This morning I presided at the 10:30 mass in our parish church. This was the homily I preached:
A few days ago, we celebrated the 23rd anniversary of the EDSA revolution.
We should never forget that event.
For many us, it was a miracle. A corrupt dictatorial regime was overthrown without bloodshed in four days. We were so happy - democracy was restored. It was the beginning of a new era of peace and progress. We were proud to be Filipinos.
For many of us, EDSA was like our own Exodus.
It was an experience of liberation from tyranny and oppression and the beginning of the journey towards the promised land.
After 23 years the question we need to answer: Where are we now? What have we accomplished as a nation? Are we better off than we were 23 years ago?
If we look at the present situation we can say that nothing much has changed.
Marcos is long gone and dead.
But majority of our people remain poor.
The spiral of violence continues:
there are still summary killings (salvaging),
the armed conflict between the NPA and government forces is again escalating.
Democracy was supposed to be restored. We have free elections. Yet our elections remain dirty. Corruption is like a cancer that has metastasized - that has spread to all level of society - for the highest to the lowest levels of government, including the judiciary, the police and the military.
We have a president who is no better that her corrupt predecessors - Marcos and Estrada.
It’s as if we never left Egypt, there was no Exodus. And we are far from the promised land.
What went wrong?
We only changed the president.
But we have not turned away from sin and evil.
There was no inner transformation in our hearts.
The Gospel relates to us Jesus’ withdrawal in the desert which took 40 days and 40 nights.
This was a time of purification.
He struggled against that satanic temptations - to allow his life to be dominated by the pursuit of self-gratification, of wealth, power, and of glory.
And after this he proclaimed the coming of the God’s kingdom,
the good news of liberation from sin and evil and all its manifestation
and he called people to turn away from sin, to repentance and conversion,
to change, to an inner transformation.
We have just started the seaon of Lent. During these forty days of preparation for the celebration of our Lord's death and resurrection, the Church invites us to spend time in prayer and reflection.
We need to examine our lives and ask ourselves how far have we succumbed to the satanic temptations, how far have we allowed ourselves to be dominated by selfishness and greed.
We, as a people and as individuals are called to go through the "desert-experience" – to go through a process of purification - to overcome the satanic temptations, to exorcise the demons within ourselves and in our society.
There can be no genuine social transformation without overcoming the satanic temptations of the flesh, of power and glory.
There can be no real social transformation without personal conversion.
This is what the season of Lent is all about.
Without the purification in the desert, we as a people will not reach our promise land.
EDSA was an unfinished revolution - what is required is a moral revolution - the struggle against evil within our hearts and in the political, economic and cultural systems