“And even itong Last Supper who are the idiots there? Basta na lang ginawang santo kasi nandun sila sa painting. San Isidro, San Pablo, St. Jude, Santo Rodrigo kung sino na lang,” Duterte said, eliciting laughter from his supporters.
Clearly Duterte’s recent attacks veers away from his being a tactician. His conclusion is not drawn out of a diligent reading and faithful study of Scriptures, but of a mere perception of a painting on the Last Supper. He mocks the Apostles as idiots who were allegedly made saints because they landed on the scene of the Last Supper.
Who are these Apostles? And why are they saints?
These Apostles, whom Duterte calls “idiots,” are named in the Gospel of Matthew: “The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him” (10:2-4). Most of them were originally fishermen who have not gone to formal schooling, and all of them definitely have their own defects and weaknesses. Simon (Peter) for example was impulsive and hot-headed. Yet, Jesus chose him to lead the Church he has established. Judas Iscariot, the group’s purse-keeper, was also initially called to become an apostle, but later on chose to betray Jesus. At the last supper, “Satan entered him” (John 13:27), and left Jesus and the rest of the apostles.
The Apostles — minus Judas Iscariot — are celebrated as saints not because of their weaknesses and shortcomings. They are saints for having strived in their lifetime to remain united in Jesus, through the Eucharist (sancta) and through doing things in and for Jesus (sancti) in their lives (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 960-961).
Should we scoff and laugh for making idiots saints? Definitely not. Becoming a saint — holiness — is the vocation of all men. We must strive and work for it. It should be our ultimate goal. Saint John Paul II, who graced our country twice during his papacy, once said: “We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures, we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son Jesus.” All of us has the capacity to become saints!
Today (June 26), we celebrate the feast of the “saint of the ordinary.” He is Saint Josemaria Escrivá de Balaguer. He is known for having said: “there is something holy, something divine, hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it. Our ordinary everyday life, devoid of human glamour, can be a path to holiness.” Yes, dear friends, doing ordinary yet good deeds with great love for God can help us become holy. True change can be achieved, not by rabid loyalty to a master tactician who scoffs and disrespects, but by striving to imitate the One who calls all men, idiots and intellectuals alike, to holiness.
Let us pray that all of us become holy. Let us strive to become saints by doing good on earth.