God Dies with Us (Matthew 21)

by Nestor Ravilas

He is from Galilee, the city located exactly at the other end of the political and economic center of Judea which is Jerusalem. From the time newspapers and prime time news programs beginning to cover his activities, spies and state agents were sent out to monitor his activities. Sifted from the reports of all four gospels, the power house of the elite and political class were dispatched to sleuth on him – Pharisees, scribes, experts of the law, and even Herodians in the account of Mark, take interest on him and went down to Galilee, the city that produces most of the activists and bandits in the late second temple Judea. Galilee is the worst place to live in having situated at the dry end of the economic funnel that sloshes down starting from the prime city of Jerusalem, but a conducive den for the enemies of the state like brigands, bandits, and activists for they could safely slide to Macedonia once the state would whimsically budge in to run them down, or wickedly spray them to test its newly acquired bullets from China.

The swarming of state agents from Jerusalem has not intimidated Jesus and his vestigial movement. Instead of retreating up to Syria or swim across the Decapolis in fear of the daunting presence of the state power, the movement rather is heading forward, threading the main highway going to Malakanyang palace, I mean, Jerusalem. It was a protest march, obviously. It was a march described with series of intense collisions with the state agents, the Pharisees, the scribes, the experts of the law, and the Philippine National Police. Jesus has never mince words in insulting these religious and political groups of Jerusalem. Most of the altercations centered on the discriminatory treatments of those socially classified as outcasts – tax collectors, prostitutes, addicts, etc. Those “sinners” who were barred from associating with the healthy and ritually pure inhabitants. Jesus himself, in many occasions, was questioned regarding his purity because of his association with these defiled people. In one occasion, he was sneered off by bishops, pastors, Evangelicals, and peace builders for having meals with some youth who have fallen victims to substance abuse. There was actually series of incitement issued by the insane high priest now sitting in Jerusalem temple to kill these social gross.
It was all the purpose of the protest march, to challenge the power of its baleful pretension and hypocrisy. Unfazed, Jesus entered Malakanyang, the very seat of power. To everyone’s surprise, there he went berserk and started throwing and toppling everything, in the place where the very power resides. It was a demonstration of indignation, of repulsion, of complete outrage to the institution that supports, sustains, and promotes such dehumanizing policies that discriminate the socially defiled such as prostitutes, tax collectors, and the drug dependents who were creatively converted to shooting targets like those zombies in the television series, The Walking Dead, by the state. Jesus thereafter withdraws in solitude but remains undaunted of his belief, that there is still hope for those social gross to find salvation, while those who are confident of theirs might lose it if they will not take heed John’ call for repentance. The following day, Jesus is dead. He suffered “Tokhang” himself while praying in a garden somewhere in Caloocan, for he was already profiled because of his association with these social dirt. Will he rise again? Will he rise again to make true of his promise?!
Good people of this country, will you rise with him?!

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