By the time you would be reading this newsletter, natapos na. The Lenten season would have been over, and we are now celebrating the Easter season.
Just as we celebrated the Lenten season for 40 days, the Easter season is no less the same. This means before new life, suffering and death must come first.
“Natapos na…It is finished.” These are the 6th of the Seven Last Words of Christ.
God truly believes in fighting to the end.
It is a path He Himself trod. James 1:12 reads: “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” To suffer is not the end; it is, in fact, only the beginning.
Many of us are struggling through something—a misunderstanding with someone; a financial hiccup; a personal growth slump; a patch of spiritual dryness; someone’s annoying quirk; or even just the “boredom” of ordinary life. These are just some of the many, little deaths we are called to suffer and to endure with great patience. St. Thomas Aquinas defined patience, not as being able to wait for something, as in waiting for the red traffic light to turn green, but as a “willingness to put up with evil.” The word patience comes from patere, which means “to suffer.”
Their last words
We might think, “Shouldn’t we REFUSE to put up with evil??” “Are we doormats who should quietly bear dirty shoes leaving their mud and grime on us?” In many ways, the answer is yes. Isn’t that what Christ did? He put up with man’s evil so that He could pay the price that we just never could.
St. Thomas Aquinas defined patience, not as being able to wait for something, as in waiting for the red traffic light to turn green, but as a “willingness to put up with evil.”
Christ’s own Passion recalls to mind the own suffering of many EJK victims. Their haunting last words are so jarring in their innocence. They gave no premonition of the events that would soon follow or of the gravity and irony of what would be done to them. Here are some of them:
- Aldrin Pineda, 13-years old, shot in Tondo, Manila while hanging out with friends near a slaughterhouse. His last words: “Bakit ako binaril ni Omar?”
- Myca Ulpina, 3-years old, died after being shot by police targeting her father. The little girl was known to have said, “Pangarap kong maging pulis.”
- Kian delos Santos, 17-years old, killed as a suspected drug asset. Witnesses said he had pleaded for his life: “Tama na po, may exam pa ako bukas.”
- Reynaldo Fuellas, 44-years old, shot and killed before he could fulfill his promise. His last words to his wife, Joralyn: “Papasada lang ako ng tricycle para may pambili ng pansit, para sa iyong birthday, mahal.”
God is active & alive
A big part of the stories of these EJK victims are still hidden from us. Where is the glory and redemption after their suffering and that of their families? It seems so far-off. What is visible, for now, is the remaining heartache, the legal battles, the impunity, and the economic hardships. But it is the Paschal mystery that give us proof that God is at work. Unseen by the eye, behind the unrolled stone at the tomb, He is working out something beyond what we can imagine.
The stories that we are featuring in this issue are stories of transitions, stories of the Paschal mystery, stories of faith and hopefully, you too could recognize and relate your own Easter story.
God is active. God is alive! Happy Easter, Christ is risen!