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#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.…

#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.…

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 (…

COMING OUT

#nationalcomingoutday#comingout#kabahaghari 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.

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…

OF GARDENS AND WEEDS

In Memory: Bishop Alberto Ramento
Luke 13. 18-19 Gaius Plinius Secundus (aka Pliny the Elder) in his Natural History 19.170-171 wrote that “mustard [sinapi kokkos] …grows entirely wild… and when it is sown, it is scarcely possible to get the place free of it, as the seed when it falls germinates at once.” John Dominic Crossan tells us that the mustard in the parable was a wild weed shrub that grew to about five feet or even higher. Even in their domesticated form they were a lot to handle. Mustard in a well-kept garden not only spread beyond expectations but also attracted birds of all forms thus disturbing the natural balance of a well-manicured garden, with the birds’ unpredictable feeding habits, and worse, their droppings. St. Francis of Assisi, who, as legend has it, was very close to wild creatures, and who, as the story goes, would not even hurt a fly, was also against the pulling out of weeds.
Gardeners, of course, did not want weeds in their gardens. They did not want wild mu…

Jeepney Hermeneutics

"There are examples, however, of critical theory that is distinctly Asian or a modification of Western modes of thought with Asian interests. Using Western theory and method is inescapable and can even be considered a witting tool, used by the colonized when they try to “write back and work against colonial assumptions, representations, and ideologies” (Sugirtharajah, 1998, p. x). The Filipino Jeepney hermeneutics is one such venture, demonstrating the capacity to transform tools of mass destruction into resources for life (as in the writings of Revelation E. Velunta). Thus while cultural studies is not just an Asian American interpretive mode of discourse, it may be utilized by Asian interpreters in a more critical manner."

(Asian/Asian American Interpretation, Source:
The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Gender Studies, accessible online at http://www.oxfordbiblicalstudies.com/article/opr/t453/e1)

PAIN HAS NO SABBATH

Luke 13: 10-17 10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” 13 When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. 14 But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” 15 But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” 17


When he said this, all his op…