Saturday, April 23, 2016

On Mayor Duterte: Does God call the qualified or qualify the called?

Rody Duterte for President Movement International: God doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies the called.
Question: "Good day Brod. do you have an article regarding Mayor Duterte slamming our Bishops? and his supporter comparing him with Old testament heavies such as David, Abraham and even to St. Peter?"

REPLY

I have no specific article for this, but you may wish to read two of my articles on Mayor Duterte:
But let's check out the argument of pro-Duterte apologists:
Jacob was a cheater, Samson was a womanizer, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran away from God, Paul was a murderer, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossiper, sarah was impatient, Thomas was a doubter, Elijah was depressed, Moses stuttered, Zacchaeus was short, Abraham was old, Peter denied Christ. And Duterte curses... a lot!

God doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies the called.
A. Is Duterte a Saint or a Hero?

The outline of the argument goes like this:
  1. The saints and heroes in the Bible were sinners or flawed characters
  2. Duterte is also a sinner or a flawed character.
  3. Therefore, Duterte is similar to the saints and heroes in the Bible.
The fallacy of this argument is that it ascribes to the whole what is only true for a part, i.e. a false induction. If a cow has two eyes and a man has two eyes, then a cow is a man? All of us are sinners, too. All of us have flaws. Does that make us saints and heroes? Of course, no. To be called a saint or a hero depends on the manner of your death, i.e. how you acted in the last two minutes of your life.

Just like in basketball: if you have been shooting those 3-pointers well for all four quarters and you missed that game-winning or game-tying shot before the final bell, all your heroics won't be remembered by those who watched the game, for they will only remember and talk about what you missed. The converse is also true, if you have not been making your shots from the field for four quarters and in the final seconds you grabbed the rebound and hurled the ball to your teammate at the other end of the court for a game-winning fast break, you will be remembered as a hero.

It is the last two minutes of your life that matters. As God said through Prophet Ezekiel:
But if the wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live. He shall not die! None of the crimes he has committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of the justice he has shown. 23j Do I find pleasure in the death of the wicked—oracle of the Lord GOD? Do I not rejoice when they turn from their evil way and live? 24And if the just turn from justice and do evil, like all the abominations the wicked do, can they do this evil and still live? None of the justice they did shall be remembered, because they acted treacherously and committed these sins; because of this, they shall die.k 25l You say, “The LORD’s way is not fair!”* Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair? Are not your ways unfair? (Ez 18:21-25)
Duterte has not yet died. So it is prudent not to compare him with heroes of the past, since even President Marcos, for all his brilliance as a lawyer and orator (and as a World War II veteran--if you believe his medals) was now only remembered as a dictator who was ousted by People Power at EDSA and who can't even be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (The Graveyard of Heroes).

Similarly, it is not also prudent to compare those who are still alive, e.g. Duterete, with religious figures in the Bible. As St. Ignatius of Loyola said:
We ought to be on our guard against comparing those of us who are still living with the blessed of the past. For no small error is made when one says, for example, “He knows more than St. Augustine,” or “He is another St. Francis, or even more,” or “He is another St. Paul in goodness, holiness, and the like.” (Catholic Rules of Orthodoxy)
B. Does God qualify the called?

"God doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies the called."

This statement presumes that God has called Duterte to become the President of the Philippines. Yet it is also possible that the idea to run as President of the Philippines did not come from God but from the devil or from Duterte's own troubled mind. This requires discernment. And even if God anointed someone like Saul as King of Israel when the Prophet Samuel poured oil on his head, there is still no assurance that that the person whom God anointed would continue on the right path, for even King Saul strayed and disobeyed God, so that God stripped the kingship from him.

