Yes, even the Church is at war.
It was my first time to witness an electricity brownout while the Mass was ongoing which started right in the middle of the readings. Of course, everyone was anxious. As for me, my heart skipped a beat and silently prayed for the current to come back for the Gospel. There it goes. Lectors had to doubly increase their voice…I can also see our parish priest wiping his forehead. He seemed to be in deep thought, but, still, confident that what was gone would come back. My mother closed her eyes while praying. And I, I was doing the same thing.
When the moment came for Gospel reading, a servant brought a battery-operated speaker. We all breathed a sigh of relief. Whoa. To much of our surprise, the electricity came back in full force when our priest would be reading the Gospel. So I whispered to Mom, “It’s so amazing! Bumalik n’ong Gospel reading.” My mind says, “The Lord is so powerful. He can work miracles. If this was the devil’s work, God can show to His people that He never loses His battles.”
During the Homily, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Socrates Villegas’ Message was, instead, read to us. It’s about the Church’s standing to the restoration of Death Penalty.
“An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth.” is no longer at hand, it says. When Jesus came to this world, He had overpowered this brutal punishment of early church leaders. Not because He violated Moses’ law, but He has given life to God’s immense love. For even Moses is subject to Jesus. He took all our iniquities, He was nailed on the cross, and He gave us eternal life. As Christians, we are among those people who value the sanctity of life. We don’t need capital punishment to avenge ourselves from our brothers and sisters who had wronged us, no matter how grave it was. For they, too, are our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is better to have them change, instead of killing them and forcefully erasing their existence into this world, like an oblivion.
The restoration of the Death Penalty in the Philippines is contrary to the avowed duty of the State to comply with a treaty obligation. Philippines is one of the signatories of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which prohibits the imposition of capital punishment because it recognizes life as a basic human right. Hence, in Section 19, Art III of the Constitution, it stresses that the Constitution already completely abolished death penalty from the statute books.
Last Ash Wednesday, the lower house has approved the bill restoring death penalty on the third reading. The lawmakers’ voice was softened by fear of the unknown, particularly the iron-clad hand of a not-so-mighty-ruler.
One senator who claims to be a Christian is skillfully-sidestepping the Bible by saying that since capital punishment was in the Bible, it’s rightful to impose it. Wow! It’s as if New Testament never existed at all. He has based his argument on a wrong premise. Just because a thing existed in the Bible, it is justified to bring it back? All crimes also existed in the Bible but the point is, these were written to warn the next generation. He should have read the Bible by NOT cutting down verses, but read it as a whole. Seriously, man, I regret voting for you. WALA KANG SARILING DESISYON. You had disappointed your fellow Christians for going with the flow. You are not a Christian at all because you submit not to Jesus, but to a human authority. Tsk, tsk…
The letter concluded with (if I can remember it right) a statement of continuing Church’s battle with death penalty. Until I got home, I couldn’t wait to encourage and awaken other Christian-Catholics to be aware and fight for life. I hope this post would somehow help.
It is not, yet, too late to stand up for life. The bill will, still, be reviewed and amended by the upper house, the Senate. And so long as Jesus’ life lives in us, we will continue praying and urging our lawmakers to be in line with God.
Thank you for reading!