I remember a story narrated by Fr Danny Huang. A person went to hell and he was given a tour of the various rooms and one of them was the torture chamber/room. Here, he saw many pitchforks but one had the most blood. He asked, “What is this pitchfork for? What was it used to torture people for? Jealousy? Pride?” The devil replied: “Discouragement.”
I say this homily as my reaction to the election results. Since last night, as I watched the election results trickling in and until this morning, the inevitable has happened – the son of a dictator (and his family) is back. Yes, the lead is overwhelmingly wide and it’s hard to dispute the victor now.
But many of those I know (my echo chamber) who worked hard, who invested so much in campaigning and doing house to house calls, who believed that we would not repeat past mistakes, many of you, me included feel discouraged. Just like the disciples who were walking towards Emmaus, we are saying to ourselves: “We had hoped. We had hoped.”
But before we allow the devil and his favorite pitchfork pierce our hearts and deflate our spirits, we are reminded that we are people of the Easter morning. Just like the first reading today, as persecution was happening, the witnesses of Jesus, who for the first time were called Christians, continued their work.
I remember what St Thomas Aquinas said about hope: “Believing in a good future, which might be difficult, but nevertheless possible.” At the moment, a hope-filled future might seem closed and far away as a family who once pillaged the country is back, and all our efforts to seem to have gone to waste. Beware, discouragement is near. Christian hope reminds us to trust in the possible even when the present seems to be without a future.
Hope also asks us to act, the way the first Christians acted. They continued telling the story of the Jesus: that he suffered and died but rose again. They lived his ways – sharing and giving. We too cannot stop what we do – to tell and teach the truth, to be the light in the midst of lies and the historical revisionism taking place. VP Leni Robredo said last night: Continue to be present in our community, stand up for what is right, stand up and insist on the truth. Patuloy tayo magmahal. Huwag kayong bibitiw. It is at moments like these when our school’s standard/ motto Lux Oriens (light arising from the east) becomes ever more meaningful.
Christian hope is always trusting in the possible even when the present seems to be without a future. Let us pray for one another, let us not be discouraged. Let us not lose hope. Let us continue to build a hope filled future. Padayon sa Paglaum. Amen.
*image from the Internet