Our Seven Last Words

As the Lenten Season culminates, let us, in the context of current events in the country, look upon the last expressions of Jesus, who, being the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow as stated in Sacred Scripture, has words that resonate and still apply in any time, place, and manner.

First, as a nation, we collectively plead, “Father, forgive us, for we don’t know what we are doing.” We continue to vote for the incompetent, the corrupt, the foolish. We easily forget the sins of the past, putting people we have discarded into new pedestals of power. We don’t plan for the future of our youth, leaving them to fill slave-wage work in foreign shores. And many of us continue to be indifferent to whatever happens in this country.

We still hope for a better future, though, because we know that the moment we accept these faults and seek your face, we’ll have that chance to hear you say, “Today, you shall be with me in Paradise.” But utopia for this land remains elusive.

Therefore, we also beseech our own country:  Oh, Motherland, here are your sons and daughters! Continue to shelter us in your arms; and to the children of this nation, here is your Mother Philippines! Take care of her, nurture her, defend her from territory-grabbing beasts; and protect her till the end of your days.

And to most leaders past and present of our beloved nation, we cry, “Why have you forsaken us?” Why have you left us to wallow in poverty? Why are you so far away when we groan for help as we face the daily grind in hospitals, in schools, in workplaces? Why have you abandoned us in broken-down shanties after we were washed away by tempests? Why have you left us to die in cornfields as we were fighting for you and for your children? We called on you, our dear leaders, but you did not answer.

We thus say in unison, “We thirst.” We thirst for a better life for every Filipino. We thirst for justice for ourselves and for the victims of countless crimes and massacres. We thirst for genuine and inclusive peace. We thirst for the end of contractualization and slavery in factories and malls. We thirst for efficient transportation and inexpensive communication. We thirst for the true path of clean governance, for sincere leaders who’ll guide us in the coming decades.

And so we ask ourselves, “When can we say that ‘It is finished? That we have done our task of nation-building? That we have fulfilled our responsibilities as leaders and citizens?”

It will not be easy. But our resilience as a people will pull us through. “We therefore offer into your hands, O Lord, our future as a nation. Into your care we entrust the Spirit of our beloved nation. As we continue to be strong in the face of the crosses of incompetence, crookedness, crime, and other evils, we believe that eventually, you will help us attain our much-awaited resurrection.”

Mr. Tiamson is an educator and writer.

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