THE suffering that the Lord Jesus endured two millennia ago should remind us that we have an obligation to change our ways to show gratitude for his unending grace and our acceptance of his life-giving gifts, that of redemption and liberation from sin and oppression.
Lest we become truly lost and then perish, we have to seek God’s light as our nation is now in darkness deep in the wilderness. We are fast approaching the abyss. Only through God’s light and our total obedience to him shall we find the way that would lead us to the path of liberation. Only through his mercy shall we find the wisdom to make the right choices that would make our nation proud.
Our republic is being torn inside out by forces within and beyond our control. As a nation we are under siege by foreign powers from north to south, knowingly or unknowingly abetted by an incompetent political leadership by the banks of the Pasig River.
We are denied the full benefits of our aquatic resources in the north, west and southern portions of our archipelagic country as the seas in these areas are regularly raided by bigger and better equipped fishing boats from Taiwan, People’s Republic of China (PROC), Japan and Vietnam to the detriment of our fishing folks in small rickety bancas. We are lucky we have no neighbor in the east otherwise, I am sure, the seas or should I say ocean in that area would also be under siege.
Even our territorial domains are now overtly under threat from PROC, as it already occupied a number of resource-rich islets in the West Philippine Sea, and Malaysia which is patiently trying to pry Mindanao from our republic through its proxies, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
We are trotting from one crisis to another, both man made and natural. The national situation is aggravated by the political leadership of someone who gives more weight to cars than his constituents, his barkadas than the bosses he is supposed to serve and his boring love-life than the pressing issues of the day i.e. Mamasapano massacre, MRT-LRT crisis, port congestion, etc...
We have a Neo-liberal economic system widening the chasm between the haves and the have-nots as it is motivated by greed, a system creating more and more hard working poor and fewer non-working rich as it is propelled by idolatrous laziness, a mall-centered system where the poor people have been dis-empowered and an export system that commodifies people as it is bereft of humanity. To prove this last point, allow me to remind everyone that our number one export is labor. In fact, it is the remittances of these laborers that keeps our unsustainable economy afloat.
Our environment is constantly under assault causing mayhem, death and destruction to thousands. We have denuded our mountain ranges causing flash floods in low lying and heavily populated areas, mined our minerals like it is a limitless resource, used our water basins dry, polluted our land, sea and air without regard to the consequences or thought of the future. We have been living off this earth like parasites and not the co-makers or stewards that we are supposed to be. We forget that we are just passing tenants in this world. We cannot own that which would own us in the end.
Perhaps all we need to do is take a long and close look on our major thoroughfares like EDSA, Commonwealth Avenue or Marcos Highway to witness first-hand the state of our nation. The condition of our streets and what happens in it is a reflection of our State and selves.
For most of us, the presence of our government in the streets is an accident and like the people we encounter in it, we can be described typically as selfish, individualist, reckless, opportunistic, inconsiderate, law-breaking, impatient, transactional etc. The poor condition of our thoroughfares brings out mostly the bad and mean in us. Yes, there are still many good folks out there but the fact is that they are obviously overwhelmed and paralyzed by the absence of government and the bullying of the bad ones. Hence, we are where we are today.
In short, we have lost our bearings. We have substituted God with the icons of modernity like the gadgets were are dying to possess. We have become idolaters. Neo-liberalism is now the new religion, the malls are the new churches, the sales representatives and managers are the new priests and bishops while the business owners are the new theologians.
More than ever, we are now connected and wired; ironically, we are more alone and empty. We prefer to spend more time malling or fiddling our favorite gadgets than bond with our families and friends in a park. We now live more for the gadgets we want to buy than the lives we want to live. This is idolatry in its purest sense. Unfortunately, what is true for the individual is the same for the collective.
Unless we heed the commandment to have no other gods before the real God, we will continue on our dangerous path. Christ has set the example for us to follow. His life is a cordial invitation to us so we can be in the light again. Unfortunately, the invitation, although universal, is RSVP. We have to confirm our acceptance of the invitation, not just through the motions of undergoing the rituals like praying or worshiping but by living our faith like Christ.