Friday, April 17, 2009

repentance. restitution. reconciliation.

With the Lenten time passed and the Easter season ongoing, it becomes highly relevant to think of and to understand well the significance of the sacred Tripod of Repentance-Restitution-Reconciliation. This has special application to all those people – public officials in particular from the local to the national levels – who very well know that they have pocketed a lot of money which was in no way theirs, who are much aware that they have acquired a lot of assets they did not earn, neither toiled or sweated for. For a good number of these public officials, falsity and deceit, shakedown and extortion, graft and corruption, have become but a matter of course. This is why an honest and upright poor public official is considered a fool if not a downright idiot.

It is a possibility – though not a probability much less a certainty – that at least some of the crooked and the depraved “Christian” or even “Catholic” politicos somehow joined the observance of the 2009 Sacred Triduum of Good Friday, Black Saturday and Resurrection Sunday. These are distinct days in the yearly calendar of the Catholic Church, the over all content and spirit of which is the composite call to genuine penance, generous forgiveness and profound rejoicing – in that order.

In other words, the passion of Christ invites Christians to penance for the evil they have done and for the good they failed to do. His death urges Christians to be forgiving towards those who have offended them. His resurrection tells Christians to rejoice whereas Christ is with them, alive and well. In short, there is redemption, there is sanctification, there is salvation for them. As to thieves, greedy capitalists as well as corrupt public officials, to these belong the said redeeming, sanctifying and saving grace coming from the passion, death and resurrection of Christ – only if they earnestly and dutifully make a restitution of anything and everything that are not theirs. This is but just and fair: Give back to the rightful owner what is not yours! Is that too hard to understand?

The truth of the matter is that it is restitution that is not only the fruit of repentance and also the cause of reconciliation with God whose commandment was violated and with neighbors whose ownership was transgressed. To whom must private funds/assets be given back if not to their private owners? To whom must public funds/assets be returned if not to the public coffers?

Conclusion: It is definitely not enough for the said thieves, avaricious capitalists and corrupt public officials to say they are sorry, to pray the Rosary, to join processions, to clasp their hands and look to heaven with teary eyes – not even to fast and abstain, to undergo flagellation and crucifixion even – to show genuine repentance and gain eternal salvation. Restitution is an urgent and living imperative for them all! Otherwise, people would just steal here and there, live luxuriously and have a delightful life, and then repent with crocodile tears while keeping safe and secure what they stole. How nice! How neat! But how dumb!

+OVCruz, DD
April 17, 2009