IT’S now the Catholic Church’s liturgical season called Holy Week, the final part of Lent.
If we were not a generally immoral people, our being mostly Christian would have contributed immensely to nationbuilding. But because we are by and large immoral—worse than the people James Fallows said had a “damaged culture”—our consciences don’t goad us into becoming persons willing to do what we can to arrest our society’s, our Republic’s, our people’s descent to worse and worse levels of immorality. (“Immoral” means not bound by norms of correct human conduct.)
This is why we Filipinos are sinking into worse and worse states of mass poverty, incompetence, bad governance, ignorance, corruption, and lack of love for each other and for our nation.
This is why we Filipino Christians vote for extremely corrupt government officials, why we don’t care enough for our fellow citizens to prevent them from being the poorest and hungriest people in our region, why we have a lousy basic education system, why our elections and every government process are tainted with fraud and bribery.
We Filipinos have allowed our country to sink so awfully low because we have turned our backs on the moral path, the Godly path, that Christians are obliged—are dutybound—to tread.
Christians—Catholic or Protestants—are supposed to be children of God. We are supposed to be, before anything else, lovers of the Truth, which is one of the names of our One True God.
We are supposed to be brothers and sisters of God Made Man Jesus Christ. We are supposed to be lovers of Christ, seekers of the happiness that, resurrected like Him, will be ours eternally.
Why do we Filipinos not seriously treat our duty to God and follow our destiny, which is to be in heaven with Jesus and His and our Mother Mary?
Christ’s death is the Christian’s life
The “saint of the ordinary,” St. Josemaria Escriva, in a Good Friday homily “Christ’s Death Is the Christian’s Life,” reminds us that “Holy Week gives us another chance to reflect on and to re-live the last hours of Jesus’ life. All the things brought to our mind by the different expressions of piety which characterize these days are of course directed to the resurrection, which is, as St Paul says, the foundation of our faith.
“But we should not tread this path too hastily, lest we lose sight of a very simple fact which we might easily overlook. We will not be able to share in our Lord’s resurrection unless we unite ourselves with him in his passion and death. If we are to accompany Christ in his glory at the end of Holy Week, we must first enter into his holocaust and be truly united to him, as he lies dead on Calvary.
“Christ’s generous self-sacrifice is a challenge to sin. We find it hard to accept the reality of sin, although its existence is undeniable. Sin is the mysterium iniquitatis: the mystery of evil, the inexplicable evil of the creature whose pride leads him to rise up against God. The story is as old as mankind. It began with the fall of our first parents; then came the unending depravities which punctuate the behavior of mankind down the ages; and, finally, our own personal rebellions. It is very difficult to realize just how perverse sin is and to understand what our faith tells us. We should remember that even in the human context the scale of an offense is frequently determined by the importance of the injured party—his social standing, his qualities. But with sin man offends God, the creature repudiates his creator.
“But ‘God is love.’ The abyss of malice which sin opens wide has been bridged by his infinite charity. God did not abandon men. His plans foresaw that the sacrifices of the old law would be insufficient to repair our faults and re-establish the unity that had been lost. A man who is God would have to offer himself up.”
We Filipinos reject Christ’s redemption
We Filipinos are rejecting the salvation—the opportunity to enjoy the bliss of our heavenly destiny—that Jesus Christ, the Man who is God, gives us by being mocked by the people he loves, by being tortured by Roman soldiers, by carrying the heavy cross to Calvary, and by dying on the cross.
When we reject Jesus’ gift of redemption, and choose to be children of Satan, the Father of Lies, and we also reject the opportunity to make our community, our country, a pleasant place where peace, order and justice reigns. For that pleasant country can only be if charity (Love of God and love for fellow Filipinos) dwells in everyone’s heart.
We only pay lip service to our Christian faith, and we end up being a generally immoral people. Some signs of this:
The corruption that attends everything nearly all of us do—in our businesses, schools, offices, government transactions.
Our delight or at least acquiescence in the most popular TV programs and movies that serve up sensual and arousing scenes of rape and lovemaking, almost naked dancers who give males sinful thoughts, children dressed and trained to do the seductive movements of the adult temptresses.
TV programs in which the hosts and anchors mock traditional and religious values.
Advertisements that parade female and male nakedness to arouse the opposite sex and homosexuals. Ads that play on the immorality of our culture (like the McDonald’s commercial that had to be withdrawn). Commercials, print ads, billboards and bus ads that rejoice in the seductiveness of actresses and use these women as sex objects.
May we, during this Holy Week, resolve to be faithful, reject immorality, and thereby build a great and God-blessed Philippines.