[OPINION] Celebrating the birth of a radical activist on Christmas
Every 25th of December, Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus. Christmas starts as early as September in the Philippines, where colorful lanterns and decorations signify the beginning of the festive celebration.
While the birth of Jesus categorically belongs to the religious realm, there is more to Christmas that transcends spiritual hegemony, which gives the celebration a brighter stroke of red.
Jesus is a radical activist
Far from being a meek and tame visionary, Jesus was in fact a radical activist.
While Jesus did not rally against the state, his radical actions went against the status quo, advocating for societal change that was evidently biased towards the oppressed and marginalized.
Jesus confronted the social structures of his day – having lepers, prostitutes, and groups that were castigated by society as his company all throughout.
Being born to a peasant family, Jesus became the vanguard of liberation for the marginalized peasant class and stood for truth and justice, which placed him on the blacklist of the state and became the reason for his execution.
He was heavily involved in societal issues and had active involvement in protecting the poor. His open denouncement of Pharisees, eating meals with prostitutes, and overturning the temple run by corrupt Sanhedrin paint an image of a radical Jesus.
Walking in the footsteps of Jesus
In a world where majority of the people are poor and oppressed by the ruling few, it becomes a duty to be an activist and fight for a systemic change.
In a country where the state is used by the powerful to accumulate wealth, where landlessness is rampant and landlords utilize state machinery to perpetuate violence against the peasantry and their allies, and where foreign monopoly capitalists desecrate the environment and extract colossal amounts of raw materials in pursuit of profit, it becomes the duty of every Filipino to fight and stand against the ruling elites.
In this political climate where activists are being vilified and killed, it pays to remind everyone that activism is not a crime but an act of immeasurable love and compassion.
Everyone must be reminded that to walk in the footsteps of Jesus is to walk in the footsteps of the downtrodden.
Knowing the true spirit of Christmas
Christmas signifies not only the birth of the Christian deity but also the birth of a radical activist who fought against the status quo and stood for the oppressed and marginalized.
Indeed, Jesus instructed us to “give unto Caesar what is due to Caesar” – to fulfil one’s civic duty – and that includes voicing out legitimate criticisms of the state, holding public servants accountable, and ensuring social justice prevails.
The life of Jesus dedicated in service of the poor should be the highlight in celebrating his birth, and people should be reminded that Jesus, in choosing the side of the downtrodden, was a radical change maker who dreamt and worked for a better world. – Rappler.com
Melo Mar Y. Cabello is a Christian activist and staunch advocate of the rights and welfare of the Filipino peasantry. He is a member of the National Network of Agrarian Reform Advocates – Youth (NNARA-Youth) in University of the Philippines Diliman where he is currently taking his Bachelor's degree in Political Science.