omehow, I wish that these thoughts would reach Brother Eduardo Manalo. I’m sure he is in touch with the current events surrounding the Church like the rest of us. This will not be about corruption, irregularities, or the incoming elections. (I could care less who wins the elections. I have seen so many presidents, senators, mayors, congressmen, etc. change seats with the same problems repeating over and over again. I read somewhere that we turn to politicians to look for solutions to our problems but didn’t we ever consider that it was them who created all these problems in the first place.)
My wife is a frail but very strong-willed person and she stands for what is right and proper. Every year without fail, on her birthday she would visit the Templo Central to offer thanks to our Creator for giving her life and two wonderful children and somewhere in between, I guess I would be included. But that stopped last year when Ka Tenny and three of her children were expelled from the Church. She no longer believed that God would be there in that Templo Central. In fact, she does not believe that God presides in our chapels anymore and all the routine of going to church on Thursdays and Sundays are mere rituals for nothing better to do. She puts it quite simply. “If you were God and left your home in care of one of your children and upon your return learned that the person you left in charge had killed me, his brothers, and sister, what would you do? If I were God, I would punish, disavow, and strip him of all his rights as my son and toss him into a dungeon. I would gather up all my remaining children and bring them to a new home where love would once again flourish and give meaning to life.”
Very straight forward and simply put.
But these are not the times when I am affected. It’s times when I see her sitting on her reclining chair sobbing so gently trying to avoid notice and asks me when I approach her, “Hanggang kailan ito…hirap na hirap na ako. Hindi ako sanay ng ganyan …” She is now into her late 60s. What would you do if you heard that from your mother or your wife?
So dear EVM, enjoy your last days of glory and the offerings of the Creator you so shamelessly spent. Together with all your so called ministers who continue to swear allegiance to your shit administration using the pulpit to continue your devious desires. You took for granted the lessons you yourself preached during the Holy Supper. May I remind you, only two options remain after the Holy Supper. Pagpapala o Sumpa. Never forget only one entity controls whether you live or die, and that is God, everything else is dependent on the person.
So I ask you dear EVM, what is happening to your loyal guards? Starting from Jun Santos, Rolly Esguerra, and now Ed Zabala. News blackout doesn’t erase the problem , it only worsens it. Come to think of it death is an easy way out. But I wonder why God has chosen somewhere between life and death as penance for your loyal knights of the round table. To show that the most knowledgeable doctors can’t cure “death” and the only thing they can do is prolong the agony? And when your time eventually comes and you are in your death bed, do you think that the tears of your ever beloved wife would even come close to the sorrow and pain being felt by your mother as she sees you suffer in pain?
Yesterday, I had the chance to meet a retired minister. He is the son of a former minister who has long passed away. I was attending to a business transaction and he happened to be the contact person I needed to talk with. We didn’t know each other yet but after some introductions, we continued with our business at hand. This didn’t take long. What was more interesting was what followed next.
“Ka **, hindi po ba kayo ministro?”
“Opo Ka **, naging ministro po ako noon 1981 at nagretire po ako mga 2 years ago dahil po sa sakit rin na minanana ko sa tatay ko” pointing to his heart.
“Si tatay, alam niyo naman na isang binata noong natawag sa iglesia. Kinupkop po siya ni Ka Erdy dahil nag-iisa siya at walang mapupuntahan. Ang nanay ko ay nireto sa tatay ko ni Ka Erdy. Noong una ayaw ng nanay ko dahil may boyfriend siyang taga ibang bansa. Isa siyang successful professional na nagtratrabaho sa kilalang kompanya at sumusweldo ng P2000.00 a month (malaki ito sa mga panahon yon) Tatay ko ay matanda na at walang alam na trabaho at walang pera. Sa madaling salita, natuloy rin sila. Ka Erdy ang sumagot sa lahat ng gastusin sa kasal. Si Tatay pumasok sa ministerio at naging isang ministro. Dito nasimula ang kalbaryo namin.
Nalipat kami sa pabahay sa Bago Bantay. Mula sa 2 libong suweldo ni Nanay naging 2 daan na lang. Ang dala ni Tatay ay isang maletang naglalaman ng lumang damit. Noon ay wala pang furniture ang mga pastoral, bare na bare. Ang mga katabi namin sa Bago Bantay ay sila Ka Bening, Ka Doval, at iba pang mga kilalang ministro. Syempre bata pa tayo noon, kalaro ko mga anak rin nila. Minsan nakikita ko si Ka Bening na may bitbit na pizzang pasalubong sa pamilya. Ang bango-bango. Ako ang pasalubong ng tatay ko “Butterball” na kendi.
Alam mo Ka **, grade 5 na ako nang matuto akong mag-brief. Paano nasilip ng dalawang kaklase kong babae ang yagbols ko at nagtawanan sila. Pag-uwi ko iyak ako. Nakita ako ng Tatay at tinanong Nanay ko kung bakit ako umiiyak. Kinuwento ni Nanay. Ayon, bumili ng 3 brief si Nanay na may tatak “Disco Duck.”
Then I went into inquisitive mode. I wanted to see his religious inclinations.
“Buti nagretire kayo dahil sa sakit. Paano kaya kung naabutan nyo ang panahon ngayon?” I asked subtly.
He said,“Kung ngayon ako inabutan, malaman kasama akong nakigulo na rin. Alam mo,” he slowed down, “Ang away ng magkakapatid magsuntukan lang tapos na yan kaya lang dapat hindi sinasama ang magulang. Ang kapatid marami, and Nanay ay isa lang. Ang Nanay ko mag ootsyenta na, maari ko bang pabayaan yan. Dalawa na lang kami. Ano, sisipain ko sya tapos sabihin ko sa mga kapatid na kayo ang magulang ko. Pwede ba yon!? Charity starts at home.”
My own mother left this world when she was just 50 years old, my father when he was 63. Both died in my arms, literally. My only brother was abroad at the time. There is one burden which I carry up to this day when I think of my mother. My mother during the 70s was very fond of watching local sitcoms. Her favorite was “John and Marsha”. This show started with black and white and eventually turned to color sometime in the late 70s or early 80s. As far as I remember she never asked for favors being brought up that way by her parents. But once she asked me if I could get her a color TV. I said yes but didn’t really give it much thought. She died a few months after. I never got to buy her that color TV and it has hounded me ever since. So if your mother asks you for something, no matter how insignificant it may seem, don’t wait. I waited. Wrong.
Actually I really don’t care if all our chapels including the Philippine Arena, the Central Temple, and all other properties are burned to the ground. All of these are just poperties built with only one supposed purpose – to glorify God. If it no longer serves its purpose, what’s the use?
But I do care of one thing. I care for family. This is where it all starts. No amount of success can compensate for failure in the home. This division in the Church which they deny will only worsen, you can count on that. We are not making history here, it is mere history in the making. As God so willed it.
So dear Eduardo, get that chip off your shoulders, go to your mother, embrace her and just say “Sorry, mahal kita”. that’s all it takes. To your brothers, put on your gloves and go three rounds. Release whatever tension remaining in all of you and call it quits. Hug your sister Lottie. And one more advise. Let go of your chopper and commute on a regular vehicle on your visitations. Hug your constituents, brethren, and visit the widows at Damarinas, their families. Dismantle the round table and make do with boodle-boodle with us your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Simple problem, simple solution. That’s all it takes.