Is Jesus Christ a communist?

DEMAND AND SUPPLY - Boo Chanco (The Philippine Star) - April 28, 2021 - 12:00am

If we were now living in Biblical times and Jesus was delivering his sermons, there is a high probability that General Parlade and that woman spokesman of an anti-communist agency would red-tag the Son of God.

Not only did the general red-tag Ana Patricia Non, the community pantry organizer, he called her an evil person, the devil herself tempting people with Eve’s cursed apple. It boomeranged on him. Anyone with some humanity can recognize a good deed from a person with a good heart.

Even the general’s superiors eventually recognized there is nothing wrong with feeding the hungry. Indeed, it is a noble thing to do because as Christians, we are responsible for the wellbeing of our brothers and sisters.

We should rejoice that from one humble cart in Maginhawa street, community pantries have mushroomed all over the country overnight. The multitude of hungry Filipinos long neglected by Duterte and his government are now getting food.

Jesus Christ would have blessed Ana Patricia Non and all the community pantry organizers. Our Lord and Savior wants us to make sure the hungry are fed. It is our Christian duty, following his example.

In Matthew 15:32-39, Jesus called his disciples because He wanted to feed over 4,000 hungry people who followed Him to listen to His words. Feeding the hungry is something Jesus does.

If the general read Act of the Apostles in the New Testament, he will be shocked to learn that the earliest Christians under the direct influence of our Lord Jesus Christ, were acting like “communists.” They surrendered their wealth to the community and everyone shared according to one’s need. That sounded like the sign on Ms. Non’s community pantry.

Acts 4:32-35 declares that there was not a needy person among them, for those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the proceeds at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each according to their need.

This tradition was carried through the second century. Christians shared everything in common, renounced private property, and gave their wealth to the poor.

As late as the fourth and fifth centuries, there were bishops and theologians who frequently issued pronouncements on wealth and poverty, that one writer said made Karl Marx sound like a timid conservative.

To be a Christian in the tradition set by Jesus Christ himself will make one a subversive or a communist in the eyes of the general and those like him in government.

I went through the trouble of reviewing the Biblical foundation at the root of what we call community pantries because no general or bureaucrat should forget what is expected of us as Christians.

This is particularly critical during this severe pandemic. Ideologies and labels should go out the window. The virus is killing us and leaving the most vulnerable among us helpless. We should remember that at times like this, we are all human beings who should be looking out for each other.

That was what Ms. Non was doing when she put up that humble cart with groceries and vegetables worth less than a thousand pesos. She wanted to help those who have lost jobs and livelihoods with the COVID lockdowns. Government assistance had been taking too long to get to the neediest and even then, barely enough.

It was shocking when government’s supposed anti-terrorism bureaucrats accused her of doing it to win supporters for the communists. A sign written in Tagalog that’s posted in the site sounded too Marxist for the general: “Give according to your means, take according to your need.”

Ms. Non was forced to close down for a day after three policemen showed up armed with assault rifles. They demanded her personal details and tried to link her to rebel groups. A post appeared on the Quezon City police department’s Facebook page alleging that the pantry was being used to recruit for the communist New People’s Army.

I guess the Duterte administration was just so surprised at how quickly people followed Ms. Non’s example. By the weekend, there were close to 300 community pantries throughout the country.

Seeing the futility of demonizing Ms. Non and the pantries, even the military, the police and the supporters of Sara Duterte were soon sending goods for distribution to the needy. Ms. Non used monetary contributions to buy vegetables from farmers who were starting to harvest.

That protected the farmers from the usual traders who would set very low prices so that the farmers have no choice but to accept. That’s a double victory as both producers and consumers of farm products benefited from the purchases of the community pantries.

The community pantries galvanized people power that many thought was long dead. Initially, organizers were worried their stocks would quickly run out. But they were surprised instead by how fast donations poured in from strangers. People were driving by to drop off their contributions.

As an old grizzled journalist who has seen pretty much all, Patricia Non and young people like her made me feel renewed hope in our country’s future. They came out despite personal risks to deliver the message that in a crunch, they can be counted on.

It is my hope and prayer that soon our country will be led by people like Ms. Non who are genuinely interested in the welfare of our people. We need servant leaders, not politicians out for their own interests.

The anti-insurgency people must learn to distinguish between an activist who wants to overthrow government and an activist who just wants to help the less fortunate to live a better life. If in the process, the government appears negligent in caring for the people, maybe that’s just the truth.

I am almost certain the general and his sidekick would declare Jesus Christ a communist if they heard Him preaching today. Otherwise, why will they persecute the real Christians among us who are only doing what Christ wants His followers to do?



Boo Chanco’s e-mail address is bchanco@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @boochanco

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