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EUNICE BARBARA C. NOVIO

SONGSOPTOK THE WRITERS BLOG | 8/15/2015 |




Dear Karl Malcolm,

On April 28, 1998, exactly 17 years ago, you became a Christian; a full-blooded Catholic like your unwilling ancestors; following a hundred years old tradition of pouring holy water to wailing infants to be accepted by the Church. Barely four months old, you could not choose what faith to follow. Your ancestors chose the cross instead of the sword. In truth, I don't remember this day anymore, but this day which coincides with your anniversary being a Catholic, is also a day of tragedy for two Filipino families. On this day, Mary Jane Veloso, a migrant mother of two will be executed at 5pm for drug trafficking in Indonesia. On this same day, 8 years ago, Jonas Burgos, a father and a farmer-activist was abducted by the government forces inside Gotesco Mall in Manila. He is never found. But his family never give up. So as Mary Jane's.

Why I have to remind you that you became a Christian today? The Philippines is the largest Christian and a Catholic nation in Asia. Yet, we belong to the most corrupt and crime riddled nations in the world. We are Christians but most of us do not follow the teachings and ways of the revolutionary Jesus who died questioning and defying the oppressive authority. Those who ask questions and help the poor are branded as insurgents; enemies of the state, like Jonas Burgos. But he was one of those who really live up to the teachings of Jesus.

Mary Jane Veloso is a migrant mother. Her family is so poor because our government is not Christian enough to look after the poor people. Is our government true to the teachings of Christ whom it calls during ceremonies and functions? Is our government true to the Christian teachings of looking after each other in times of needs? The trafficker who victimized Mary Jane Veloso is a Christian, I am really sure of that, yet she did not think of the welfare of Mary Jane, instead she was more concerned of the money she would get by betraying Mary Jane. But what hurt me most is the truth that Mary Jane, like millions of Filipinos in diaspora, left the country because of poverty. And we are a Christian nation.

Our country is very rich, yet we are poor. A paradox. The richest people in the Philippines, the government claims, give us jobs, they pay taxes. We also pay taxes. But the corruption of our Christian leaders deprived us of quality life.

I remember in our catechism that God loves the poor and oppressed people. Are we so loved by God that we remain poor and oppressed? That we have to remain oppressed so God would love us more? That the likes of Jonas Burgos who sought justice to uplift the plight of the poor should vanish so the people would remain poor and oppressed? That Mary Jane and her family are so loved by God that she must die?
When you were a child, I studied Theology. But until now, I realize how little I understood of God's undying love for us. It is a mystery that I can never unlock.

But one thing I am sure of, Jesus fought injustice. Jesus was a revolutionary who died for his beliefs of uplifting the lot of His people.

Today, the 17th year of your membership to the Christian world, remember the oppressed, the missing, the persecuted and the poor. As you become older, be more like Jesus.
Love,
Nanay (Mother)  

   
[EUNICE BARBARA C. NOVIO]



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