Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC
Shared Reflection during the Eucharist for the Lasallian Family
25 Feb 2018, 32 nd Anniversary of the People Power Revolution
Thirty-two years ago, I was a wide-eyed young Brother on my first community assignment in
Lipa. When we heard the call from Radio Veritas to gather at EDSA, a handful of the young
teachers thought we should join. We came partly out of curiosity, partly to ease our anxiety,
and partly because we were feeling left out with history in the making. So we abandoned our
classes and came by bus and without official school sanction. We were only able to reach
Magallanes because that intersection in EDSA was already filling up with people—families with
their children and their pets, bicycles and trisikads with their wares, rich and poor with their
ready smiles offering food to each other, flowers to soldiers, and prayers for the nation.
There are more than a handful of us here today with our own reasons for coming—maybe
partly to stand against historical revisionism, partly to rekindle the spark of heroism and hope,
but definitely to ensure that our voices are respected and heard at a very dangerous time:
• a time unsafe for suspected—or worse, mistaken—drug addicts and pushers like
Kian and Kulot who are killed summarily in or around their own homes;
• a precarious time when the best and brightest public servants in Congress use the
force of the fist bump and the rule of the majority to railroad the approval of
programs without wide consultation;
• a treacherous time when media practitioners and legitimate bloggers like Rappler
and Pinoy Ako Blog (PAB), and critics of the administration like Senator Leila de Lima
are trolled, threatened, and jailed with trumped up cases; and,
• a hazardous time for women of the likes of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno,
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, and CHED Chair Patricia Licuanan who are
maligned and pressured to resign while other unnamed women fighters are stripped
of their dignity and treated with misogynist disdain.
It is at a dangerous time like this that we gather to celebrate the Eucharist today to proclaim
in our hearts and with our lips Paul’s same message to the Romans during an era of
persecution: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” [Romans 8:31b]. We come to celebrate
with Peter, James and John that we have been called today like them and given a perilous
privilege to be witnesses of the transfiguration of our own nation. To be the change we would
want to see: The change that is in the heart of God’s dream for His people. The change that
will usher in the Reign of God here and now! That change begins in me.
Today, we recall those glorious days of EDSA thirty-two years ago and, as we descend that
mystical mountain to walk our crowded and polluted streets again, we keep reminding
ourselves of the gift the Filipino people received in 1986 and from where we will draw strength to continue to speak truth to power: “Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the
cloud came a voice, ‘This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.’” [Mark 9:7].
This is our gift to the world that we sang in 1986:
Huwag muling payagang umiral ang dilim
Tinig ngbawat tao’y bigyan ng pansin.
Magkakapatidlahat sa Panginoon
Ito’ylagi nating tatandaan.
[Handog ng Pilipinosa Mundo, 1986, Jim Paredes]
Today we come to reclaim EDSA truly as an epiphany of the saints. We walk with our feet
on that sacred ground where God walked with his people during those glorious days of
February 1986. We roam with our minds to reclaim the narrative that goodness and truth
abound even today in the hearts of millions of Filipinos of goodwill. We march with our hearts
to recall and reaffirm in faith God’s promise to Abraham: “I will bless you abundantly… your
descendants shall take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in [them] all the nations of
the earth shall find blessing.”[Genesis 22:17-18].
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever!