June 12, 2011 Leave a comment
There are two important celebrations we remember today as Filipino Catholics:
First off, we celebrate our birthday as a nation. This is the 113th year of independence from Spain. We remember those who fought for our freedom and sovereignty from our oppressors. We celebrate the birth of a nation, the birth of a race, the ennoblement of those who sought for true freedom despite opposition, the resurrection from the rubbles of war.
Though this date in 1898, 113 years ago today, is disputed because the Americans are also said to have handed down independence on July 4, 1946. We just have barely a month before its 65th year and at present, this is considered Filipino-American Friendship Day.
We remember as Filipino Catholics that all authority comes from God alone, and it would not be ours had it not been handed down to man.
Secondly, we celebrate another birthday. This is the birth of the Church. This is Pentecost.
More than 2000 years ago, Jesus promised to pour out His Spirit upon us. The promise of Jesus never to abandon us should be a sign of rebirth: that we are able to stand on our own feet and proclaim that truth that Jesus is Lord. When Jesus breathed on the apostles and declared “Receive the Holy Spirit,” this act is a sign that life is given. Remember that the action of breathing is supposed to denote the presence of life.
At childbirth, midwives and doctors usually gently rub the skin of the newborn baby in order to induce him to cry, thereby allowing him to breathe. This “breathing exercise” should be able to determine if the baby is alive at birth or is considered stillborn. Therefore, we need some touch from an external source in order to bring forth life, such as the action of God molding man out of clay and breathing on him.
The breath of life given to us is an assurance that we are given authority to dominate. Remember that one of the gifts of the Spirit is wisdom. Our independence is an assurance that we are given the wisdom, the strength and all the other gifts needed to live the life of the authentic Christian, and of course, as authentic Filipinos.
Freedom is supposed to be a new lease on life. If we consider this to be a new lease on life, then we should consider that this is never an absolute thing. Freedom without God is never authentic: it will let your conscience imprison you and therefore make you feel dead.
On our birth as a nation and as a Church, let us remember that true freedom as citizens of a nation under God is not being able to think without being in tune with the promptings of that same Spirit which the apostles and the Blessed Mother received at Pentecost. Remember that it was not by the power of the apostles themselves that they were able to speak in the native languages of those who were present there, but it was because there was this Breath who moved them to do so.
In the same way, as we celebrate our freedom, we are reminded that it was not by the power of those like Ramos, Enrile, Cory, Cardinal Sin, and all others that we were able to say “Free at last!” We still have to be reminded that there were those who prayed for guidance from the Spirit, and as a result, there was no bloodshed.
Today, we need what is called a renaissance, a rebirth, a new Pentecost. In order to truly feel our freedom, we need a new breath of air that will refresh us and make us do things in conformance with what is good, what is God’s will. If, however, we do it without air, it’s uncomfortable.
Happy birthday to us!