Thursday, April 7, 2011

The EDSA mystery remains unspoiled

This is the last of the series of reflections during the 25th Anniversary of the historic EDSA Revolution in the Philippines on February 25, 2011. Still relevant as the Christendom celebrates Lent.

The spirit of EDSA lives on. Its cathartic power continues to provide relief and refreshes hope. The over arching and encompassing spirit cannot and will never be domesticated. Its mystery remains unspoiled, not completely unfold.

Twenty five years after, the mystery of EDSA has not been fully unfold. Analysts from various socio-political persuasions attempted to explain the event. Some had to come up with new concepts as EDSA Revolution departed from any of the standard categories. While new testimonies from living participants came out every year, they just shed light to understand the pattern of events and contributing factors. But the mystery still remains.

EDSA bloodless Revolution defied logic. For how can you explain this phenomenon: “When guns and tanks of a dictator melted before the flowers held out by priests and nuns, by millionaires’ sons and squatters’ daughters, by ordinary men and women and by young and old alike; when… a new day was ushered in by ordinary Filipino common tao who rose to heroic heights that won the admiration of the whole world…” The quoted description was that of Jorge Lorredo, Jr. in his article “Four Days that changed History” published in Bulletin Today exactly 25 years ago, as cited by Douglas J. Elwood in his book, Philippine Revolution.

Incidentally, I saw the book few days ago before the 25th EDSA Anniversary while cleaning my shelve. It was given as graduation gift from the College of Theology, Central Philippine University in March 1990. I was supposed to graduate in 1984 when the call to respond to the needs of times compelled me to join the Filipino people’s struggle against dictatorship. My political conversion took place while doing pastoral ministry to political detainees in Camp Delgado. Raised up in seemingly apolitical environment, my primary motivation was to witness for Christ. Ironically, I found myself converted to their commitment, dedication, courage and strong resolve in the service of people. Thereafter, commenced my fulltime solidarity work with the Filipino masses until the mystery of EDSA Revolution.

“The hand of God was there…” was the explanation of the late Dr. Quintin Doromal, former PCCG commissioner & president of Siliman University. Quoted by his friend Douglas Elwood in the book, Doromal, an Ilonggo leader, was a witness to the event, having joined his old friend Fidel Ramos at Camp Crame and stayed there with him throughout those critical anxious hours. Indeed, God acts through people, as surely as he speaks through people, and that he uses the sometimes complex interconnection of human forces to serve his larger purposes.

Relating the mystery of EDSA to our Lenten reflections, St. Paul in his epistle aptly describes the life of Jesus: "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:5-8 NIV)

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