Wednesday, April 08, 2009

“Forgive Them, Father, They Do Not Know What They are Doing.” (Luke 23:34)

It is to his eminent credit, supreme praise and supernal credit that while suffering and dying, the Crucified Christ even remembered those who wronged Him with distinct cruelty and inhumanity. And the wonder of wonders was that His remembrance came in form of a most noble composite option: First, he thought about the plight of His own tormentors. Second, He brought His concern about them before the Father Himself. Third, He asked for their forgiveness without any hesitation nor reservation. Fourth, He even provided the reason for the Father to forgive them. Fifth, He Himself even expressly pointed out the cause for forgiving all those who had something to do with his passion, crucifixion and even forthcoming death, viz, ignorance!

Genuine ignorance is a human rational liability that makes an agent free of the demerit of his or her evil deed, just as he or she likewise remains undeserving of the merit of a good act. In other words, utter ignorance of the right or wrong of one’s deed releases the latter from any responsibility for it. This is the norm in the realm of conscience and before the Good Lord Who is the Final Judge of all human actions and omissions. In substance, it can be said that ignorance means lack of knowledge, absence of understanding, defect of perception, devoid of consciousness – inclusive even of presence of psychotic mental disorder.

When this One of the Last Words of Christ explicitly pronounced during his dying moments – which precisely gives it not only exemplar but also supernal significance and relevance – is recalled in a special way during the Lenten Season, all the ordinary Christian Faithful are not only inspired and consoled, but also hopeful and trusting that God would forgive them their sins – for not knowing any better! But what about the extraordinary Christian Faithful? Those who proudly hold the power of life or death over others? Those who have command on the wealth of the Nation at the cost of the poverty and hunger of the people? Those who live in extravagance and luxury at the expense of those who wallow in misery and sickness?

In other words, what about the following concrete specimens of Christian Faithful? The national and local public officials who shamelessly cheat in the elections, who thereafter indulge in graft and corruption as a matter of course. Those who pocket and spend public funds as if these were their own. Those who manipulate the market such as in terms of supply, demand and pricing. Those who do not wink an eye in perpetrating extrajudicial killings and summary executions. Those who amass wealth by drug trade, by gambling operations, by gun running. Those who live by the firings of guns, the working of goons, the power of gold.

What about these people who are neither few nor rare? What about these living curses of society and loud lamentations of the people? Do they not know what they are doing? Are they included in the forgiving Word of Christ from the Cross? Just asking! Just wondering!

+ OVCruz, DD
April 8, 2009