The Abused Christian “traditions”
By Apolinario Villalobos
“Tradition” has been abused by those who want to have a scapegoat for unreasonable spending, when all that was desired was to show off their financial opulence.
In countries where Christianity has become a solid foundation of the people’s lives, “traditional fiestas” become good reasons to spend the whole year’s scrimping on cash. Worst, the selfish desire not to be outdone by neighbors in feeding well-wishers, make some to run to pawnshops and loan sharks for the needed money. After the festivities, the doubled effort to save begins again.
Aside from fiestas, Christmastime is one tradition that Christian countries cannot let pass by, without having laid out festive fares on the table, new clothes, new toys, etc. The avaricious celebration of Christmas that has gone beyond excessiveness has lately, drawn the attention of the pope himself. Known as the poor people’s pope, Franciso has been calling on the faithful to observe and practice compassion rather than lavishness.
Earlier, traditions are supposed to have been incorporated in Christian rituals in order not to alienate the pagan converts from what they used to observe, but some enterprising parties have “commercialized” them. The supposedly beneficiaries of these effort have practically, been waylaid from their real purpose. As a result, these abused traditions have been passed down throughout centuries of observance, virtually making them integral components of the people’s lives.
Today, especially in the provinces, even the peasants who could hardly live on decent meals during ordinary days, have at least two special dishes prepared for guests during fiestas; some of them fatten pigs or goats to be butchered during fiestas; ordinary folks who could barely make a living out of an irregular source of income, have Christmas lights and colorfully-decked Christmas trees at home, and new clothes for the whole family for Christmas, forgetting that all they need to do is just attend Mass in anticipation of Jesus’ “coming.
The Church’s tolerance to this abusive observation is part of its laudable effort in keeping the Christian flocks intact. The same observed tolerance is given to the “branches” of Christianity, whose members have become fanatical in treading their new-found “path” towards Jesus. They untiringly raise their hands towards heaven as they sing praises – the same hands that some of them refuse to extend to their earthly brethren who need help!