The Filipino Face of Jesus

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Jamester A. Arandia

I am a Filipino. And I am a Catholic. How does my nationality affect my knowledge of Jesus? There are times that the Filipino heritage is taken for granted and what has taken the center stage is the Catholic faith. I find nothing wrong with it. As a matter of fact being Catholic makes me more proud. I may have inherited and learned the teachings of the Church about Jesus, yet, my own cultural heritage as a Filipino adds color and meaning to my Catholic faith. Let me focus my reflection on the characteristics of faith in Jesus presented by The Catechism for Filipino Catholics (CFC). First, Filipinos are family-oriented. We Filipinos draw our sense of self-identity from our families. Our families provide us with a sense of security, stability, and belongingness. “Hindi siya iba sa atin.” Christ is our “kapatid”, and because of this, we deem ourselves worthy to call God “Ama Namin” and our Lady as “Mahal na Ina”. Second, Filipinos are meal-oriented. For us Filipinos, our “salo-salo” is more than just nourishment of the body. We strengthen our relationships by sharing a meal. The Filipino “handaan” is an expression of our good will. The Eucharist is our “salo-salo”, our family reunion. Christ is our “tinapay ng buhay”, the Host that throws a “piging” as a sign of his gracious love- love that sustains us, love that makes us one as God’s people. Third, Filipinos are kundiman-oriented. The “Kundiman” is a sad love song. We are naturally attracted to those who are “kawawa” or “kinakawawa”. We are also very patient and forgiving “alang-alang sa pinagsamahan”. We are willing to suffer for the sake of others.Christ is the God who keeps on loving us to the point of suffering and death. “Pinagmalasakitan tayo.” In him we find someone who understands our struggles and heartaches for he himself has been through it all. Fourth, Filipinos are bayani-oriented. We look up to heroes. We admire people who give up their lives for our sake. We do not want sad...
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