Jesus Christ was not only a dangerous destabilizer
but also an economic saboteur who posed a danger to
the religious leaders of his time, and Palm Sunday
along with Good Friday, two events observed by
Christians, were also expressions of people power in
These are the thoughts the Catholic Bishops
Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), through its
president, Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo offers the
Catholic faithful during the Lenten Season.
In explaining the occurrence of large crowds, both
during Palm Sunday, when Jesus, said to have been
astride a donkey, passing through Jericho and into
Jerusalem, was greeted by some 50,000 Jews, gathered
there carrying palm or olive branches to welcome
Jesus, the Rabbi or teacher from Galilee, the CBCP
head pointed to this occurrence being a show of people
On Good Friday, the day Christians believe Christ died
on the cross, a large crowd also followed him, as the
biblical accounts say.
“It was a kind of ‘people power’, drawing into some
kind of climax the secret or silent aspiration of the
Jewish people for a new leader from their ranks. The
scene was a very spontaneous show of support for a new
leader. The singing of an ancient victory song was
also spontaneous “Hosanna to the Son of David, blessed
is he who comes in the name of the Lord!,” Lagdameo
stressed while speaking on what he said were two
important symbols of Holy Week.
Still on the same theme, Lagdameo emphasized that the
religious leaders of that era also considered Jesus
Christ as a dangerous man and a “destabilizer”.
“There was a political reason Jesus was considered
dangerous. His preaching and actions were
destabilizing the precarious balance of authority (who
feared) he might lead an uprising against the status
quo. A religious reason made Jesus a dangerous item
too,” the CBCP president added.
Moreover, Lagdameo explained that Jesus was regarded
as the “Son of God” by the many poor Jews, whom the
Galilean, as Jesus Christ is also known, helped with
the miracles of providing food, healing, attention and
new teachings from his “Father” in Heaven. He was said
to have become a threat to the established order, and
the religious leaders saw him as an enemy.
Lagdameo noted that apart from being regarded as a
destabilizer, the hierarchy of the Romans also
considered Jesus an economic saboteur when he drove
away the dealers and animals from the temple.
“Economic motives were also included in opposing
Jesus: by driving the dealers and animals, Jesus was
destabilizing the economic agenda of the authorities
of the temple. These made the leadership of Jesus
dangerous,” the CBCP president noted.
It was unclear why Lagdameo chose to set up the
Philippine Lenten season and the trial of the Christ
in the context of “people power,” “destabilization and
“economic sabotage” but there is no question that
Malacanang and its occupants have been harping on the
destabilization angle and economic sabotage, while
pointing their fingers at President Arroyo’s political
Observers also found it strange for Lagdameo to be
speaking of people power and the rise of a new leader
in Jesus when the CBCP, close to a year ago, in its
pastoral statement, rejected calls for the Church to
resolve the issue of presidential resignation. The
bishops had in fact, rejected people power—an
extra-constitutional means, to bring down Mrs. Arroyo.
Lagdameo also said that while the crucifixion of Jesus
Christ might have brought victory to the Scribes and
Pharisees, the Sanhedrin and the Roman governor, he
noted that for the people who believe in Jesus as the
Messiah, “the Cross is the symbol of suffering turned
into sacrifice; of despair transformed into hope; of
death converted into life” and the “hateful becomes
lovable, defeat becomes victory.”
He added that “the Son of God saved mankind not
through any show of power-play but by sharing our
human suffering, making our crosses, together with his
Cross, the door of our redemption”, therefore, we
(must) bring the symbols of the palms and the cross to
our life experience.”
The CBCP president also yesterday reminded the
faithful to observe the Holy week in repentance,
remorse and contrition.
“Whoever you are: Crucified or crucifier, Christ died
for you. Lifted up from the earth, he draws us all to
himself, in order that in his embrace we may break all
hostilities, enmities, brutalities and animosities,
and give witness to the power of love,” Lagdameo said
in his Lenten message.
Marie A. Surbano