DOMINICAN preachers led the faithful in reflecting on the “Seven Last Words” last March 29 at the Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City— relating the situation of Filipinos to Christ’s passion, crucifixion and death on the Cross.

“Siete Palabras,” the longest-running Holy Week program on Philippine television, was aired nationwide by GMA Network.

Reflecting on the first of the last words of Jesus: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do,” Fr. Rudolf Steven Seño, O.P. of the UST Faculty of Philosophy said there are two things that people must avoid when forgiving other people for their wrongdoings.

“Ang isa ay ang paghingi ng sobrang demanda sa nagkakasala…Pero, huwag din namang sobrang luwag,” Seño said.

The essence of forgiveness is not about forgetting the sins of others. It is also about remembering those sins, he added. “Ang tunay na kapatawaran ay hindi forgive and forget. Ang tunay na kapatawaran ay forgive and remember. Hindi puwedeng basta na lang natin kakalimutan ‘yung kalokohan ng ibang tao. Dahil kung ano ang inutang, siya rin ang kabayaran.”

Fr. Tamerlane Lana, O.P., Colegio de San Juan de Letran rector and president, focused on the second saying of Jesus: “Today you shall be with me in paradise.” He noted that Christ uttered the words to the repentant thief who died with Him on the cross. The thief symbolizes humanity, as all people are sinners, he said.

“Ang bawat kasalanan ay anyo ng kasalanang pagnanakaw. Ito ay hindi lang pagkuha ng hindi sa atin. Ang kahalayan ay isa ring anyo ng pagnanakaw. Ang pre-marital sex, homosexual acts ay pagnanakaw dahil ninanakaw natin ang kasiyahang seksuwal na para lamang sa mag-asawa,” Lana said. “Ang pagsisinungaling ay pagnanakaw ng katotohanan, ng karapatan ng iba na malaman ang katotohanan…Ang pagpatay ay isang pagnanakaw sapagkat inaangkin nito ang buhay ng iba at ninanakaw ang karapatan ng Diyos sa buhay ng bawat isa sa atin.”

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Reflecting on the third saying, “Woman, behold your Son; Son, Behold your Mother,” Fr. Paul Reagan Talavera, O.P. of Sto. Domingo Convent said Mary and John were sent by Christ to the disciples as a reminder that He will never leave them.

“Ang mga salitang ito ay para rin sa atin. Hinahabilin tayo kay Maria at si Maria ay hinahabilin sa atin ng Panginoon. Kung tayo ay nagmamahal ng tunay kay Hesus, susundan niya tayo sa Kalbaryo at hindi niya tayo iiwanang magisa. Iiwanan niya tayo ng mga makakasama natin,” Talavera said.

Preaching on the fourth saying: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me,” Fr. Enrico Gonzales, O.P. said Jesus was not complaining, rather, He was praying to God for help. “Hindi ito pagrereklamo ni Kristo. Ito ay pagdarasal. Kailangan natin ang tulong ng Diyos upang magpasensya,” he said.

The language of love is patience, for no love lasts without patience, he added.

Fr. Filemon Dela Cruz, Jr., O.P., UST vice rector for religious affairs, reflected on the fifth of the seven last words, “I thirst.”

“Anyare?” he asked, using the coined word that means “What happened?”

“Hindi mahirap makita kung ano ang nangyari. Hindi mahirap makita na ang tao ay puwedeng mang-abuso, hindi mahirap makita na kapag natugunan na ang ating pangangailan, nakakalimutan na natin ang pinagmulan ng ating mga biyayang tinanggap,” Dela Cruz said.

“Pagtapos tayong gawaran ng kapatawaran, pagtapos iabot ng Diyos ang kaniyang mga kamay sa atin, anyare? Balik tayo sa ating buhay, balik tayo sa ating pinagmulan,” he added.

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Fr. Ernesto Arceo, O.P., rector of Aquinas University of Legazpi, said the sixth saying, “It is finished,” was the fulfillment of God’s mission to open the gates of heaven to humanity.

“Ang buntong-hininga ng tagumpay ay natapos na. Sa bahagi ng Panginoon, natapos na ang kanyang tungkulin. Bukas na ang pinto ng langit,” he said.

Arceo lamented the spread of secularism in the United States and Europe. “Ang problema ay hindi ang paniniwala sa Diyos, ang problema ay kawalang-bahala ng tao sa pangingialam ng Diyos sa kanilang buhay. Ang sekularismo ay pagwawalang-bahala sa pakikialam ng Diyos.”

He also criticized moves to legalize abortion and divorce, noting that both practices are already allowed in western countries.

“Legal ang divorce kasi walang pakialam ang tao sa batas ng Diyos. Legal ang abortion since 1973 [sa Amerika]; isang milyong bata sa isang taon, 3,000 libong bata sa loob ng isang araw. Kasuklam-suklam, kalagim-lagim,” he said.

Ending the Siete Palabras, Fr. Clarence Victor Marquez, O.P., master of students of the Dominican Province of the Philippines, gave his insights on the last word of Jesus: “Father, into Your hands I commend my Spirit.”

Marquez began his reflection by comparing the hands of Jesus Christ and the hands of men. The latter wants to control everything that this life offers. People want to practice the “culture of control,” he said.

“Ang kamay ng tao, ang layon lamang ay kumuha, magkamit, magkamkam, kumabig, mag-angkin. Nais nating kontrolin ang pangangangak, pagbuo ng pamilya, pagdami ng tao sa mundo, kalikasan, kayamanan, pagtanda, at kahit kamatayan,” he said.

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