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Reminders for the Holy Week

Batas Mauricio .

ONE question is hounding my mind relative to the statement of Renato Payuman Llenes, the 42-year old man who confessed to having killed 16-year old Christine Lee Silawan on March 10, 2019 in Cebu: have the Filipino youth become so irresponsible that even if it was only through social media that they got to know of a total stranger, they could already agree to meeting that stranger?

This was the story given by Llenes, a resident of Bangkal, Lapu-lapu City, when he described before police officers how he met the hapless Silawan. Allegedly, just after a few days of exchanging messages with the girl through social media, she already agreed to meet him, even if he was a man totally unknown to her previously, and even if she had never seen him before.

When they finally met, Llenes was in stupor because of illegal drugs. He claimed he got incensed by Silawan’s admission that she was no longer a virgin, and, according to him, this prompted him to repeatedly stab her with a scissor which he also used to lop off the skin of her face. The killing was truly heinous and gruesome, but as far as I am concerned, the failure of the girl’s parents to exert control as to what she had been doing was more heinous and gruesome than the killing.

News reports have it that Silawan was only 16 years old when she was killed. Indeed, she was too young to be communicating or meeting with just about anybody, especially with a man who was completely unknown to her, through social media yet. She was too young to even accept the offer of friendship from a man whom she didn’t know from Adam nor to accept an invitation from him for the two of them to meet.

How did Silawan manage to do otherwise? It is clear to me that her parents greatly failed in their duties as such parents, assuming they are still alive. It clearly appears that they failed to teach their child good manners and right conduct, particularly the necessity of consulting with their elders on meeting or even becoming friends with total strangers. We cannot deny that Silawan’s lack of instruction from her elders ultimately proved her undoing.

I believe that this kind of a family malady, where the parents have been failing to guide and instruct their very young children on the rudiments of good manners and right conduct, already obtains in almost all parts of the country today. Whether the child comes from a well-to-do family, or from poor parents, they have been displaying one uniform trait: they have not been trained to do good, and to have faith and love of God. The truth is that, parents can not teach these things to their children because they themselves have no instruction on those matters.

***

If we look closely around us, from Aparri to Jolo, from the east, and to the western parts of the Philippines, a grossly different kind of children has emerged, right before our eyes: what we have now are children who have become “feeling entitled”, believing that the world owes to give them everything they desire or they fancy about, certainly a far cry from the children of our own generation where even just a mere stare from our parents can make us toe the line. We can see this disturbing transformation of our youth in almost all Filipino children these days.

What is gravely bothersome in all these I that, these kinds of “feeling entitled” children are growing real fast. In just a few years’ time, they would replace our generation, becoming the citizens of this country. What kind of future awaits them, our people, and our country, if a great number of them are rude, self-seeking, and are concerned only with their own interests?

Can we still do something? Well, if you are a believer who truly relies on the Word of God, the Bible, there is still something we can do. We must endeavor to remain strong in the power of the Word of God for ourselves. We must insist, in our minds, hearts, souls and spirits, the relentless study of the Word of God, and the faithful obedience to Hi commands. One soul at a time, indeed, starting with ourselves, because this is the kind of truly beneficial change we need–a change rooted in the Word of God, not on the change promised by others, especially politicians.

***

For the last several years now, this column has been consistently coming out with some kind of a reminder for believers regarding their traditions and practices in commemorating the Holy Week, or the seven-day period in a year considered to be holy by many churches because included in the event are the death and resurrection of Jesus.

This 2019, I wish to reiterate these reminders. My perception is that many continue to wallow in useless and even irreverent practices during the Holy Week which embroil them all the more into sinfulness. Our objective here is to somehow provide some bits and pieces of information that believers can ponder on and seriously think about for their own benefit.

Here are some portions of a column I wrote in 2016: “As Philippine Christians prepare to commemorate the Holy Week, I hope they would focus more on the Word of God, the Bible, rather than on vacations, traditions, and useless religious ceremonies, in keeping with the plan of God to save sinners from the eternal penalty of sinfulness through His coming to earth in human form and enduring physical mutilation and death on the cross.

“Even now, many of those who profess to believe in God are leaving out God in their preparations for the Holy Week, choosing instead to plan for bunny egg hunts, beaches, food trips, high tech entertainment, movies, and a host of other activities which have nothing to do with Jesus as God and Savior, or at least remembering His great love that took away from those who believe in Him the penalty of being burned and then eaten by worms forever.

“And then, even those who consider immersing themselves in annual religious activities that aim to commemorate the passion and death of Jesus on the cross are plunging into those activities purely out of traditions and practices that are in fact abominable and greatly detestable to God, and not out of understanding of what God really aimed for or intended to do.

“So, my question is, why is there a `Holy Week’? It is to remind everyone that God so loved the world that He Himself came down from heaven in human likeness and form to accept in Himself the penalty for the sins of man, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life.

“Believers have to be reminded that because of their sinfulness, inborn and acquired, there is no way for them to escape the penalty of eternal hell of fire and worms. As the Word of God says, all have sinned and fell short of the glory of God. And because all have sinned, the dark future of being eaten by worms and burned in hell forever awaits us.

“It is for this reason that man must be constantly reminded of what God did for them. Indeed, it is for this reason that Christians must commemorate Holy Week, or the week in which Jesus, our God and Savior, saved mankind from death in eternal fire and worms. At the very least, what every sinner–or what every man–should strive to do during Holy Week is to be acquainted with God by furiously reading His Bible.

“Can man be fully acquainted with God and His great love for all of us by splurging on the beach, going on fancy vacations, indulging on physical entertainment, or even by religious practices? We all know the answer to this. Nevertheless, for those who have been touched by the Spirit, the way to commemorate Holy Week is by staying in our homes, studying the Bible, and praying to God!” There will be more of this, God willing!

E-mail: batasmauricio@yahoo.com

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