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Ronald Roy — Nov. 20, 2013

There were two tyrants during the Roman Empire: Caligula, born Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus (AD 12-41; emperor, AD 37-41) and Nero, born Caesar Augustus Germanicus (AD 37-68; emperor, AD 54-68). They both feared and hated Jesus Christ of Nazareth for being a threat to the throne, because it had been prophesied that a messiah would be born and be proclaimed King of the Jews.
During their respective regimes, Caligula and Nero would persecute, arrest and put to death Jesus’ followers. The tyrants would announce in advance the date of their captives’ execution in the Roman Colosseum, which they would then pack with their elitist minions and the general public to witness the most brutal “sport” for their amusement.
With limbs unbound, over a dozen of these early Christians would be herded to the center of the arena where they would cluster, then, facing outwards, kneel, press their clasped hands to their breasts, gaze skyward and start chanting praises to God with smiles on their faces. The mob would then frenziedly roar as doors were opened to release a famished pack of untamed lions to partake of their meals.
What made them wish to die the horrid way they did was something that defies the instinct of self-preservation. No, it is not the willingness to sacrifice one’s life for whatever the cause that is the mystery here, but the reason-defying desire to die gruesomely. Indeed, the notion of being mangled, masticated and swallowed piece by piece by a huge ferocious beast is something no rational person would dwell on!
So then, were the early Christians in our story out of their minds? I do not think so. They saw Jesus heal the lepers, produce barrels of wine out of a cup of water, multiply 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish to feed thousands that gathered to listen to his sermon at a mount, smear a blind man’s eyes with mud and spittle to make him see again, walk on water and raise the dead back to life.
They saw Jesus, heard him, smelled him, touched him and marveled at his acts — feats that no other mortal could have conceivably performed — and when he told them he had been sent down to earth by his Father to be persecuted and crucified in order to expiate for their sins so they could enter his Father’s heavenly kingdom, they mulled in awe: “This man has to be the Son of God!” They personally experienced his love — a love that defined his Divine nature — and that explains why they happily welcomed death at its gristliest.
However, mankind of modern times, like you dear readers and myself, has not directly experienced the love of Jesus, a man named Emmanuel who was supposedly the deliverer of Judah as prophesied by Isaiah (Isa. 7:14, 8:8; Matt. 1:23).And that’s because none of us has actually seen, smelled, heard or touched Jesus, unlike the ancient Romans who could easily postulate both his Divinity and humanity with their physical senses.
It would be futile for us to prove that there was such a man called Jesus Christ, or Emmanuel, given the lack of empirical basis, even if he now watches me as I type this article, and you, dear readers, as you also go over it. But we can, really, if we give a chance to what is called FAITH — that strong belief based on spiritual conviction rather than on proof, that transcendent opinion that begins where reason ends.
Please allow me to proceed without meaning to be preachy: It is my belief that all acts of nature are acts of God, and that accordingly Supertyphoon Yolanda was an act of God, not of man. This being so, we could blame Him for the senseless havoc that Yolanda wrought, but we should not because what good would that serve?
Rather, let us find comfort with the thought that He caused the catastrophe (or allowed it to happen) for our own good, so we may mend our ways and love back His Son who suffered and died so we can earn the right to go to heaven. Thinking this way should prepare us best for more Yolandas that will most likely come in escalating ferocity.
And as for the victims of Eastern Samar, Tacloban, Antique, Capiz and other Visayan areas in particular, this mindset, or FAITH if you will, should set a clearer course for the rebuilding not only of their homes, government buildings, roads, bridges and other infrastructure, but also of their lives, their future.
Once again Christmas is very much in the air, and already tradition has set the pace of planning family reunions, shopping, Kris Kringle, Simbang Gabi, Noche Buena, and an array of tinkling multi-colored whatnots. Then we recall the scourge of Yolanda. We remember the pangs of hunger from our respective past experiences — in my case during the 2nd World War — and we pause to question the propriety of the festivities.
Let the answers come from our hearts filled with the spirit of FAITH, hope and charity. I have already started to plan how my family will honor the Holy Babe on the occasion of His birthday. Well, have you?

(https://musingsbyroy.wordpress.com | 09186449517 | @ronald8roy | #musingsbyroy)

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