By José Abeto Zaide
Last Good Friday Fr. Dindo Purto, a just recently ordained priest, shared his reflection on Siete Palabras. I asked his permission to share one of his homilies, which reflects on his elder siblings’ inordinate expectations of a religious, as well as our own dimension leaving the task entirely to our Savior. Fr. Dindo begins his reflection on the space below:
It was my last day of vacation at home, and my last night with my parents. But as I entered the dimly-lit room, I found two beds, separated. Nanay was sleeping on one corner, Tatay on the other side, I would be somewhere in between. (Tampuhan or away?)
When something goes wrong between our parents, my siblings would turn their eyes to me, “Ikaw na bahala.” Why me? I am one the youngest. My older brothers should do the talking and negotiating. Because: “Religious ka. Magpapari ka. Baka lang naman makinig sa’yo ang mga magulang mo!”
They really believed that I had something that they didn’t have – God! They believed I had Jesus, I had God because I was in the seminary! If I could only tell them – I do not have Him either! But I did not and I could not. Everyone hoped for a resolution; but everyone was immobilized. I realized they thirst for something.
We all thirst for something – the reconciliation of our parents. It’s become a family habit. Where our parents quarrel, my siblings would try everything, but in vain. They would always recourse to the last resort and text me. The one who is supposed to have God. Me. Wow! What a responsibility! Akala nila pag may pari ang pamilya, may solution sa problema. Pag may pari, may sasagot sa lahat. Old habits die hard. My siblings see me not as a brother; but they see a man of the cloth as a Mr. Fixit.
Look at Jesus. He is there. He has God; but people did not realize it. His disciples, who are supposed to see God first in Him, failed Him. Worse, they dispersed in fear, when Jesus needed them most. They did not want to be associated with Him hanging on the cross. (Just like my sibings, “O ayan na, nag-away ang mga magulang mo!”)
On the cross, Jesus said, “I thirst.” Jesus thirsts for His identity – His identity as a teacher, as a friend, as a son. But His identity is lost on the cross. Look at Him: Do we recognize in Him the teacher who taught about the Kingdom? Who taught us about God? The friend who talked about eternal life, and yet was dying on the cross? The Son of God through whom we would see the Father?
His world is silent about His identity when He is impaled on the cross. Jesus is broken by controversy, mockery, and mystery? Can we identify a God in Him now? On the cross, we can not identify the person He wants us to see — God.
What happened on Good Friday was contradictory. All that Jesus did and all that He said would go pffft!. No one was there to give witness for Jesus against His accusers. No one would stand up for Him? Who would say, “I AM.”
Jesus assumed the I AM of the Old Testament.That is why when He entered in the New Testament, this I AM that Yaweh spoke to Moses became a person, Jesus. Who will lawyer for sinners? Jesus said: “I AM.” Who will heal the infirm, the lame, the blind? Jesus said: I AM. And on Good Friday, Jesus was asked: Who is going to take up the cross! I AM. Nandoon ang pag-ako ni Hesus ng I AM ng Diyos.
Why is Jesus God? Because Jesus declared it so: I AM. That is the essence of God, the capacity to assume the I AM WHO AM of God. Jesus assumed the identity of God. When He is on the cross, He thirsts not only for the I AM of His Father: He also thirsts for our “I AMs”. Nagkakasala tayo dahil nakalimutan natin ang “AKO” ng Diyos sa atin! Nakalimutan natin ang pag-ako sa Diyos. Pero ang pagmamahal ng Diyos, kaya niyang akuin ang lahat ng “AKO” natin, kahit ang ako ng kasalanan at kahihiyan, kahit ang ako ng kataksilan at kapahangasan, kahit ang ako ng kamatayan. Ngayon nasa krus si Hesus, sino sa atin dito naman ang makakaako ng AKO ng Diyos?
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