“But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead with our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…” Ephesians 2:4-5
Once there was a man named Juan. He was born to a loving couple of honorable descent. Though they were not rich, their family was well-provided for. They lived in a nipa hut surrounded by luscious vegetation, alongside a cool and clear river teeming with fish on which they could feed on. His parents raised farm animals as if they were family. Every morning they wake up to a burst of golden sunshine with sweet music of birds tweeting. And late at nights, they sleep on lullabies of crickets as glittering stars lit up the evening sky. Such was the simple life of Juan.
He grew up to be a robust and fine, young gentleman. His father and mother toiled the fields with hopeful joy as they dreamt of a bright future for their young boy. They sent him to school determined that Juan would become an educated man whose future would be as bright as the mornings they woke up to. And studied hard did Juan. He was intelligent and hard-working, and soon enough, he finished his studies with honors. Indeed, Juan was a very bright young man.
But something happened along the way that slowly ate up the essence of Juan. His knowledge grew inversely proportional to his morals. The once simple Juan learned just oh so much, that simplicity no longer satisfied him. The pride that was born of his acquired knowledge became a curse. His simple needs became grand. And as such, he mistakenly began to equate success with having more and wanting all that the world has to offer.
On this basis, he started his own family. He married the richest girl he met, built a mansion, had a string of flings, and had numerous off springs, legitimate and otherwise. This he accomplished as he raked money in, regardless of the means, business, politics, gambling; name it, he ventured in it. The simple Juan became Don Juan.
But everything has its price. And Juan was not ready to pay. One day, Juan was stricken with cancer. As his family tried to have him cured by the best doctors and medicine that money can buy, his precious stash of money started to dwindle. So did his properties. And finally, even his so-called friends. He was so desperate to get cured that even that valuable piece of land on which their nipa hut once stood, he contemplated to sell. Poor Juan. Even his children’s children were now burdened to pay all the debts that he eventually accumulated not only because of his illness, but from all the vices that he unmindfully busied himself with, while he was on a roll. Poor, poor Juan. Nothing left but his frail body and a broken spirit. Is there still hope for poor Juan?
Kabayan, why then do we get this feeling that we already met Juan? Is it because we all knew Juan from somewhere? As a child, maybe we had played with him. Or maybe, we were seatmates at school. Or worked with him in his firm. Maybe we were at his wedding, or his children’s birthday parties. Maybe we were drinking buddies? or one of his flings perhaps? Or probably we were his physician, who tried so hard to cure him but didn’t.
How the story of Juan ended is really up to us.
Because Juan Dela Cruz is a myth. But his story is real...
His full name is JUAN DELA CRUZ…
And his full life is the CROSS.
Curiously, it is also our story whose ending shall depend on our sincere repentance and submission to the will of God in the remaining moments of our lives.