They are all our angels

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) - December 31, 2015 - 9:00am

TALKBACK. Readers react to columns on Transport Sec. Abaya’s two MRT-3 scams (Dec. 30), the Filipinos’ promised land (Dec. 28), and Teresita Dalaguit’s unjust jailing (Dec. 21):

Cecile Alvarez, Manila: “Comprehensive research as usual, on the P4.25-billion railway contract rigged by secret negotiations instead of cleared by public bidding. Congrats.”

Dominic T.: “With your documented exposés, why don’t the authorities charge Abaya with plunder?”

Romy Manuel, Dagupan: “After reading your piece, I grabbed Dante’s ‘Inferno’ to recall which circle in Hell is the destination of perpetrators of multiple fraud. Canto XI, lines 22-27 state:

‘Malice is the sin most hated by God

And the aim of malice is to injure others

Whether by fraud or violence. But since fraud

Is the vice of which man alone is capable,

God loathes it most. Therefore, the fraudulent

Are placed below, and their torment is more painful.’

“In ‘the classifications of sin in lower hell,’ committers of compound fraud – treachery against kin and country – end up in Circle IX, ‘the deepest and final place in Hell.’ The sinner would be in ice up to his neck. Thieves are transformed into reptiles, Circle VIII states. Imagine if our justice system is such.”

Bernardino T.: “They may go unpunished today. Still, you record for future generations the roles those officials played. They will not be able to take advantage of Filipinos’ short memory.”

L. Francis, Makati: “Those Rapanut contractor-brothers are notorious with the DOTC staff. They’ve been around for many administrations.”

Vida V., yahoo.com: “Coming soon in your nearest theaters, the movie ‘Sagasa (sa Tren),’ starring P-Noy and Abaya...”

Juan Carlos, Mandaluyong: “Sure, we won’t take literally P-Noy’s 2013 promise to have himself and Abaya run over by commuter trains if they fail to finish the LRT-1 extension by end-2015. But since the work hasn’t even started, shouldn’t they at least say, ‘Sorry’?”

J. Cardoso S.M., De La Salle University: “The continuing plunder at MRT-3, un-started LRT-1 extension, unsolved traffic, crime wave, worsened poverty and hunger ... another six years wasted under P-Noy ... in the Filipinos’ long search for the promised land.”

Mark Lemsky, Alabama, USA: “Thank you for exposing the plight of Teresita. I’m so proud of you and others who present the truth. PS – During my recent visit there I was privileged to meet National Artist Ben Cab in his museum.”

Name withheld on request, Bais City, Negros Oriental: “I work for City Hall here. I’m sure you heard that, because of your timely column, they immediately released Teresita instead of making her spend Christmas, New Year, and birthday behind bars. She was a victim of overeager NGO leaders trying to look good before their funders, and bureaucrats hurrying to party instead of work. They treat as human trafficking the mere act of looking for work even as domestics rather than starve or beg.”

* * *

Legend surrounds the last moments of Maranao Datu Akadir Akobar. One story goes that he was on the verge of being lanced by overwhelming Spanish troops, when angels suddenly appeared and snatched him up into heaven. In that final battle the fierce resister of colonizers was dressed in white pants, shirt, and turban, indicating that he underwent ritual Muslim cleansing (“Stories Rarely Told,” Prof. Augusto de Viana, Newday Publishing). The “angels” version explains why his body was never found.

History helps us know who and why we are. Many of us Christians are unaware that there are angels in Islam, as with the Jewish faith. The three great religions hold similar beliefs about angels. They are holy creatures who assist God (Allah, Yahweh). There’s plain reason for that and many more similarities: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism spring from the instructions to Abraham.

Scholars of Islam say the angel Jibrail is among the most cited in the Koran. He was often dispatched from heaven to take on a human form and deliver messages to earth. One appearance of Jibrail was to Maryam (Mary), to bring news of her immaculate conception of a Son. You must have guessed by now that Jibrail is the same Archangel Gabriel in the Bible and in the Torah.

Israfil in the Koran is the angel who will sound the trumpet to signal the end of the world. He is also the Judeo-Christian Uriel, the archangel of Justice who on Judgment Day will segregate the sinners from the saints.

Mikhail in the Koran is the same Michael in the Bible and the Torah who leads the defenders of God. He also strengthens man’s body and soul. It is through Mikhail/Michael that we from any of the three Faiths pray to God for deliverance from the devil.

Christians have nine “choirs” (hierarchies) of angels. The highest are the Seraphim who praise God nonstop, and Cherubim who sing to Him nonstop too. Following are the Thrones and Dominions, Virtues and Powers, Principalities and Archangels, and (Guardian) Angels. There are also grades of angels for the Jewish, and 14 for the Muslims.

Aside from angels, the belief in one Supreme Being, the veneration of saints, the repulsion of sin, and the promotion of peace are among the commonalities of the Abrahamic Religions. The sameness does not divide but unites us.

May that unity spread among more and more men of goodwill, to grant us a happy, hopeful New Year. God-Allah-Yahweh loves us.

* * *

Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., DWIZ (882-AM).

Gotcha archives on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jarius-Bondoc/1376602159218459, or The STAR website http://www.philstar.com/author/Jarius%20Bondoc/GOTCHA


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