30. Honest

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“Punta na tayo sa sixth pillar. Honest.”

“Sige po.”

“Some of the people have false claims that they were able to receive divine messages directly coming from God when in fact their teachings are just to elevate themselves and their group. Because of their pride, there started the complexity. They had to invent stories that God instructed them about a certain religious rituals or prayers to be followed in order for sins to be forgiven as if God can be bribed. You see, everything is connected. Once you violate one pillar, it will lead you to violate another until you crumble down.”

“Patuloy lang, tay. I’m contemplating on your words. I treasure and keep them all in my heart.”

“Not just keep but be guided and walk on the right path.”

“Alright then.”

“Sa seventh pillar na tayo. Harmonious. Let me ask you a question, anak. Now that you know these higher truths and greatest lessons, what if someday you will experience a divine revelation where God is telling you that He’s choosing you to be His messenger of unity among all religions? What would you do exactly?”

“Impossible na man yata yan.”

“Palagay na lang natin that this is just a highly imaginative example. Just try. Let’s do a role play. I’m God, talking to you. Ok?”

“Sige bah.”

“My son, I tell you. You are the second coming of Jesus Christ and you must carry out your mission to harmonize different religious beliefs. What would you do if I may ask?”

“Well, since I can’t talk to the leaders separately one by one, then I’ll just proclaim that we are all one and explain what it means through the internet. It’s just a matter of time when all will realize, there’s no such thing as one true religion while the rest are false. Through the message of this oneness, everyone will come into an understanding that all beliefs, no matter how diverse they are, are just different roads leading to one same destination.”

“But how can you be sure that you will be successful in making all religions be in harmony with each other?”

“My Lord, I can’t be sure.”

“What will you say to the Muslims and those dogmatic Christian denominations claiming they are the only ones who will go to Heaven? ”

“That’s a very difficult question.”

“Do you think they are in the wrong direction that you should convince them to stop their claims?”

“I guess so. I think I’ll tell them that salvation not only belongs to them but to all of humanity as long as we practice the twelve pillars of unconditional love.”

“Which are?”

“Courageous, enduring, joyful, active, humble, honest, harmonious, kind, patient, merciful, peaceful and pure.”

“Good. But have you ever wondered after all these many years, why those religions maintain their positions, sometimes resulting to bloodshed, no matter how sincere the good intentioned spiritual teachers trying to unite all of humanity?”

“So you think this mission you’re giving me is bound to fail?”

“I’m not talking about success and failure.”

“So what are you trying to drive at, my Lord?”

“Do you remember what Jesus prayed in the Gospel of John?”

“Tell me, my Lord.”

“Chapter 17 verse 20 to 23. It is written, ‘My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.’”

“I’m familiar with that.”

“My son, look around at those who believe in Jesus as known from the Bible. They can’t even get their acts together. They have divergent opposing interpretations of his teachings. Do you know how many of these groups?”

“Hhmm… Let me recall. If I’m not mistaken, I think the last time I searched from Google, according to the World Christian Encyclopedia in 2001, it’s estimated at 33,000. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity estimated 43,000 Christian denominations in 2012.”

“That’s what I am saying. The trend in the second millennium, there’s an approximately increase of 35% of new Christian religions after a decade. Do you think you can stop this proliferation with your message of oneness?”

“I don’t know.”

“What about the Muslins? Are they united? Do they also have division like the Christians?”

“Well, what I found out from Wikipedia, they too have divisions. Islam is generally divided to Sunni and Shia. As time went by, sub-sects developed from the two major groups.”

“But they don’t even amount to a hundred.”

“Right.”

“It’s very good you know all these data.”

“Yeah! You know I read a lot of stuff about different religions in the internet.”

“Never stop your pursuit for learning, my son. Anyway, have you observed that the Muslims are far better than the Christians? They are more organized and united.”

“I observe that. But I think changing their beliefs should not be pushed. It’s better to make them realize that peace can only be achieved when we should respect each others’ different faiths without any declaration that a certain religion is correct and others are wrong. If we continue this way, the way we are right now, still arguing and debating, I don’t think we’re contributing to the healing of our planet. It’s been proven throughout history that monopoly of religion can never make us one. I must be aware that if I insist on my message of the twelve pillars, I could be tempted to create another religion. I would be making the problem worse. My mission which you’re assigning me will just become a movement to make us all one.”

“But Jesus did the same. He did not create any religion. It was his followers who did so.”

“I know, my Lord. So what I’ll do is follow Jesus’ footsteps. With these twelve pillars, everything is clear and direct, minimizing if not zeroing misinterpretations. I don’t know if I succeed or not. If I fail, like Jesus, then so be it.”

“My son, I tell you, Jesus did not fail. His mission was simply to disclose the highest truth which would finally free us from the seemingly hellish condition in this world. That truth is oneness in living a life of love. It is the love for me which is best expressed by loving one another even your enemies. That is it. Whether they follow him or not, whether they understand his message correctly or not, it doesn’t matter in the end.”

“Then that’s the main truth I must live by and preach.”

“For your information, my son, salvation is a work of each individual soul. You live the truth. You teach it unconditionally even at the point of your death. Then so be it. What matters, you have realized and consistently lived your true identity to the very end. Then you break the chains of reincarnation. Then you come back here with me in Heaven for good, without end. Case closed. End of the story.”

“But, my Lord, what about when Jesus said to Peter that He will build His church on this rock?”

