The Vicious Cycle of Repenting and Erring
By Apolinario Villalobos
I know that many viewers will curse me, especially the avowed “religious” with this discourse. But I cannot help myself from expressing my observations. This is not just an observation about a particular religion… this is an observation in general.
It all started with the people of the Old Testament, the Chosen People who observed festivities, one of which is about atonement of committed sins, complete with offering of live animals. The tradition or rather, this practice, though already assuming different names are observed today by the different religions and sects. Every year has days assigned for atonement. The faithful always look with much expectation to these days, which have practically taken on a festive garb. The Roman Catholics even go beyond what is prescribed in the Bible, with their self-inflicting acts that eventually, became tourist attractions. The Church tolerated the practice as opposing it might create animosity among the faithful. Other acts are in the form of marathon singing of the story of Christ’s suffering, joining processions on bare feet, hiking to pilgrim sites, visiting as many churches as they can, and the simplest is “giving” alms to the poor.
So what’s next? I mean, after the repentance? Sadly, it is back to the good old days of erring. The wise penitent can always be patient as the acts take only a few days. Those who let themselves be nailed on the cross, console themselves with a few days of healing, just like those who joined long processions with bare feet who limped for a couple of days or a little more. Those who sang the passion of Jesus Christ need only to drink ginger brew to give relief to their sore throat. The enthusiasm to be part of the repentance festivity is made more exciting by the trendy selfies to be posted in the social networks of internet. Excited religious groups post selfies taken in front of antique altars of churches that they visit and also with self-flogging penitents in the foreground or background. Some blog the distance covered by their “pilgrimage”. Some post photos taken in resorts and beaches where they “unwind” after their hectic involvement in church activities, with the farther journey and more expensive destination, the better for their self-esteem.
Back to their old selves again, the penitents are not worried as the next season for repentance is coming, anyway. Truth hurts, but that is the reality of life…otherwise, the world would have become a paradise long, long time ago, as the faithful would not have erred again after repenting for the first time…everybody would have been free from sins.
But then, the world must go on existing – on businesses derived from the seasonal activities… what with tons of commemorative t-shirts to be printed, thousands of candles to be lighted, hotel rooms and resorts to be filled, flights and ships to be crammed with travelers, tons of foods and drinks to be sold, love offerings and donations to be collected. Yes, truth hurts…and it is a vicious cycle. And, being a cycle, it has no end. Does it need another Christ to put an end to it?