The Epiphany and Humility as one



It seems that to some, the definitions of public servitude and livelihood are getting to be one and the same. But the timeline is the only difference: most like to get paid now and serve later.

* * *

In just six months of DU30 versus six years of Pnoy—36 new MRT3 elevators. “Laglag-bala” disappeared. Rare train breakdowns, less air traffic, 1k pension increase, free tuition in SUCs, free healthcare for all, prompt visits to disaster-stricken areas, visits on wakes of fallen soldiers, a huge rehab center in Nueva Ecija, new plates and drivers’ licenses released, PNP narco-generals arrested and charged, thousands of drug addict-surrenderers, hospitals ordered to treat all patients even without money, billions earmarked for infrastructure. Not bad coming from a cursin’ city mayor who frequently eats mongo in a carinderia and lives in a modest 200-square-meter house.

* * *

After all, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is not a Capampangan as many would believe. But he should try Pampanga’s Tocino Sashimi, Sisig Ramen, Kamaro Sushi, Morcon Yakitori and Udon with Snipes.

* * *

Presidential assistant Christopher “Bong” Go is not on the terrorist list even if he is now known as the “national photobomber.” Everywhere the president goes, Bong GOes.

* * *

PNP’s De la Rosa is naturally dismayed by “Tokhang” mulcting cops. It gives the police a “Mokhang-Pera” image.

* * *

“You are fake news,” Trump said to CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, calling his organization terrible and declining to take a question from him. Will CNN retaliate by calling Trump a “fake President?”

* * *

The Epiphany reminds us about humility when three powerful leaders of different kingdoms traveled thousands of miles to seek the place where a couple will give birth to the Holy Child. Bearing gifts, these following elements were chosen for their special spiritual symbolism about Jesus himself – gold representing his kingship, frankincense symbolizing his priestly role, and myrrh prefiguring of his death and embalming.

* * *

The term “wise” added to describe these three men is by no means an accident but rather a symbolism of mortal power and material possessions searching a better stature such as inner peace and salvation of their souls.

* * *

This reminds me of the present Prince of the Catholic Church and some of his early actions professing humility upon assumption of office:

Today’s pope, born as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, humbly does not even sign “P.P.,” pontifex ponteficum, high priest of high priests, after his papal signature, breaking yet another Vatican tradition in his determination to follow in the unclad footsteps of the saint whose name he assumed upon election. Just a simple, Franciscus, thank you.

He broke precedent immediately upon election, with Francis descending to the level of his fellow cardinals to greet them instead of waiting for them to ascend to his to offer obedience; then preferring to appear on St. Peter’s balcony without the traditional red cape and wearing a simple iron cross around his neck versus the solid gold cross worn by his predecessors—as though mindful of Chaucer’s line, “What if the gold rusts, what will the iron do?” referring to the corruption of the clergy in medieval England. He began his first address as, not pope but “bishop of Rome,” by asking for the assembled throng to bless him.

Pope Francis attacks global capitalism, and castigates bishops who drive Mercedes sedans. Overnight he’s tendered a vision of the world’s most powerful ecclesiastical institution as the humble champion of the poor.

He responds to the excesses of the hierarchy by renouncing clerical privilege, with Francis washing the feet of female convicts, the first pope in history to wash a woman’s feet.

Abandoning the bullet-proof Popemobile, he moves into crowds to kiss infants and invalids and join in selfies.

Breaking with tradition at every turn, Francis drives around in a beat-up twenty-year old Renault with 190,000 miles on it, phones – on a land line – to cancel his own newspaper, is an avid soccer fan, drinks Argentinian mate in public, and pays his own hotel bills. He chose a used ring (made for Paul VI’s secretary) instead of ordering his own papal ring. After his first meeting with journalists, he waved away the papal limousine and walked back to the Vatican.

