Thousands of protesters from different religious denominations flocked together at the Edsa Shrine for a prayer vigil against the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Bill. By 3pm, there were already more than 10,000 protesters and they kept on coming. No amount of rain could stop them.
The rally was hosted by the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) together with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila. It was also attended by Christian Pro-Life Resources and some Filipino Muslim brothers and sisters.
Religious leaders were enraged by the definition of life by pro-RH bill lawmakers. For the pro-RH, life is not yet there if body is not yet formed in the mother’s womb. Meaning, if the “baby” is still a few days old and is still as small as a drop of blood, it is not yet considered as “human”. When the RH Bill is enacted into law, the contraceptives that will be used can still prevent the “baby” from having its body and can still be “aborted”.
Two months ago, our Filipino senator judges found then-Chief Justice Renato Corona guilty of violating Article II of the Articles of Impeachment filed against him. To date, he is the first Filipino Supreme Court Chief Justice to have been impeached.
Right now, the Judicial Bar Council of the Philippines is in the process of selecting the potential successor for the position of Chief Justice. They plan to announce it within this week.
So with the quick turn of events in our country, as citizens do we ask ourselves, “What kind of justice do we want?” or at least, “What kind of justice do we deserve?”
The news just got disturbing.
Here in the Philippines, Kabataan Party list Representative Raymond Palatino filed a bill entitled “RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN GOVERNMENT ACT”. Though it would first seem that it is in favor of religion, well if you read it carefully, it is not.
Whenever I go through the “Moses Chronicles” – that is, from Exodus to Deuteronomy, I am always overwhelmed with the long list of laws written down. “You shall not eat unclean animals”, “You must give these as a grain offering”, and such that seem to sound too complex, apart from the “basic” Ten Commandments. But what had boggled my mind this evening is the consequences for disobeying these laws are usually harsh…like stoning the sinner to death.
Knowing that these seem to have changed when the New Testament opened, I asked God does it mean that these laws have become void and null. I wouldn’t explain it in an attorney’s jargon, but Romans 7 gave me a refreshing revelation.
Apostle Paul explained how we were redeemed from the law’s punishment through the blood of Jesus. Now, in the OT, one way to redeem a person from sin is through blood sacrifice – kill the lamb and sprinkle its blood on the altar. Jesus, then, became the ultimate sacrifice, as He shed His blood to redeem us all; past, present, and future. Paul mentioned that we have “died to the law through the body of Christ” (Romans 7:4). But he also had taken note that the law is not really the sin, but when we know more of the law, the more we rebelled against it because of our sinful nature (Romans 7:7-20). Originally, the law said, through Moses, it was given because of their hardheartedness. But Jesus came not to abolish the law but fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). Truly, the law sounded harsh but when Jesus came, He redeemed us all…the mercy of the Lord fulfilled the redemption of the law itself, and those who come to die from self are redeemed from death, accomplished by trespassing the law.
What overwhelmed my heart is the greatness of this redemption. The mercy of the Lord is so unfathomable, I couldn’t believe how great is His love. What the hard-headed Israelites at the wilderness did not realize, is now so open to everyone. I just pray we all come to see it. How great is Your love, Lord, how great!
“This day the LORD your God commands you to do these statutes and rules. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul.” -Deuteronomy 26:16
Every law mentioned from Exodus to Deuteronomy sounded so rigid that that the downside of following it to the detail like a pressured schoolboy may cause have the Israelites to become a religious frenzy – like the Pharisees who obey the commandments without their hearts in it. However, the Lord knew how frail a human heart can be, that He warned through Moses to do all these statutes “with all their heart and with all their soul”.
The Lord did not give commandments to make His own people robots. Since He knew how these people can become so disobedient (and we can see it throughout the Old Testament), He gave these laws as a guide. Truth is, the Ten Commandments is the very heart of the law but God continued furthermore to gave detailed laws on festivals, food, marriage, and even on executing justice. The Mosaic law, in fact, is similar to a nation’s constitution. However, the ancient Isrealites viewed them, not as a loving guide, but as strict rules to obey (and to rebel against), and so the Lord reminded them that they must be carefully followed with everything they are.
When we practice out own religious right, at times, we have the tendency to become so religious, we do them like living zombies. Even in following the Word of God, we sometimes lose heart in doing it, but just do it for the sake of doing it. Yet, the Lord tell us to do these things with our whole selves. Of course, we should not just go to church, be nice to others, pray and read the Bible without a heartfelt intention. Rather, when we obey and follow His Word, we should not do it for the sake of the “being Christian” trend, but really follow it just because we love Him and we love doing His Words.