VEERING away from dirty politics discourse this time, let us be spiritual this week for a change. Lent, after all, has started today, Ash Wednesday.
This could be it, a romantic Valentine and a double celebration for lovers and the whole of Christendom. This signals the start of 40-day purification or cleansing of soul through abstinence, fasting and prayer on to every Fridays of the entire Holy Week.
The commemoration of Jesus’s crucifixion and subsequent resurrection on Easter Sunday would cap this significant event in the Church calendar.
Practicing Christians would have the biggest celebration, validating that death, actually, is never an end but a mere special stage of growth taking place until we cross over into that great beyond.
Life might be a big lie and death, a painful one. But “Death, where is your sting and victory?” is the question resounding for many centuries and remains unchallenged until this day.
Here lies the heart of Christianity: Christ’s resurrection. No man has ever done that. Only one man was given that license to do that to the world. Thus far, there has been many attempts refuting that mystery but in the end, no one was able to prove otherwise. Yes, none! Not even, Confucius, Buddha Moses or Mohammad was given that privilege.
But, of course, there are fantasies surrounding the resurrection event. We have seen that from the works of Dan Brown in his “Da Vinci Code”, and “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” that parroted the Da Vinci plot.
That’s the way it is among Christians. We are not immortal but merely passing transients in this world. We have, of course, the four gospels from the Bible — Mark, Matthew, Luke and John — and non-Canonical gospels as well of Thomas, Mary and all that validating that truth.
Unfortunately, much is still to be desired if we want to be spiritually grounded on our spiritual journey towards that glorious end. Imagine meeting God face to face!
St. Paul’s 21 writings provide a glimpse of what was He then. But all this has left us groping in the dark. Whatever happened really to that man Jesus Christ whose billions of converts around the world remained staunch followers to this day? The New Testament is unfortunately not a biography of Jesus. Whatever happened to 18 years of his life is still staring on us.
Here comes James M. Robinson’s “The Gospel of Jesus” on the rescue, a book worth reading to reflect on Lent. Yes, Sir, Jesus’s Gospel straight from His own mouth! Not the one preached to us, Gentile Christians, many centuries later as recorded by four Evangelists. This book is not really that comprehensive but it would make your day. It would not only ignite curiosity but also understanding on the wonder of that first century Galilean Jesus.
Simply put, “this book is brittle, upsetting, and comforting challenging gospel” addressing provocative questions not treated in its entirety by conventional existing four gospels. Valuable information on his childhood, family, education received, sex life, specifically his relation to Mary Magdalene, death and resurrection are addressed.
Most importantly, the book stresses the two important message Jesus himself taught to his disciples for people to live and practice — the reign of God and His Coming Kingdom. This is priceless to the writer.
How did the author do that? He simply reconstructed the good news that happened two thousand years ago showing still its relevance today. This he did using significant sources drawn from the earliest gospel of Mark and the “Q” source, Matthew and Luke sources, the Dead Sea Scrolls and an ancient extra-biblical Gnostic texts discovered at Nag Hammadi.
What have we become? Look what people have done? That religion has become a crutch for poor and uninformed and lucrative business for enterprising Pinoys is explainable.
Money has been flowing from jueteng lords and drug lords. Evangelists and pastors are raking that much, capitalizing on the ignorance of their members. We have our own fortunate living souls, too, in our backyard. We need not go that far to see that they have become billionaires overnight, acquiring hot properties and personal amenities like jet planes, helicopters and all that. For their personal use, of course.
How handsome the dividends they are reaping from their rhetorics from their respective pulpits could be seen in the duffle bags they are sending to their banks.
“Ga kahilantan taga bangko, Sir, inihapa sama kadaghan nga kuarta kay abtan man sila ug hapon una mahuman,” an ex-communicated religious devotee revealed.
The litany of exploitation is long. Si Lord na lang bahala nila.