Martial Law Survivors than Victims

September 21, 2022 – Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

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Consoling it is, for us to hear Jesus saying to us today in our gospel; “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” This is because admittedly deep inside we feel that we are not righteous before Him. But in our sickness, despite our brokenness & (above all,) because of sinfulness Jesus still calls us. Meaning beyond our seeming but faltering righteousness and our chronic shortcomings & failures in life, our faith story with Jesus is a story of SECOND chances. Our faith-life story with Jesus is a pilgrimage story of being invited, called & given another chance to do better in life – a faith journey not of being victims & condemned but of survivors and given another chance anew.

This is the story of St. Matthew. He was just an ordinary tax-collector despised & already victimized & condemned by his community as being corrupted. However, when Jesus invited him to follow Him, Matthew’s life was & has never been the same again. He was called to a life not same as usual as before, but to another chance of life anew.

Same way with terminal dying patients given another chance to live, or an ex-convict, a reformed rebel or a rehabbed drug-addict given a chance to be re-integrate to the community, our being Christian – being disciple & follower of the Lord is a story of being broken yet being called, invited, and given another chance to do better in life anew. Ours now is not to go back & be victimized by our usual sick, corrupted & sinful lives again, but ours now is to survive & to do better in life anew as we follow Jesus in our daily lives, as Paul says: “to live in a manner worthy of the call we have received.”

Today marks the golden anniversary of the 1972 Martial Law in the Philippines. Undeniably such event has a tragic repercussions & effects in our history as a society & nation then & until now. However, we should not only view Martial Law as our story of our brokenness & our being victims as a nation. Sad times in might have been to us, above all, we should remember that ML is also the story of us, Filipinos   our story of surviving hard-times, of rising above the occasion, of given and giving another chance to do better in life & to live life anew in Christ – worthy of Jesus. In other words, our ML history is not only a history of being victims & condemned, but a God-story of being survived & given another chance in life anew. As we remember our sad history of ML, may we not forget that like with Matthew, in whatever & however life situation may bring us in (sickness, poverty, brokenness, corruption), we are always called, invited & given another chance by the Lord to “Follow Him” in life – not again as before, but ANEW. Amen.        


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