When God calls us, we must obey. And this means abandoning our sinful ways and walking on the righteous path with God until we die, for obedience is what distinguishes a sinner from the saint:
  • Jacob was a a cheater who pretended to be Esau to get the first-born's blessing from his father Isaac. But Jacob later brought a part of his wealth back as a gift to Esau to ask for his forgiveness and regain his favor. (c.f. Gen 33:1-17)
  • Samson was a cheater, but in the end, he saved Israel even while blind, while pushing the pillars that house the Palestinians in their victory merry-making. (c.f. Jgs 16:23-31)
  • David had an affair with Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed in battle, so God punished David by killing his son with Bathsheba. And since that time, David has remained faithful to the Lord. (c.f 2 Sam 12:13-25)
  • Noah got drunk and then he fell asleep. He cursed Canaan for not covering his nakedness in his sleep, but who instead informed his brothers. Noah remained faithful to God until he died. (c.f. Gen 9:18-29)
  • Jonah ran away from his mission, but a giant fish swallowed him and sent him to Nineveh where he preached repentance in the entire city. (c.f. Jon 3:1-10)
  • Saul had Stephen stoned to death. Saul later repented when God blinded him with light and Saul became Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles. (c.f Acts 9:1-22)
  • Gideon was insecure, and yet he obeyed God by destroying the statues of Baal in Israel. Because of this God made him defeat his enemies even with only 300 men. Gideon remained faithful to God until his death. (c.f. Jgs 7:1-25)
  • Miriam was a gossiper, because she envied Moses' relationship with God saying, "Is it through Moses alone that the LORD has spoken? Has he not spoken through us also?" God reprimanded her and Aaron, though Miriam alone was punished with a scaly infection for 7 days. After that, Miriam never murmured against Moses again. (c.f. Num 12:1-16)
  •  Sarah was impatient. Actually she laughed when the angels of the Lord said to Abraham that she would be pregnant even in her old age. But after she was corrected by the angels, Sarah has always remained faithful to God until her death. (c.f. Gen 18:9-15)
  • Thomas was a doubter, and yet when he saw Christ and placed his finger on his wounds, he believed and proclaimed, "My Lord and my God!". (c.f Jn 20:24-29)
  • Elijah was depressed, since Queen Jezebel sought his life after learning how Elijah killed the Prophets of Baal. And yet Elijah obeyed God by anointing Hazael as King of Aram and Jehu as King of Israel. He also anointed Elisha as the prophet to succeed him as God commanded. (c.f 1 Kgs 19:1-18)
  • Moses stuttered in his speech, but God did not remove this defect; instead God appointed Aaron to be Moses' spokesperson. Nevertheless, Moses also sinned against God by striking for the water to come out, and not simply by commanding the rock to yield its water. Because of this, God punished Moses by not allowing him to enter the Promised Land, but only see it from a distance. Nevertheless, Moses has remained faithful to God until his death. (c.f. Num 20:10-12)
  • Zacchaeus was short, a tax collector by trade--the most despicable of all jobs in Israel at that time, because he is an instrument of the Roman oppressors. And yet when Jesus told him that He will visit his house, Zacchaeus was so pleased that he promised our Lord: "Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” (c.f. Lk 19:1-10)
  • Abraham was old, but because he is willing even not to spare his own son Isaac out of obedience to God, God made a covenant with him and made him the father of many nations. (c.f Gen 22:1-18)
  • Peter denied Christ three times after Christ was arrested and tried in court by the Sanhedrin. But when Jesus appeared to Peter again, he nullified his denial by his three-fold confession of his love for Him. (c.f. Jn 21:15-19)
 Thus, what separates the sinner from the saint is conversion.

C. Duterte curses a lot

Duterte is a man with unclean lips, just like the Prophet Isaiah. But before God sent Isaiah as a prophet, He first "qualified" him by cleansing his foul mouth with burning ember:
Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed!* For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips,d and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” 6Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7He touched my mouth with it. “See,” he said, “now that this has touched your lips,* your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.”  (Is 6:5-7)
Were Duterte's unclean lips purged? Apparently not yet since he keeps on speaking foul words until now. Here's a sample:
So it appears that God has not yet qualified Duterte to run as president in the same way that God has qualified Isaiah to be a prophet by purging his unclean mouth with burning embers.

Purgatory is the place or condition when our soul is purged from our sins through fire, so that we can be fully clean to go to heaven and see God face to face:
1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. 1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:607 As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.608 (Catechism of the Catholic Church)
Let us pray for Mayor Duterte that his unclean lips be purged if not in this age, then in the age to come.
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