Millions of Filipinos will have celebrated the Resurrection of Christ this Easter. Just as many millions more Roman Catholics and Protestants have done this week and Orthodox Christians will do next week, Easter is the most meaningful and powerful day in the Christian calendar.
But once Easter is over, people throughout the world and in The Philippines in particular must remember not only the message of Easter in terms of spirituality, but in terms of how one can apply the meaning and message of Easter in one’s national life.
The world that Jesus Christ was born into was a world of tribalism, corruption, dirty money in spiritual places and a culture of fighting over petty issues where rigid legalisms and disingenuous dogmas took precedence over brotherhood, faith and compassion. This description eerily fits the realities of Philippine politics over the last several decades.
The message of Christ which became beloved in his land and throughout the world was one that prioritised morality over legalism, ethics over infighting, compassion over arrogance and unity above increasing division. These messages can as easily be applied to the political life of The Philippines as they can be to the spiritual outlook of Christians throughout the world.
For this positive message, Christ was whipped, tortured and killed by crucifixion. But as the anointed Son of God, his resurrection cleansed mankind of its own sins. Every year, some Filipinos demonstrate their own faith in an extreme manner by temporarily crucifying themselves in order to prove their devotion. While this is a very extreme and at times dangerous way to show one’s faith, the truth is that for decades, all Filipinos have been politically crucified by corrupt leaders. These leaders have allowed drugs to flow in the streets, just as during the life of Christ on earth, dirty money filled the Temple and harlotry filled dark halls. They have allowed people to be artificially divided, rather than united in a spirit of justice. They have allowed corruption to dominate society, literally polluting the waters of places like Boracay, where it was Christ who turned the purest water into wine and made a feast of fish to feed the hungry.
The Philippines was in need of a political resurrection from this environment and in 2016, the Mayor of Davao Rodrigo Duterte was elected President to literally resurrect the country in order to bring happiness, peace and dignity to the people.
Duterte, like all men with good souls, is a humble servant of his people. He cares not for the gilded pageantry of other less honest world leaders but is content to speak from his heart as though his words are his own blood being shed for the people he loves so dearly.
Meanwhile, Duterte’s critics continue to point wretched accusatory fingers at him, willing to excuse any social crime from drugs to corruption, just so long as they can throw stones at him. Worst of all, they call this petty infighting, this lying and this deceit ‘democracy’, when really it is merely the kind of factionalism that divides people, just as factionalism divided the people that Christ attempted to heal. It is the opposite of the will of the people and the opposite of the message of Easter.
Factionalism, corruption, infighting, states-within-states is not democracy at all, it is a vicious charade where greedy elites can use ancient tribal thinking to divided the people among themselves. The unity of purpose in President Duterte’s message represents a universal healing for The Philippines. Crucially this is a message that like that of Christ on a spiritual level, has politically united the vast majority of Filipinos. Yet there remain those afraid of losing their dirty wealth and their prestige to a man who does not want to be anything other than a servant of all the people.
Duterte continues to suffer from enemies domestic and foreign, because of his attempts to politically resurrect the country. His supporters cannot be tempted by the enemy as Judas was in the time of Christ on earth. Instead, the righteous must politically support Duterte so that future generations can live with the peace and prosperity they deserve. They must also never be deceived by lying priests nor lying politicians just as in the time of Christ on earth both types of leaders attempted to slander Christ.
No matter how his critics metaphorically whip Duterte and no matter how many stones they throw, he remains a consistent servant of the Philippine nation. His will is the will of the people, just as Christ’s was the will of God the Father. Thus one sees that while faith is a matter of spirituality and politics is a matter of secular problem solving, there are lessons that one can learn about daily life from all matters of faith.
President Duterte has reached out and touched an entire nation that has been divided by criminals and yet these vicious elements still seek to divide and call it something it is not. Filipinos must have faith in Duterte’s politics for it is only this that can help spread the truth.
While Jesus was born in Bethlehem and crucified in Golgotha, his message now resonates around the world. At a political level Duterte’s message is already resonating around the world, but one must continue to spread it so that his divisive enemies are not able to kill this good word before it has completed its earthly achievements.