Rev. Eutiquio B. Belizar, Jr., SThD
By the roadside
“What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood that your hand has shed” (Gen 4:10-11).
The March for Life proves that there is such a thing as a culture of death and that its evil shadow is very much alive right here in the Philippines. But it also shows that there is a growing awareness of its presence and the mayhem it has been causing on the Filipino psyche and on Filipino lives. Most of all, it is a visible expression of rejection and resistance by people of faith to its reign of terror among them.
The culture of death is a curse. It negates the very essence of God who is Life. That EJKs have been mostly executed at dawn speaks of this curse. It is midnight robbing daylight of its birthright. It puts to eternal sleep people who should be awaking to the start of a new day.
But the curse of the culture of death is also a boomerang. It ultimately comes home to roost. This is because its perpetrators, not its victims and witnesses alone, possess something that cannot be murdered: namely, conscience.
The conscience of bishops in collective agony over more than seven thousand deaths by EJKs and the specter of the death penalty has spoken. And it pierces a dagger into the heart of death as a culture. The conscience of the clergy and the laity, at first lulled by the enticing prospect of ending criminality and the drug menace, now are seeing that crime cannot solve crime. They are rising. They are walking to the drum of conscience.
Conscience has also stricken down perpetrators of death.
A Matobato then, a Castañas now, are just two souls who have come out into the open to confess not simply their sordid role in mass murders but especially how this has tormented them with pangs more painful than a thousand deaths.
The curse of the culture of death is people marching to prayer and prayer touching consciences and consciences returning to the march for life.
The curse of the culture of death is conscience marching not only to the commandment, “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20:1; Deuteronomy 5:17), but especially to the Master’s challenge, “You have heard that it was said in the past, ‘You shall not kill and anyone who kills is liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that anyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment” (Matthew 5:21-22).
The curse of the culture of death is conscience cultured by life and love.
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