Reflections for all leaders, gov't or clergy

Today is Holy Thursday. It is a good time to reflect and relive what happened in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago and ask ourselves whether these happenings are still very relevant to us today. I have always believed that many passages in the Bible are inspired by God. He talks to his people through this Holy Book in the fervent hope and wish that we would all obey his commandments. In matters of faith, it is not the intellect that is important, but obedience to the Magisterium.

This Maundy Thursday, the reading of the Gospel is the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ on leadership, whether from the standpoint of a government official or even the clergy. In John 13: 1-15 "Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. 2 The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. So during supper, 3 fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, 4 he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.

He took a towel and tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Master, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later." 8 Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me."

9 Simon Peter said to him, "Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well." 10 Jesus said to him, "Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all. 11 For he knew who would betray him; for this reason, he said, "Not all of you are clean." 12 So when he had washed their feet [and] put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, "Do you realize what I have done for you? 13 You call me 'teacher' and 'master,' and rightly so, for indeed I am. 14 If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. 15 I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do."

How I wish all of you who have read this passage would go out into the streets and tell your kapilya presidents, your barangay leaders, politicians, even the clergy if they have read John 13: 1-15. If today our country is in turmoil and peace is but an elusive dream. All this can be traced back to us, the Filipino people, who are 86% Catholics, but only in name, perhaps only in word, but not in deed. Today, most of us are having our Lenten Holiday, the operative word for most Catholics. I dare say that the Muslims are more devout to their faith, especially when they celebrate the Ramadan. What about us? When are we really going live our lives as true Christians?
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If there is anything true to many Catholics today, it is that a great majority of us do not read the Bible, while thanks to the homilies of our priests, we do get our share of the Word of God through the Holy Mass. But whenever there is a best-seller book out there, everyone gets hold of it. I'm sure that a lot of Catholics have bought the popular book, "Da Vinci Code" or the controversial book, "Holy Blood, Holy Grail." After reading these books, they start asking questions, whether this is true or worse, suddenly embrace these novels as historically correct!

Now we have that so-called "Gospel of Judas." Most of my friends asked me what I thought of it. Well, I wrote my thoughts in the Philippine Star yesterday, so if you got a copy of that, you'd know what I think. But let me add this piece, to strengthen your knowledge of Judas Iscariot. It was found in yesterday's Gospel reading on Mt. 26: 14-16.

"14 One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, 15 and said, "What are you willing to give me if I hand Jesus over to you?" They paid him thirty pieces of silver, 16 and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over."

Those who are promoting the Gospel of Judas are tying to demonize him, saying that Judas betrayed Jesus as a "duty" otherwise, Jesus wouldn't have been tried and killed and not fulfill his mission. This is all hogwash! As we read in today's Gospel, "The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over." If it Judas thought it was his duty to hand him over, why did he ask the chief priests what they would be willing to give him if he handed Jesus over to them? I rest my case!
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