philippine soil from the Cordilleras to Mount Apo is nourished by the blood of fallen sisters and brothers in unmarked, mass, shallow graves. Just like Andres Bonifacio, the First President of the Philippines, who at 34 was executed with his brother, Procopio, and whose bodies were robbed of garments and then thrown naked into a hastily dug grave.
Heroines and heroes, all of them. And each of them are alive. In our collective memories. In our hearts. In the visions of justice, peace, land, and liberation for all that they shared with us.
Marcos, on the other hand, is no hero. A hero’s burial does not make one a hero. Never has. Never will.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

THE PARABLE OF THE WEDDING BANQUET

Why do we identify the King in the parable with God?

The King is a King. He is on top of an intricate system of honor and shame, patronage, property, and privilege. He is rich. He is powerful. He hosts a banquet. His invite is turned down. He is shamed. He gets back at those who shamed him. He has them killed and burns down their city.

Then he gathers the dregs of society to his banquet. He finds one of the dregs not wearing the wedding robe which the King obviously provided (where do you expect the dregs of society to get clothes for a royal wedding?).  The King is a King. He is rich. He is powerful. He is benevolent but he has been shamed again! He has his minions bind the man, hand and foot, and thrown out to where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

And this is how we imagine the Kingdom of God?   

Parables are the opposite of myths. If myths are stories that create order, parables subvert. Parables are subversive speech. The Roman Empire killed Jesus. Historians Josephus (Jewish) and Tacitus (Roman) both report the crucifixion. Jesus was, most probably, executed for the movement he started and the parables he weaved. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

COMING OUT

I would like to believe that the incarnation is really about God coming out. In the Gospel of Mark, God comes out of heaven. One can argue that God actually escapes from heaven. Compared to the Matthean and Lukan versions which state that “the heavens were opened,” the Markan passage states “the heavens were torn” apart. In Mark, God comes out of heaven and does not return!
I would like to believe that the incarnation gives us a clearer vision of who God really is: the God who wants to be one of us; the God who takes sides; the God who is waiting ahead of us in Galilee where many of us do not want to go; the God who loved sinners, prostitutes, lepers, rebels, outcasts, and eunuchs; the God who dearly loved Mary of Magdala, Simon Peter, the Beloved Disciple, and, yes, the young man in the garden; and, finally, God-with-us, Immanuel, the One who will never, ever, forsake us.
I would like to believe that you believe these as well.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

THE PARABLE OF THE SAMARITAN AND THE INN-KEEPER

We know this story already. Surveys show that this story is one of the two most Christians call their favorite. The other is the Prodigal Son. Both come from Luke. Those of us who have read and studied Luke know that this gospel has a particular bias for the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed, the foreigner, and the outsider…
A man is near death along the bloody way that connects Jerusalem and Jericho and the people we expect to stop and help ignore him. Two people actually help. The Samaritan and the Inn-keeper. Both nurse the man back to health.
In the past 100 days, several thousand people have died. They were near death but because we, like the Priest and the Levite in the story, chose not to stop and chose to ignore them. We chose to let them die. We found them near death, victims of a menace we call drugs, but we chose to let them die rather than nurture them back to health.
In the next 100 days, more will die. Thousands.
Unless we, all of us, decide to be Samaritans and Inn-keepers. We must demand a stop to the killings. We must carry our near-death sisters and brothers to safe places where they can heal. If we do not know how to do this, we must learn. We must open our hands, our hearts, our homes, our churches, our hospitals, our schools, so that we can nurture our near-death sisters and brothers back to health.
And we must do this now!