By: Br. Jose Eric M. Lacsa
Marriage that lasted in just 90 minutes! I was tempted to think that it’s a joke, but it happened in real life. How long does commitment last nowadays? A week? Two months? A year? Does marriage become a haven for what works? For comfort?
A month ago, I’ve read a very interesting column in the newspaper by Franz Giuseppe F. Cortez entitled “Whatever Works.” He was mentioning on how pragmatic politics as one of the explanations for Duterte-Robredo phenomenon. One of the best descriptions that he gave about Pragmatic thinking was on Deng Xiaoping aphorism which says: “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white as long as it catches mice.”
In three of my classes, I had tried to ask the view of my students about this thought, and I found out, that indeed, most of my students agreed with what Deng Xiaoping said. I might be wrong to assume that pragmatic thinking seems to be widespread nowadays? Are we become practical, or realistic by going for “it works-anyway, so let’s adopt it” mentality?
In our gospel for today, Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem and the shortest route that he could take was to pass by Samaria.
It was a common knowledge that Samaritans and the Jews have a long history of strained relationship and do not mix like water and oil. The Jews look down on the Samritans because they are considered impure. Impure in the sense that they intermarried with foreigners. It was for this reason that Jesus and his disciples were refused access to pass by the Samaritan village.
From pragmatic viewpoint, James and John violent stance against the Samaritan village could be taken as normal and logical. Was it just and right to howl for revenge and resort to calling down fire on the entire village? Well, it’s the easiest thing to do, isn’t it? It’s the way things works for the purist Jews and, therefore, it’s sensible and called for.
Does this sound familiar with what is being espoused nowadays? Criminals and drug and drug addicts are plaques to our society, so let’s eradicate them. It’s the easiest thing to do and it could work effectively. Let’s bring back death penalty, preferably by hanging, so we can deter criminality.
Would-be criminals would be scare to death. It is what works! Let journalists be assassinated. They are all in the pay of vested interests. Never mind their human rights. They are corrupt! They deserve to be killed. It’s what works!
In the Gospel, however, Jesus made an unfamiliar stance directly opposed to the idea of James and John. Rebuking them, he opted to take a detour and a non-violent way. Why would Jesus take the shortcut? Why would Jesus opt for what works in the fastest and easiest way? Well, if Jesus opt for the shortcut, for what “works,” there will be no room for love. What works for Jesus is LOVE.