Matthew 26:14-25, Wednesday of Holy Week
Thirty pieces of silver. The price of betrayal. This is all it takes to lose our soul. All it takes to lose our hope.
To this day, the silver still circulates in our midst. Especially now, as elections draw near. To this day, the fraudsters are still falling over themselves to buy their way to power so that they can steal our lives. These are the people of the thirty pieces of silver. They will not disappear even after Easter Sunday. They will not disappear even after May.
They justify the thirty by giving a token amount to the poor and keeping the rest for themselves. They will say to themselves and to the people, surely it is not I alone. Satisfied, they will then tell God who sees everything, surely it is not I, Lord.
One evening last weekend, as I was driving from a conference in the MOA area, while waiting for the light to turn green, a sampaguita girl came to my window. I told her and showed her that I already had the flowers hanging on the rear view mirror. But she insisted. And so I relented. I fumbled in the dark for coins to give her, coins I did not bother to count. She gave me a couple of garlands for the coins I gave her. And then she returned one coin. Sobra daw. Sobra yung binigay ko.
It is the widow’s mite all over again, this one coin a little girl gives back to you, one coin of copper you would not even care about.
And yet it is the one coin of truth, the one coin of honesty, the one little coin from a sampaguita girl’s heart that is returned to us to remind us of who gets crucified when we fall for thirty pieces of silver.
One little coin of copper is enough to buy real things of value. It is enough to buy our rage. And rage we must against the rent-seeking cheats who toil so little because they can always steal from the sacrifice of working people.
One coin of copper is enough to buy our courage. And brave we must be to face the unscrupulous, to stand truth on its ground before those who have no qualms about lying their way to power.
One little coin of copper is enough to buy our hope. And hope we should in a girl who sells flowers in the streets, who gives you change even for the little you give.
Let us take care not to lose our way just because thirty pieces of silver continue to change hands to this day. We know we shall find our heart once more even in one honest coin of copper. We shall find our hope in the mite of the widow, in God who sees everything, who sees even the little change a street flower child gives you on your way home.