Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Whenever somebody greet us “Happy New Year” with all honesty and sincerity,- for me, it’s a clear manifestation that as human beings , our understanding of the world is fundamentally future-looking. Once again, in every television and radio show, known fortune tellers and astrologers and all of their kind are featured and gain media attention. Some sociologists claim that indeed men of our era are attracted and fascinated most by the future than what have transpired in the past. People are more eager to know events that never has been and things that are essentially new.

Today is the Solemnity of the Epiphany of our Lord Jesus which is associated with the visit of the Magi to the Holy Infant (Mt. 2:1-12). But in most countries, including the Philippines, the celebration of Epiphany was last Sunday, January 3.“Epiphany” came from a Greek word for “revelation” or “manifestation”. It is the moment of understanding, an "aha" moment where everything comes together. And it is the final day of the twelve days of Christmas for us Catholics. This is to remind us that a star is born. A star that is even more central, not only for our solar system, but for the entire known universe.

Though I have stated a while ago that we are more interested in the future than in the past, I am inviting you to remember series of negative events that happened in Occidental Mindoro in 2009. The killing of Atty. Crispin Perez, the tie-up of some local officials,- especially at the barangay level, and the mining companies especially Pitkin Petroleum Ltd and Intex Resources, the massive mudslinging and politicking, the alleged graft-ridden and anomalous infrastructure projects, the continuous operation of Small Town Lottery or STL, the wrecking of the Partrick Pass in Sablayan, and so forth and so on. Let us forget for the moment the gains that we accomplished like the Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative (OMECO) change of leadership, the 25 year Mining Moratorium Provincial Ordinance and the rest of our little victories. Let us concentrate on the flaws and horrors of the year as we reflect on these words from a known theologian named Jurgen Moltmann in his book “Theology of Hope” : “It is (the revelation or manifestation) an announcement which is a proclamation of what is to come and therefore the abrogation of what is.” And from his German contemporary named Gerhard Ebeling : “The fascination with the future transforms the existence and subsisting reality into a changing and challenging reality, so that the real of this reality emerges as its possibilities for the future.” So, each time a fresh year is first experienced, it brings new hope and challenge to speak and proclaim the God not “above us” but “before us” and to be committed to build a new world of justice and peace. In short, a time to turn the garbage into gold.

This situation requires men and women of faith nourished by great hope and thus possessed of much courage. The courage of the Magi, who undertook a long and dangerous journey following a star, and who knew to kneel before a Babe and offer Him their precious gifts.

The people of Occidental Mindoro need this courage, anchored on firm hope…

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