Poor and Strangers: The sacrificial victims among us a reflection on Mark 9:38-48

By Nestor Ravilas

They do not have to be innocent; they must be defiled with criminal stigma to deserve punishment. After all, Jesus himself was not an innocent victim as traditionally assumed. Otherwise, the crowd will not unanimously participate on his death if he was declared guiltless. His putative pretension to be the king of the Jews was the crime that had persuaded the mob to participate on his lynching. An innocent sacrifice will cause repulsion, which will jeopardize the position of those in power through a sudden gush of revolt. The case of Kian Delos Santos is a case in point. It is necessary for surrogate victims to be demonized, to be branded either as criminal or monster. There goes the argument that drug addiction and criminality are one and the same.

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The Narrative of Paul: Politics of Memory and the Subversion of Gospel Story

by Nestor Ravilas

paulI was in a classroom and challenged.  The teacher stood feisty waiting for more responses.  I was in a retreat mode; even John 1:1 was already offered to prove the divinity of Jesus, but to no avail.  Most of the first chapter of the Gospel of John is not part of the gospel story, the teacher insisted.  It was the author’s introduction of the gospel story which technically started in verse 19.  Thus it was alien to the sacred story which was entrusted and eventually become the guiding light of the emerging community inspired by the incessant retelling of this story.

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