There have been some occasions in my priesthood when I was called to bless the body of a young boy who fell victim to a bullet in his father’s gun. Please note that the gun belonged to the father, but the boy pulled the trigger and did violence to himself. Nothing saddens me more than a young life lost because of an accident that may have been avoided. Why was there a gun in that home in the first place? Why must people keep weapons of war in a home that is supposed to embody and uphold life and love? What are we scared of? Against what are we defending ourselves? Why can’t we rely on our armed forces and the police force to defend us against aggressors or trespassers? Have we become afraid and mistrusting of the very people who are supposed to protect us? What has the world come to?
In the wake of the bombings occurring in our Catholic churches in the south, I cannot help but ask questions. I sincerely and desperately hope I have the answers. Maybe it is not even important who did it. Perhaps what bothers me most is why it was done at all.
One evening as I sat at a dinner party, I overheard a gentle Chinese mestizo bragging to his neighbors at the table that his dad was the gentlest man he had ever known. He claimed his dad neither raised his voice nor struck anyone in anger. He continued by saying that his dad owned every type of gun there was in the market. As a boy, he had recollections of his father encouraging him to take a serious look at his guns. He said his father repeatedly offered him any gun he wanted. I did not mean to eavesdrop, but as I sat there overhearing this conversation, I could not help but notice that this young man was himself very gentle in his ways. I did not hear whether he ever accepted his dad’s offer for a gun, but the thought that kept flashing in my mind was, why would a gentle, reputedly non-violent man keep violent, deadly weapons in his closet? Why did he encourage his son to keep a gun as well? If one had something in his closet, doesn’t it presuppose that he either uses it or will use it someday? Is it really a sign of genuine gentleness and kindness to keep an object that has no other purpose but to destroy?
I know of a gentle lady who was held up by armed men in the early 1970s in Cavite. She was with her 25-year-old son and two daughters, aged 10 and 6. The men with faces all covered forced them out of the car with powerful armalites. Her daughters, now grown-up, recall more, not the fear they had for these men but the love of their mother. She kept them close to her body and repeatedly mumbled her prayers to the merciful Lord for protection. She repeated to her children to do the same. She urged the bandits to please get all they wanted – car and all-but to please not harm her little girls. That was truly a powerful message to these girls on the value of human life as opposed to objects. That was a clear message on the strength and power of prayer as opposed to high-powered guns.
Perhaps that is what most gentle people want for themselves. They want an assurance somewhere, even just in their closets, that they have power and strength, they can draw from someday at a time when it is most needed. They have a need to feel protected by a force stronger than them.
Unfortunately, their security lies in an object that can fail them. Their security lies in a thing that can even be used against them. If we were all to believe in the infinite goodness of God and develop such a wonderful and powerful relationship with HIM, how can we ever think that we need a gun or a grenade at home? God’s power and protection never fail, and they certainly can never be used against us. God’s power does not destroy. It gives spirit and life. Guns can’t move mountains. Prayers can!
To those of you who have guns in your closets, may I ask you, how sure are you that it will not be your little boy or little girl who will get to your gun first? After all, have we not encouraged them with our unspoken reasoning: kill or be killed mentality?
“‘What do you think you tell your child when you buy him a toy gun? “It is alright, son. It is only a game. Bang! Bang! Getting killed and killing is only a game.” Is it really? Do you honestly believe this? By having that gun at home, whose life are you really protecting? Maybe if you got rid of your gun, the life you may save might be your own. Maybe instead of preparing yourself for a time when evil will be done unto you, it is best to expend your energies trying to let evil die in you. It may be as simple as getting rid of that gun in your closet. Or better still, it could mean stop buying your children, nephews, and brothers war toys. It only has one message: killing is a game. It is not permanent. Says who? What do you feed your children’s minds with? Is it violence, or is it gentleness? Do you teach him to clasp his hands in prayer or to walk around clasping a gun? Do you arm him with a prayerful lifestyle and a strong relationship with the Lord, or do you teach him constantly, “Anak, lumaban ka. Unahan mo an.”
Let us get rid of that violent mentality. Are the weapons you keep truly for your protection or for society’s destruction? Maybe instead of “Stickin’ them up”-throw them out–those bang-bangs! I hope you never have to bang your head against the wall in regret someday!
GAMES OF VIOLENCE
Jesus Our Light
One Reply to “GAMES OF VIOLENCE”
It is, for the modern man has been struggling to build the electric fences’ houses and also the nations have been struggling to introduce various weapons eg.nuclear weapons. But to modern man those things which marks God’s existence are forced to suffocate, so that God may die. Modern man is no longer finding God’s protection is of no limit and destructive one.