December 8, 2022

(Editors’ note: The Courier is reprinting the columns of the late Atty. Benedicto T. Carantes as a tribute to one of its long-time columnists. This piece was published on Dec. 30, 2012)

In nearly every Filipino heart, each incoming New Year may be spelled out in one word – hope. Hope indeed springs eternal from 90 million inhabitants scattered all over 7,107 islands, but it is in the metropolitan areas where many hopefuls abound – from the very poor to the very rich.
Those living a wretched existence can only hope for a slightly better life – food on the table and clothes to keep them warm, not so much from the cold of the season, but from the unpredictable rains that seem to visit the whole year round. No thanks to global warming.
And the rich? Likewise, selfishly hoping for more and bigger money, yet only a few will share their bounty with less blessed countrymen.


Well, if the wealthy will continuously and consistently show complacency by closing their eyes to the woes of the needy, which seems to have infected our national leaders as well, expect a storming of private enclaves and government offices when another Andres Bonifacio surfaces to rally the poor against the injustice of it all. Mind you, this is not a loose or a drum-up prophecy.


There is an omen of foreboding in the air, and alas, hardly discerned by over a handful living comfortable lives. But those who will take part in this social upheaval must watch out for fake leaders with false claims that their hearts bleed for the less fortunate.


Luckily, these hypocrites will be easy to spot, since the word “politician” is emblazoned on their backs. And the military? They will side with the revolutionists because it will be easier to seize control from a fragmented new set of leaders, who will surely bicker over spoils. History is replete with examples about power grabs among former allies and partners and yes, even among kin.


Over the past decade, and going by current events, the world today is in religious turmoil. Try as it might, the Catholic Church finds itself helpless to contain trouble within its own rank and file. Consider men of the cloak sleeping with their mistresses and little boys, or living off the fat of the land from profits generated by various businesses that include universities, and renting out building most likely built from Sunday contributions and donations. But more than anything an object failure to convince God’s faithful that the church is the one true church and not a Vatican business empire.


Catholics still believe in God, but no longer in His so-called messengers. Maybe it would have been better if, aside from His humble birth and suffering, Christ had been more dramatic – like resurrecting in a blaze of light and glory while ascending to heaven for all the world to see. It seems walking on water wasn’t dramatic enough.


But maybe it is not too late, his second coming must be exceptionally grandiose – no, no, not welcomers shouting hosannas, but returning with all the angels of heaven in tow, and to His right, His beloved Mother, with a voice from heavens booming, “Repent, and sin no more.”


These are the only signs that will make all Christian pagans, and non-believers too, sit up and take notice, everyone thereafter heading to the nearest confessional box to bare all sins and beg for forgiveness, perhaps even the father confessor himself also doing the same thing.


Show yourself soon, Lord, otherwise, we are all doomed to hell, including wayward modern apostles. Okay, perhaps not the daily churchgoers, but all the (young) fold of today who dream of fame and riches, forgetting that there is a better and more wondrous afterlife – but only if one has lived a good and exemplary existence.
I think I missed my true calling.
A happy and healthy New Year to one and all!

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