“I know Matthew 16 verse 18 to 19. Jesus even told Peter that He will give him the keys of Heaven that whatever Peter binds on earth will also be bound in Heaven. I also know Mark 16 verse 15 to 16. During Jesus’ resurrection when He appeared to His disciples, He said to them to go into the world and preach the gospel to all creation. And that whoever believes and is baptized will be saved but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Of course, you can add the famous John 14 verse 6, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

“So can you please explain to me what Jesus really meant? Those strong words, I guess, must be the root cause of the conflict between Muslims and Christians. The Muslims are solid in believing that Muhammad is your last prophet and Qu’ran contains your exact words, placing Jesus and the Bible at a lower position.”

“Let me make this straight. Most of the teachings of Jesus were overlooked, thus, resulting to misinterpretation. If you read again all his statements, never did he use the word only. Therefore, his church is not the only church nor his way, truth or life. Anyone can create a church if it’s necessary to gather people together in discussing and clarifying spiritual matters. And there should be someone in charge like Jesus commissioning Peter, to create rules for the order of every gathering.”

“I never thought about this.”

“Although Jesus introduced a radical truth in loving me, going beyond any man made laws such as rituals or liturgies, Jesus did not discount the possibility that there could be someone after him who may discover another new way to spiritually evolve oneself in the highest form and in the fastest way. So he was open to witness another life of a human being who could become greater than him. It was the reason when he said something marvelous in John 14 verse 12 to 14, ‘Very truly, I tell you. Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.’”

“It’s one of the deeply moving words of Jesus.”

“Indeed. So whatever you want, including the greatest knowledge which is not discovered by anyone yet, will be given.”

“But what about when Jesus used the word except when He said that no one comes to the Father except through Him?”

“Let us get the best definition of except from your dictionary authority, Merriam Webster. Except means as used to introduce a statement that explains the reason why something is not possible, will not happen, etc.”

“Ok?”

“So when Jesus said, ‘No one comes to the Father except through me,’ it means that if you want to go to Heaven after this life of yours, just follow his teachings. He observed that the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees were not providing people the fastest path to Heaven. When I say fastest, it means, cutting the drama of waiting for a savior as based on the Jewish traditional expectation. It also means, breaking free from reincarnating again to this seemingly hellish condition living in this world. But it does not imply, there will never be any possibility of a greater way other than him for He said afterwards on the same chapter that we can do greater things.”

“Go on, my Lord. I can’t get enough!”

“However, Jesus had to use the word except because so far, none has exceeded His spiritual knowledge in His lifetime. But take a closer look, my son… Except has no description of never. Never is defined as not ever or not at any time. If Jesus could have added the words, for now, so it would read as, ‘For now, no one comes to the Father except through me,’ then it would have lessened if not eliminating the conflict between Christians and other religions.”

“This is really a brand new viewpoint!”

“My son, understand Jesus when he did not use the phrase, for now, for it would lose His authority in persuading people to follow him right there and then. Don’t forget, before he was born in Bethlehem named as Jesus, he already achieved spiritual perfection in his previous life. He saw what it was like to be reunited with me. Pure bliss. It was the reason, he was so passionate in his teachings that how he wanted all people who heard him at that time would leave everything and follow him.”

“Another new knowledge there I learned from you, my Lord! That’s why he told his disciple, ‘follow me and let the dead bury their own dead.’”

“Yes, indeed. It’s in Matthew 8 verse 22. Although, you do not want to interpret it literally. In verse 20 of the same Gospel, He implied that he has no place to lay his head, which means, he had to get busy all the time in proclaiming the good news of salvation.”

“I’m overwhelmed by your explanations! These had never crossed my mind before.”

“Now, you tell me. Put yourself in the sandals in one of the disciples during the time of Jesus. What would you do after hearing all his authoritative words? Do you take his teachings seriously that you would also be galvanized?”

“I don’t know, my Lord. A lot of things are circulating in my mind right now about him.”

“Imagine you are with him all the time from his public ministry to resurrection, you would naturally be excited to tell the world about this one of a kind human being. Like his disciples, you would go out there so passionate about his teachings and even to the point of creating a new religion, convincing the multitudes to join you in your crusade. Although Jesus didn’t write anything, you would try your best to remember all he said.”

“I guess so.”

“Remember, there was no gadget during his time. No audio recorder nor video. So you would write based on your memory but surely dominated by your emotions. Two things can happen. It’s either you write down his teachings in an exaggerated way or you write, omitting some of his words. Both cases lead to danger because the interpretation of your readers could make Jesus as superior and special that no one can give us salvation at any time except through him. Do you get my point?”

“I do! I now understand better why his disciples and the early Christians acted those ways to the point of laying down their lives.”

“There’s no point of laying down your life in attack or defense of your faith. By that act won’t bring you back here with me in heaven. You’re a Catholic by birth. Right?”

“Right, my Lord.”

“For example, if others are defaming your Catholic faith, you just listen. You don’t have to defend nor strike back. Smile and sincerely say, Peace.”

“That’s it?”

“That is it. If all of you start doing this simple gesture, you have taken the first step in solving one of the oldest root causes of human sufferings. Whether you are a Hindu, Buddhist, Jew, Christian, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Agnostic or Atheist… If you all stop talking about the doctrines of each of your faith and just say peace and see what act of kindness and compassion you can do! Then you know what will happen.”
“What, my Lord?”

“You go back to Heaven.”

“Of course! But I’m still not done with Jesus. Like some people, the Jesus mystery continues to shroud human minds whose intelligence and reasoning can’t be fully satisfied.”

“Just take it easy, my son. For some, it will take them to finish a four year college course about the Bible to thoroughly understand him while some, it’s a never ending quest to continually investigate his life, works and teachings. For you, it can take a moment in this conversation. If you’re a skeptic scientist, then it will be a fruitless pursuit. You will miss the life changing wisdom of Jesus. If you are a truth seeker but filled with a hidden envy, then you will be lost in the wilderness of countless books.”

“Excellent reflection you have there, my Lord!”

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