May hustisya ang Diyos.” We often hear this, if not say it ourselves, every time we go through an experience when we feel disadvantaged or unjustly oppressed. Some would criticize this as a fatalistic attitude that makes us passive and subject to domination.
Let us reflect on “may hustisya ang Diyos” by using a framework popularized by Stephen Covey: Begin with the end in mind.
The Feast of Christ the King closes the liturgical year of the Catholic Church. The Gospel for the Mass, the Parable of the Final Judgment, and all the readings today give us a clear, end-game scenario.
“And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” This is as clear as it gets. The oppressive and selfish goats, as the parable calls them, will burn in hell, and the righteous will be given their just reward.
This is the justice of God. It rewards compassion, care and love.
While some may use this to give a fire-and-brimstone harangue, it has given rise not just to self-righteousness, but even to a fanaticism that has wreaked much division and violence. But God’s justice is more than fear.
God’s justice is God’s love, and a core characteristic of this love is the freedom it gives us: the freedom of conscience that allows us the freedom of choice.
We get a glimpse of this freedom in what William Barclay calls “help which is uncalculating,” help not seen as a ticket to heaven. “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you?” It was being present to others and seeing their needs, entering their world and sharing in it by doing something without even being conscious of it.
This parable is a picture of our shared humanity. The suffering were given help, but more than the help, it was the experience of someone being there for them, healing them and empowering them. It was natural for those who helped to act the way they did.
The last Sunday of the liturgical year reminds us that “the end” is inevitable—an inevitable hope, an inevitable love and compassion that awaits us.
Last Thursday, I attended the seventh anniversary of MLAC Institute for Psychosocial Services and the 74th birthday of its founder, Dr. Honey Carandang, a mentor and a colleague, an inspiration and a companion in the journey toward wholeness and the integrity of our inner truth.
Anatomy of fear
In her annual lecture, she talked about the anatomy of fear. One point that struck me was her stressing on the importance of giving life once more to the child in us: “A creative adult is a child who survived.”
She talked about how children dream and play, how this disposition empowers them not to succumb to fear and to see the world from their frame of dream and play. The talk ended with an invitation to play through music and dance.
As I drove back home from the event, I recalled what my 11-year-old ward told me just the day before. It must have been the fruit of a good discussion in his Christian Life Education (CLE) class.
He started by saying that if Adam and Eve did not give in to the temptation of the devil, we would not have climate change and global warming. Technology would not compete with and destroy nature.
He continued that children would be able to play and walk in the night without fear of being harmed or kidnapped. They would all be able to go to a good school. Parents would be able to work and provide for their families. Families could go on vacation. It would be an ideal world.
I was thankful that I sincerely listened to a child’s dreams and visions for the world, the world he will “inherit” from us. His dreams and visions remind us that our world was created good and that we are inherently good.
He understood, too, that man had a choice, and if we make the right choices, we can have an ideal world. Perhaps we should listen to children more.
Begin with the end in mind. It’s the vision of an ideal world, a child’s dream and vision—“the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” —CONTRIBUTED