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Benny Carantes

Lenten stories
Today is Palm Sunday, the start of the Holy Week. It was on this day that Christ, riding a donkey, was warmly welcomed to Jerusalem in a rare display of love and affection. All the Jews were waving palms and shouting hosannas – only to betray Him later.

As early as then, Christians were as fickle as the weather – a trusted disciple kissing the Lord on both cheeks like a Mafia don does to a condemned man; His most trusted apostle denying Him thrice, and even more painful, His very own people picking Barabas over Him in a referendum of sorts.

* * * * * * * * * *

Bunch all that with the suffering of Jesus and His resurrection to Paradise after His death on the cross, and that is what Christendom is all about – betrayal, sacrifice, and rising to the heavens at the end of earthly life.

Twenty centuries since and mankind has yet to learn its lesson. “Love thy neighbor as you love yourself” preached He, but loving thy neighbor’s wife seems more like it. Saved from sin, yet doomed by his own making. Pity the human race.

* * * * * * * * * *

My Minda and our eldest son Marc motored to Pangasinan yesterday, in our usual every now and then visit or pilgrimage to the miraculous Lady of Manaoag, who has become a significant part of our lives ever since I became a father, praying not really for myself, but for my family, especially for our two boys.

Now I know what my father was trying to tell me when he said I will only understand him when I become a father myself. Indeed, when you become a family man, the person you used to love the most becomes the person you love last – yourself.

* * * * * * * * * *

My sons, happily, are emotionally brainy unlike their dad. In my younger years, each time depression set in, I would talk back at my father, blaming him for the various woes in my life, never myself. There were even moments that I would snub my old man, no responding to his questions, pretending he wasn’t there.

Today every time I remember my dad, tears well in my eyes, because I was heartless and didn’t know any better, not like my two boys who treat me with respect and deference, giving me hugs and words of encouragement when they see me looking all blue and worried sick.

* * * * * * * * * *

There is no day that I do not pray and ask forgiveness from good old Pete, who despite my differences (all coming from me) taught me everything I know about life, although it was from my mom that I learned to play chess. For all my faults, my parents thought the world of me, as I now think the world of my Minda and our two wonderful boys, one still playing the field, the other with a steady girlfriend with whom he has yet to tie the knot.

* * * * * * * * * *

Holy Week, that time of year when we go to church and confess our sins, do the Stations of the Cross with family, realizing only too well that Christ suffered and died on the cross for His Father, who so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son.

Hey, do you know the keys to success are happiness and long life? Yep, it is being good to your parents. Jesus said so Himself. It is never too late to do that.

* * * * * * * * * *

Pacquiao fights today. A defeat in the ring is not something I would wish upon a compatriot, but neither am I praying for a Pacman victory.

All these talks about running for the Senate, even the vice presidency (who knows where he will want to go from there) is getting on my nerves. I think Jinggoy, Bong, Erap, Lito, Annabelle, and I tremble from both fear and anger.

* * * * * * * * * *

By the way, if actor Roi Vinzon had won a Baguio council seat years back, I bet you he would have run for mayor in 2013. But hey, sir Morris is one hell of an actor himself. Get well soon, mayor. Honestly, we don’t want you going out that way. We want you still throwing punches before the lights go out.

Lest your people misunderstand me again, this is what keeps you alive and fighting, to prove me and my kind wrong about what we think of your leadership. The last thing we would want to see is the champion of champions backing out from a challenge. One last big fight kumpadre, before you ride off into the sunset, with head bowed or held high.

* * * * * * * * * *

Postscripts: Both pro and anti are claiming victory in the decision of the Supreme Court on the RH bill. The most relieved is the Catholic leadership, since the win-win situation means the church still has some influence over its flock.

* * Searchers for the missing Malaysian airline jetliner are completely focused on the “ping” sound. While the ping can last only for 30 days, we know of another ping who was able to go into hiding for nearly two years.

Pings, as they say, are hard, if not impossible to find. But the ping the searchers are looking for is not disguised as a woman. Like the ping, gender is hard to detect – unless bumigay.

* * Every brand new car is always brought to a priest by its owner for blessing. Given the number of accidents happening on our highways day in and day out, does this mean that the sprinkling of holy water is all for naught? Well, not exactly. It is precisely because of the blessing that drivers become imprudent and reckless. Like they say, God only helps those who help themselves. In other words, if you do not drive carefully, you are not helping yourself.

* * I was just nearby buying sapsap at the fish market when the Kayang gruesome murders took place. Check the suspect for drug use, officers.

A truly Holy Week to all – saints and sinners alike.

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