Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva
Solemn greetings to my kababayans!
Marx, Lenin, and Mao Tse-Tung. My exposure to their teachings and principles gave me the courage to fight against grinding poverty and rampant injustice that have been shackling the masang Pilipino.
And yet, if there was one message that has revolutionized my life, it would not be Marx or Lenin or Mao. It would have to be the message of the Cross.
In the early times, the Cross meant punishment, and not just a simple punishment, mind you, but the severest and cruelest punishment. You see, the Cross was reserved only for the lowest of social status (slaves) and the lowest of moral standards (capital offenders).
But Jesus Christ, who was neither low in social status (He IS God) nor low in moral standards (He is blameless in every way) was nailed on a most horrible and humiliating Cross! And for what? For you and me, dirty sinners--
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:23-24)
God sent His Son, His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, that all of us, no matter how sinful and unworthy, might have a full life here on earth and, more importantly, eternal life in heaven (John 10:10b). No other teaching promises us this!
Therefore, this Lenten season, as the message of the Cross transformed the atheist-communist Eddie, may it also free you--from guilt, shame, and sin. All you need to do is accept the love He is offering you. Then you will also be free from your fears, worries, and doubts... even from your sicknesses, troubles, and sufferings, because:
"He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)
And so, my dear fellow Filipinos, may the message of the Cross be truer in our hearts now more than ever before. May we never look at it as just a piece of wood, but as a symbol of God's tremendous and incomprehensible love for each of us.
Finally, may the Cross also propel us all to do as Jesus did. May we all learn to get out of our comfort zones to extend a hand to our fellowman: It could be a bowl of rice or a piece of blanket... it could even be a simple smile, a little text message, or a short visit... it could also be an "I'm sorry" or an "I forgive you." Whatever it may be, it does not need to be grand and expensive. It just have to be, like Christ's offering at the Cross, voluntarily and wholeheartedly.