Easter spells hope in the midst of darkness.
By FR. RITCHE T. SALGADO, O.CARM.
MANILA — We are an Easter people; we are a people of hope.
That is what every Christian who truly follows the footsteps of Christ would profess, with their faith strengthened by the promise of the resurrection.
Christians do not simply dwell on the passion and death of Christ, on the recognition of the humanity of Christ, but we also recognize his divinity, which gives us hope and allows us to strive for the best for humanity, knowing that that is what God desires for us – to realize and experience genuine peace through love, God’s love made complete in the resurrection.
However, despite being the world’s third largest Christian country, it seems that the Philippines has a long way to go in truly living out the teachings of Christ.
On Holy Thursday, as the Christians in the country contemplated on the last supper of Christ and his teaching on how we should be the servant of all, how we should serve our brothers and sisters by washing their feet, more than a hundred families in Rodriguez, Rizal were displaced upon receiving bombing threats allegedly by members of the Philippine Army’s 80th Infantry Batallion to supposedly rid of New People’s Army fighters.
The community, however, has long been at the fore of opposing the construction of the multi-billion Wawa Dam project to purportedly increase the water supply in Metro Manila. This is one of the priority infrastructure projects of the Marcos Jr. administration.
Another shocking development is the the Supreme Court 2022 ruling on rape, which was made public on March 30, diminishing the act of rape to penile penetration, angering many women’s rights advocates.
“Rape is rape. Rape is indignity. No matter the nature or specifics, rape is a violation of a person’s humanity,” said women’s group Gabriela, adding that the ruling will instead protect rapists.
For his part, Senior Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, in his dissenting opinion said, “All rape is rape. All rape violates dignity. The finer points of the parts of the vagina touched by the penis is irrelevant.”
How many of them profess their faith in Christ? How many identify themselves as Christians, yet they allow themselves to become instruments of darkness?
During Lent we were reminded that our world is covered in darkness because of sin, because of man’s propensity to choose sin. But despite this darkness, Christ encouraged his followers to be the light that would dispell the darkness of sin.
As Christians, we are supposed to be the light for our brothers and sisters who continue to grope in the darkness of sin.
Unfortunately, in the context of the Philippines, it is the people who claim to be Christians who allow darkness to flourish, making people suffer even more instead of giving them hope.
Easter is the celebration of lights, when darkness is dispelled as Christ resurrects from the dead, giving hope to people who are covered in darkness.
There are still lights, regardless if the lights may be flickering.
Despite difficulties, there are still many people who choose to fight for and with those who are being abused and taken advantaged of; there are still people who choose to be the voice of those who have been mummed through threats and intimidation; there are still people who stand for what is right, for the truth, and for what is best for the people.
Don’t lose hope. As long as there are those who remain to choose the side of right, the light continues to shine.