Filipinos love the underdog. It could be our natural temperament as a people or our deeply rooted Christian upbringing. We just have a soft spot in our hearts for the poor, those who are in need or in pain, those who have no else to turn to. In sports, others would often cheer for the obvious winner. We love to cheer for the small guy or the one less likely to win. In times of calamities, of which we have a lot whether these be natural or man-made, Filipinos readily open their homes, their hearts and their wallets to those affected. In rich countries, many people die of loneliness and neglect. In poorer countries, many people die of hunger. In the Philippines, these events rarely happen for there will always be people who would extend a helping hand. In many countries, women are second class citizens and often discriminated against. The Philippines tops the world when it comes to women’s rights and gender equality. In fact, it is sometimes the men who would cry for gender equality. In many countries, it is not fun being a child. It is more fun being a child in the Philippines, where they are pampered and fussed over often to excesses. I can understand the vehement stand of the Catholic Church against the recently enacted RH law. There is a thinking common in many places that beyond a certain number, children become an economic burden or even a curse. In the Philippines, the birth of child has always been seen and welcomed as a blessing no matter how humble, needy or unfortunate the circumstances.
Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, babies massacred by a jealous insecure king. In the Philippines, this day has become the local April fools day when people play tricks on one another in the fashion that the Three Magi played a trick on King Herod to save the life of the Child Jesus, which tragically led to the massacre of the Holy Innocents. I reflect and am moved at how saving one such innocent life can lead to a world-changing event later on. I believe Filipinos have such a deep respect for life because we know that God has a purpose for making each happen. God’s plan for the universe unfolds with each one of us playing a role, no matter how humble or how great. In fact, one great insight I have come across is that every child that is born is a sign that God has not lost hope in humanity.
When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.” Matthew 2:13-18