Saturday, January 5, 2013


DID you know that there were originally 6 Kings, not 3? Only three reached Bethlehem. The 4th went to the USA, the 5th to China, and 6th to the Philippines. They were: BURGER KING, CHOWKING, and TAPA KING, respectively. * * * Joking aside, tomorrow we celebrate the feast of the Magi or Epiphany. It is called epiphany because Jesus revealed Himself not only to the Jews, the chosen people, but also to pagan visitors. Epiphany - from the Greek term "epiphanein" - means "manifestation." * * * The gospel writer teaches that Christ's salvation is universal or for ALL peoples. Hence, the teaching of certain Christian denominations that they, and only they, will be saved contradicts the message of the Bible, particularly Epiphany. * * * Another thing to correct is the misconception that the mysterious personages that came to pay homage to the Christ Child were kings as popularly known. Matthew, the only evangelist who recounts the episode of these personages, wrote: "When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea... behold, MAGI came from the East to Jerusalem..." (Mt 2:2). * * * Magi were wise men or enlightened astrologers. That they were transformed into "kings" by common belief is due to the corrupt interpretation of a messianic prophecy in the Old Testament, thus: "The Kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer gifts, the Kings of Arabia and Saba shall pay tribute" (Ps 72). * * * One principal message we can learn from the Magi is faithfulness and perseverance. It takes conviction to be faithful to one's religious and moral principles. To cite an example. A taxi driver, PRIMITIVO SALO, was among the 2009 Goodyear "Bayani ng Kalsada" (Highway Heroes) awardees after returning R80,000 cash to a passenger who had left it in his cab. * * * "I have been a taxi driver for the longest time and I haven't heard one single customer complain," Salo said proudly. "In fact, I have gotten loyal customers who would call me to bring them home when it's late at night because they trust me enough. I hope there are more taxi drivers who can just do the same," he said. * * * In married life, it takes moral courage and perseverance to remain a faithful husband or wife in a milieu where infidelity and broken marriages abound. To paraphrase the British statesman Thomas B. Macaulay: "The test of a person's real character is what he/she would do if he/she knew nobody is watching." * * * In a society characterized by perennial new beginnings, enthusiastic outbursts, and ningas cogon implementation, for instance, of the anti-littering, -jaywalking or -smoke belching ordinances, we need perseverance and consistency so people may get to learn a good habit. * * * The great philosopher Aristotle once said that goodness and virtue come through habit and practice. It means DOING THE RIGHT THINGS CONSISTENTLY day in and day out, in private and in public so they become good habits. Let us learn from the perseverance of the Magi. * * *