On Fire

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 could 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. Jesus 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” was 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, are we 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!


Human Rights, are you there?

An old photo. Back to the days when I tried nail polishes for the first time. The photo speaks for itself. Human Rights, I think, has to say a lot here. The focal point of little things is the focal point of life.

You could just imagine my sigh of relief as I wrote the last word in our Human Rights take-home exam. Law students have this struggle of non-stop writing, manually. We must equip ourselves with good handwriting, cursive, and of course, legible. Bar examinations is old school: composition notebook, 0.5 black or blue sign pen, and your calligraphy/cursive handwriting. I still remember in the past few days when I was literally having a painful hand for the continuous writing in Labor Law final exam. Notwithstanding the foregoing requirements, you also have to be speedy enough to meet the set standard of time. In that case, we were allotted only two hours for 23-item or set of questions. It would be more appropriate to call it “set of questions” because one item includes five sub-questions, so from the moment you answered the first one, your hand begins shaking and running for time. The first hour had passed and I was still on the first page of the test question, that was, around the sixth or seventh question so I needed to speed up more and think more quickly. Until then, that I finished writing second to my classmates. Ideally, now, you have to train yourself in answering questions brief and concisely and faster than the average. Bar exams put more pressure so you have to be on the look-out.

The following morning, I was on my superhuman mode of waking up at dawn to start reviewing. I was in a rush from the previous examinations and due to the fortuitous event that transpired our province. At 9AM, I was sitting comfortably at the Law library with two annotated books at hand and a notebook for my reviewer. The transgressor in me wanted to sleep and end my scheduled “continuous” review, but I fought the urge. After the exam, we were all in awe so we ate and roamed until we no longer can feel the pressure of the next class. For all intents and purposes, we still have Agrarian Law class in the afternoon leaving us six hours vacant from our last exam. In between our breaks, most of what we did was chitchat and capture moments of our insanity. Man, we couldn’t absorb information anymore! The time now has come to go back to our supposed room for Agrarian Law. We waited and acted like a sane person, but our actions would prove otherwise. Law students have their own outlets and you can distinguish them from other members of the society outside its sphere. Until we got that update that our professor was not coming. Oh, no! What a wasted “un-wasted time”!

I wrote this blog for the very purpose of ending my prolonged agony in this Human Rights exam. From postponed exam to a take-home exam, I sure did passed different enigmas just to finish off this one. And before I finally pass this composition notebook later, I wanted to make a history of posting my gratitude of this subject which has made me liberal, yet, calculative of every rights of individuals across the globe. With the last question in our exam, “Considering all the foregoing query, what, then, is human rights?”, I wrote like a full-grown justice. LOL

“Human Rights is an overview of human life. Considering all the query, it is more than a piece of paper but a slice of the whole cake of humanity. It exists in the littlest of things that man cannot encumber upon for it is the very essence of his world. Statutes may be enacted, Constitution may be reprimanded, but these universal rights, like water, must be as universal as the solvent to protect not only individuals from a certain place, but everyone without distinction or discrimination. This entitles a person to his freedom from the world’s static disturbance or dominion over himself. Human Rights, again, then, is an overview of human life.” (Subject to copyright. The above text cannot be used without proper citation from the author of this blog)

In sum, I believe we all have the right to leisure under Art. 24 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Perforce, this entitles me to write this blog, as writing is a daydream, to wee the exhaustion I had from answering the exam, just as how we acted insanely after our nerve-wrecking exams in Labor Law and Phil. Law on Natural Resources.

Ora et Labora! Thank You, Lord, for affording me Your Wisdom and Knowledge to battle all these out.

Thank you, readers. Thank you, WLAN connection. If this posted, I am more than blessed because the promo I availed is about to lapse.

by: Samantha C. De Guzman