Francis washed the feet of 12 people. What was unusual, however, was that he did not wash the feet of priests or even lay men, as have his predecessors, and he did not do it within the hallowed walls of a Roman basilica. Rather, he washed the feet of 12 juvenile prisoners at the Casal del Marmo Penitentiary Institute for Minors. Two of the young people were women and one was a Muslim, marking the first time a pope had included either group in the ceremony.

From estranged divorcees to atheists to gays and lesbians to good people of other faiths, Francis ministers equally on the simple Christian platform, “Who am I to judge?”

Pope Francis stunned parishioners, faith leaders and his own master of ceremonies when he broke protocol to do something wholly unexpected: he bowed down in front of the crowd at St. Peter’s Basilica and confessed his sins to an ordinary priest.

He’s making a point of continuing the humble lifestyle he lived in Argentina (where he was known to take the subway and fly coach) and showing how the Church’s bureaucracy has become too wrapped in clerical privilege.

He’s asked the cardinals to exchange their bright red robes for simple priestly black. Let’s see how that one goes. He referred to them not with the traditional “Lord Cardinals” but as “brother cardinals.”

* * *

“I won’t see this year again, not again so innocent; and longing wrapped around my throat like a scarf. “For the Heavenly Father desires that we should see,” says Ruysbroeck, “and that is why He is ever saying to our inmost spirit one deep unfathomable word and nothing else.” But what is the word? Is this mystery or coyness? A cast-iron bell hung from the arch of my rib cage; when I stirred, it rang, or it tolled, a long syllable pulsing ripples up my lungs and down the gritty sap inside my bones, and I couldn’t make it out; I felt the voiced vowel like a sigh or a note but I couldn’t catch the consonant that shaped it into sense.”
– Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

* * *

Good work, good deeds and good faith to all.


Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. Thank you for writing a lot about Francis, the Bishop of Rome.
    Rev Fr. Malachi couldn’t had been incorrect in his prophecies about popes, it would seem. Figuratively speaking, as referred to the current pope.
    Thank you, too, for listing down some of the big accomplishments of Pres. DU30. He really is, as he told Soho, a “working President.” An antithesis to his predecessor.
    Maraming salamat po. You are my first-read after Mr. RDT.

  2. Magandang araw kapatid,

    Indeed may nagawa ang Pdu30 admin in the first 6 months of its term – specifically in addressing illegal drugs — such as setting up a huge rehab center in Nueva Ecija, PNP narco-generals arrested and charged, thousands of drug addict-surrenderers sa crime “Laglag-bala” disappeared and if I may add crime is down (except for murder). Kaya lang ang may “collateral damage” – how big — only the police officials know but it has to be factored in..

    Regarding the 36 new MRT3 elevators, rare train breakdowns, less air traffic, new plates and drivers’ licenses released — ay sinimulan sa previous administration – similar to other (defense) equipment such as the Korean jet, Frigate and other ships for the Navy, helicopters initiated by Sec Gazmin — so, these are shared accomplishments.

    Ang concern ko ay yung statement mo a “billions earmarked for infrastructure” ay isang accomplishment. To me this move is a 2-edged sword because as we know infrastructure is a source of massive corruption. Given the available knowledge/talent in architecture and engineering –infrastructure is the easiest thing to do – no rocket science – just simple, carefully planned, practical (energy efficient) solutions, funds and compliance – and a well “balanced” approach to benefit the countryside – not just (urban) property developers. I hope the administration does not get enamored with it too much. It will be a very expensive proposition specially if it is done with “as is” SOP protocols.

    Consider climate change/super typhoons and the damage it causes to infrastructure then you will appreciate my concern to be cautious with infrastructure spending to avoid a “pa ulit ulit muling” spending syndrome. Kikita ang contractors with minimal benefit (or much expense) to the tax payers.

    Mas maganda tuonan din ang social infrastructure (and services) – those that build the human spirit. The current administration has made headway on these such as 1k pension increase, free tuition in SUCs, free healthcare for all, prompt visits to disaster-stricken areas, visits on wakes of fallen soldiers, hospitals ordered to treat all patients even without money – among others.