Monday, July 24, 2006

Holy Anger

Anger, rage and hatred are related but not the same. Rage is anger gone neurotic. Hatred is anger consumed by self-righteousness and self-love. Anger is a normal human feeling. It is aroused or stimulated by events, persons or situations. Anger means that a person is sensitive, intelligent and most importantly alive.

A living person can and in a real sense should get angry. There is however such a thing as justified and un-justified anger. Justified anger is called indignation. It is anger with a clear and reasonable cause. Un-justified anger is irrational, impulsive and at times neurotic. Rage belongs to this category. Jesus knew how to love and knew how to be angry. Jesus’ love for persons was not blind. When he saw a defect, a weakness, a sin, a narrowness and stubbornness of character he did not hesitate to show his anger. How many times has he berated Peter, to the point of even calling him “Satan?” How many times has he cursed and lambasted the Scribes and the Pharisees even calling them “whitened sepulchers?”

To love Jesus means to know and understand the total Jesus. How many try to conveniently box Jesus in and project him as a completely passive, gentle and almost ethereal, spiritual, super and supra-human (inhuman) being? How many would look at this ugly, violent, greedy world and say, “we cannot do anything but pray to Jesus.” As they withdraw into their private altars, quiet Blessed Sacraments or their comfortable rooms, how easy it is for those who live in comfort, shielded by their wealth, status and power to say “let us withdraw and pray for this violent, rotten world.”

Besides, we are too small to do anything about the problems that are too big. What can we do about the Israeli siege of Lebanon? What can we do about the American occupation of Iraq? What can we do about the recent North Korean missile test launches? What can we do about tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions? And what can we do about Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, whose political, economic, legal and military establishment is far bigger than any of us?

We can continue arguing from our position of helpless littleness or from our convenient faith in the passive, gentle Jesus until we begin to realize how we continue to deceive ourselves. Aren’t we in fact protecting ourselves, our wealth, possessions and positions, in fact our privileges by feigning or faking “helpless littleness?” Aren’t we in fact guilty of idolatry or the worship of a false god by reducing Jesus to a gentle, passive and indifferent ascetic? Don’t we smell the stench of a cowardly, compromising and unfaithful Peter as we continue justifying our inability to do anything? Do we even allow our balloons of comfort and defensiveness to be pricked by the anger or indignation of the God of Love who sees through our selfishness, egoism conveniently masking our fear?

Today, is Gloria Macapagal’s State of the Nation Address. Outside Congress throngs will gather to express anger and indignation. Inside Congress, the usual accomplishments propped up by statistics will be routinely applauded by her supporters.

Today as in the past, success or progress will be given a human face when Manny Pacquiao, Precious Lara Quigaman and the first Pinoy conquerors of Everest will be honored. They will now join the hallowed (or hollow) ranks of Mang Pandoy, the three Payatas kids who set sail “tatlong bangkang papel” and Angelo de la Cruz. Once more we will hear another variation on the same theme of, “let us get on with our lives and leave behind the political mudslinging, bickerings and other forms of obstructionist and destructive politics as that which is going on outside Congress.”

Inside the air-conditioned, controlled atmosphere of Congress there will be feigned triumphalism and jubilation. In stark contrast, outside there will be rain, dirt, sixteen thousand riot police and thousands of angry protesters. Between the two groups of Filipinos, one triumphant and another angry, I wonder where truth would more brilliantly shine forth? The answer is simple. Truth is life and where there is life there is truth. Within Congress the President’s SONA will once more claim legitimacy for her illegitimate government. In other words, it will lie and try all the tricks to make the lie sound and seem true. Outside, an angry crowd will brave rain, water canons, tear gas and truncheons to denounce the lie.

Today’s SONA will be attended by one, who is neither happy nor indifferent. He will not be inside but outside Congress with the chanting, marching angry crowds for here there is truth, there is life. He will not be seen but He will surely be felt for as people express the truth, in holy anger and indignation, they express His Spirit as well. Jesus will attend the SONA. He is angry at the lies, cheating, injustice, murders, corruption and the brazen, unbridled ambition and clinging on to power of a regime that has lost legitimacy. If He will be aloud into Congress and could get within hearing distance, His voice may just reverberate, “Get Behind Me Satan.”

Fr. Roberto P. Reyes
Running Still
July 24, 2006


Post a Comment

<< Home