Lent PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 February 2016 11:57

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

Los Angeles, CA. — Tomorrow, the perpetual sinners and pretending saints start observing the period of Lent, which always begins on Ash Wednesday. When the priest applies ashes on our foreheads, that is a signal that we should turn away from sin and return to the gospel. All of us, after all, fall short of God’s glory. For the baptized, this is the time to renew baptismal promises. The priests tell us that we need CONVERSION which, we are made to believe, leads to a new beginning.

The Jesuits taught us in school that we should always be aware that we are in need of change. By catholic tradition, we are invited to perform three spiritual exercises to be worthy of the “new” life brought by the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. PRAYER comes first, FASTING second and CHARITY last. Praying can be done by attending daily masses for 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday or by spending time in personal prayer. Fasting doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t eat. It means giving up our urges that are obstacles to our spiritual growth such as jealousy, liquor, gambling, hatred, lust, etc. Charity is something positive, like giving love, showing respect and rendering care to the poor and the needy. (Politicians do this in public during campaign periods.)

I bet you, mañana the churches will be visited by hypocrites — from the presidential candidates down to the last council aspirant. There’s nothing like showing off their spiritual values that might be translated into votes. Even philanderers, plunderers and those who have disobeyed eight of the God’s 10 Commandments will queue up the altar and receive the ash that will hopefully remind them that, like Adam, they come from dust. POLVOS LANG QUITA, DOY! Is being plastic better?

Lent celebrates the mercy of God. It reminds us of our mortality. The story of the “Prodigal Son” (Luke 15:11) gives an idea of how sin works: SELFISHNESS, SEPARATION, SENSUALITY, STARVATION and SUB-HUMAN BEHAVIOR.

Lent is the time for self-purification. That’s what politicians need to do — not just for 40 days but during their tenure in the government. They’re not asked to be HOLY and TRUTHFUL and HONEST, because for as long as man is man and woman is woman, he/she will always be irreverent and imperfect. This holds true with the gays, lesbians, transgenders and bisexuals, heretofore known as the “third force”. There is a passage in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah: “Do not remember the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not, I’m doing something new, says the Lord. Your sins I remember no more.” (Isaiah 43: 18,25).

God, the evangelists profess, is a God of the future, not of the past. Lent invites us to continue our journey focused on Jesus the Christ with faith, hope and charity in our hearts. Lent is an invitation to climb Mt. Calvary (figuratively) and have a vision of Mt. Zion. How many of our catholic candidates have made the stations of the cross? The cross is the symbol of love, compassion, sacrifice and mercy — of peace and justice.

As we do our Lenten duty, I am resigned to the fact that peace in Mindanao shall not come about, at least for now. Since 1972, Muslim separatists have been fighting and crying for justice and demanding for some form of reparation from the government for having neglected their people who are FILIPINOS.

The temporary setback with regard to the Bangsamoro Basic Law that will create a special layer of government to be known as the Bangsamoro political entity north of Mindanao will create an atmosphere of insecurity and uncertainty in an archipelago that is already floating aimlessly in a vast sea of question marks. Hundreds of soldiers and rebels put together have been killed in a shooting war, and hundreds of civilians have been collateral damages that included innocent women and pitiful weeping children.

The government, in spite of a final peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) inked in 1996, has failed to stop Nur Misuari and his forces from committing atrocities  in the south. The failure of congress to pass the BBL might spark renewed hostilities between government troops and MILF  fighters, although its leaders have promised that such violent confrontations will not happen.

Ferdinand E. Marcos wanted the fighting to stop. He even built a Gaddafi Mansion inside the camp of the then Southern Command to appease Libya, then said to be the sponsor of the MNLF. Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos even partied with Gaddafi. Cory Aquino also wanted the conflict ended. She dispatched her brother-in-law Butz Aquino and Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. to Jolo, Sulu and try to convince Misuari to talk peace. The creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was the product of that meeting. Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Nonoy Aquino III offered the olive branch to the separatists who are demanding their own sub-state.

OMG, we’re still where we were 43 years ago. And I’m starting to lose my hair and the people their patience. Darn it! If only Samson where alive, he’d crush their heads with his jawbone. WHY CAN’T FILIPINOS BE FILIPINOS?