Easter greetings and wishes
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2011-04-24
Happy Easter greetings to you and yours! Our fervent wish is for the risen Christ to keep you and yours in the blessed state of grace, peace and harmony.

Easter is the Resurrection. Easter is all about affirmation. Easter is all about rebirth. For Christians, Easter is the high point in the Jesus Christ saga - the ultimate manifestation of the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It was on the day of Easter when the cycle of redemption was completed by Christ.

Considering how our country and our people have been undergoing Calvary for decades, even seen by some to be sinking deeper into hopelessness - we Filipinos could all use an Easter moment. An Easter moment for us it was when we launched the People Power Revolution of 1986. The whole world stopped to applaud us Filipinos for that lesson in active non-violence. We inspired the world but we failed to capitalize on our own inspiration.

Today, we need a People Power Easter moment - not to oust a ruler but to bring our country into the Promised Land. We need a resurrection of Filipino nationalism and patriotism that exceeds the nationalism we only feel every time Manny Pacquiao fights and wins or when a Filipino entertainer or artist gains world recognition.

It’s easy to feel nationalistic when a fellow Filipino has attained a remarkable feat which earned global recognition and applause. It’s human nature to want to bask in a fellow Filipino’s proud moment of glory. However, what our country needs most is the nationalism that surges when the going is roughest, when the chips are down, when the human spirit is all ready to give up and when it is easier to abandon our country for the better income opportunities that other economies can offer.

Our country needs an Easter moment where the haves of our society will finally see the light and take it upon themselves to help the have-nots help themselves. The Focolare’s Economy of Communion teaches us that only the poor can help themselves but not alone - not alone.  

The rich folks delude themselves when they think that their gated high-walled subdivisions, with their security details, can ensure their safety. If the poverty situation in our country results in a social explosion, they can expect the very security personnel they hired to be among those who will pose a threat to their property and lives. The rich folks of this country can only feel safe when we finally bridge the Wealth Gap which is created by the Information, Education and Opportunity Gaps.

Less than five percent of Filipinos own over 80 percent of our national wealth. That five percent, our elite, is living with a ticking social time bomb strapped around their waist. We all know that it is poverty that’s pressuring the rise of crimes against property. It is poverty driving the desperate to resort to illegal means in order to survive. It is also poverty that’s causing a rise in suicide incidents because prolonged misery sans any glimmer of hope can drive a person to end it all.

We delude ourselves when we think that attracting more investors, creating more jobs and so forth will solve our poverty problem. In the first place, our social imbalance is the single biggest disincentive to investors. It’s time that our rich folks realize that we suffer from extreme poverty because too few have too much while too many have too little. The first big step to attaining the right solution is when we decide to first open our hearts. After we open our hearts to the plight of the least of our brethren, it becomes easier to open our wallets to them.

We also need an Easter moment among our public officials and those other persons in positions of power and authority - specifically those who have lost their sense of shame after they’ve lost their conscience. We were not born crass and insensitive to shame. It is natural for us to feel shame after we commit a sinful act. However, habitual commissions of shameful acts deaden our conscience until we eventually lose our sense of shame.

We should pray too that our religious leaders shall undergo an Easter moment. Too many times, they have allowed themselves to be distracted from their real mission by engaging in petty and irrelevant contentious issues. How many of our religious leaders these days are acting once again like the persecutors of the Inquisition - a shameful chapter of Catholic Church history?

Take the case of the Reproductive Health bill which the Catholic Church is rabidly opposing. They don’t even realize that many parishioners who have heard the menacing threats of priests and Bishops during Holy Mass are losing their respect for their religious leaders. Educated Catholics know that we are all entitled to free choice that is based on what our conscience tells us. What right do these priests and Bishops have to dictate the range of our choices?

The job of the religious leader is to teach the flock how to think - morally and ethically. They have no right whatsoever to tell the flock what to think and what not to think. If they do that, they are infringing on a God given right to every person — the right to choose and follow one’s conscience.

Let’s all work together to give our beloved country its long sought Easter moment. It starts with an enlightened citizenry, a people who know their real history and are aware of their rights as well as obligations to their country and fellow Filipinos. It is almost impossible to unite a benighted nation. Try forming a human chain in a pitch black big room.

Enlightenment when shared is more useful to the needy than donated goods or money. Given the capital but without the knowledge of how to use and make it grow will not rescue a poor person from poverty. Even with very little capital, an enlightened poor person is equipped for growth and improvement.

We Filipinos have been undergoing Calvary for too long. We owe it to ourselves and our posterity to make our country experience its Easter moment.

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