Reflection on human Jesus

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By Ver F. Pacete

As I See It

Thursday, April 10, 2014

IN MY high school Baltimore Catechism class, the late Msgr. Isidro U. Dormido (father director of St. Joseph Academy) would always emphasize that Jesus Christ has human and divine nature.

“In his human nature, he is just like us. In his divine nature, he is God…..equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit.”

That is still my (Catholic) belief until now. I got a high grade in my religion class under Msgr. Dormido. I could not forget that except that I have exposed myself not only to religions but also to what is metaphysical, scientific and sometimes to irreverent and mundane ones.


If you finish college, you become an eclectic thinker. Your professor is no longer there to influence you…or threaten you. You become free to deal with paranormal and psychic phenomena without fear of contradiction from the sister principal or from the university rector.

My Catholic education is very much anchored to the precepts of Vatican I and Vatican II…very restrictive, highly biased, and dogmatic. In this season of Lent, I want to reflect on my human self (just like the human Jesus) and have mystical union with my God by not necessarily reaching cosmic consciousness. In short, I want to tackle the vagaries of my human emotions. This can be done because on the emotional level, we want to love and be loved. Love is God and God is love. (No religion will contradict that, not even Congress.)

I want to follow the human journey of Jesus Christ. I wish I could go back to the past (distant past) when Jesus was with Mary Magdalene, the “Apostle of Apostles.” In many books and in some movies, this woman (some said, mysterious) was much misunderstood, maligned, ignored and marginalized by the Christian Church.

One Good Friday procession, I overheard a grandmother telling her granddaughter, “That saint (Mary Magdalene statue) is bad. She is a prostitute.” Again, I remember my Vatican I dogma.

This Mary Magdalene was mentioned several times in the Holy Bible in the gospel of Luke, Mark, Matthew and John. She was very close to the human Jesus (as a special friend, probably). The Holy Bible said that she anointed Christ with the most expensive perfumed oil, thus fulfilling the prophecy that Jesus Christ is the “Anointed One.” When Christ was crucified in Golgotha, she was also there with Mama Mary shedding tears.

If the Holy Bible has a script writer, he made Mary Magdalene the first person to meet Jesus after the resurrection (not Peter, not Judas, not Pilate, not even his mother). How Jesus is personally related to this “repentant prostitute”? The churches (not only my church) seem to eradicate the consciousness that we have for Mary Magdalene. There could be an explanation here why this woman from Magdala is a favorite of the Lord.

Is she really a prostitute, a penitent whore? This could just be a biased interpretation of Pope Gregory when he delivered a homily in the year 591. His infallibility made Mary Magdalene a prostitute. The Catholic Church corrected this in 1969. I don’t know how many of us are aware of the correction. It was the author Dan Brown through his novel, “The Da Vinci Code” who made firm assertion that MM is not a prostitute but the wife of Jesus (as stated in the fiction).

We (in our religion) do not entertain much of MM’s adventure or misadventure because if she was close to Jesus and Jesus was also human, it could involve (just possibly) their biological and sexual needs in the name of love. No one could afford to kneel in front of the image of Christ hanging in the cross with a bubble thought that this “God-man” was having a passionate (romantic) love affair to a repentant prostitute.

If you are also an eclectic thinker, you will begin to explore (and understand) the Gospel of Philip found in Nag Hammadi, Upper Egypt in 1945 containing a very revealing passage that Christ used to kiss her [MM] often on her mouth. (Just read the whole text for your comfort.) If that is lips to lips, then, what is your interpretation of that? I expect varied reactions… “shock to anger” (from the devotees), “interesting to delightful” [from lovers], and some will blame me (and the editor) for printing this.

In the season of Lent, we do not just reflect on the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ. That happened already and we are saved now. We can understand Christ better if we look at him just like us, a man. Christ was able to overcome temptation. We want to be like him. We want to overcome our own temptations. We want to tell the politicians to overcome also all kinds of temptations.

Just like Christ, we have to enjoy our own Magdalene, not necessarily “Mary.” Remember, Christ was human. It is good to be human and alive. Only human beings can repent, the devils could not.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on April 10, 2014.


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