(Fr. Ed Panlilio, alumnus of Divine Word Seminary,
carries with him the seminary tradition
of socio-political involvement ["babad"])
After a solemn and heart-rending funeral and burial rites that lasted for three hours, the slain SVD missionary, Fr. Fransiskus Madhu was laid to rest at Christ the
The rites began with a Mass presided by Fr. Jerome Adriatico, the provincial superior of the SVD Northern Province (the Province where Madhu belonged). Indonesian lament songs and Gregorian chants filled the Church of the Shrine of the Divine Word. A big number of Indonesian religious as well as Indonesians from both Christian and Muslim communities came. People from Kalinga, especially from Lubuagan were also there even during the wake (since Holy Wednesday, April 3) led by the mother and sister of the bishop Andaya, CICM, the bishop of Tabuk, Kalinga. The bishop himself was born in Lubuagan. More than 100 priests concelebrated. Bishops Ongtioko of Cubao and Pol Jaucian of Bangued were also present. [During the wake, Papal Nuncio Filoni, Cardinal Rosales of
At the wake. Fr. Adriatico, provincial of the SVD Northern Province
shows to Papal Nuncio pictures of the of the wounds of Fr. Madhu.
The homily was preached by Fr. Lodovikus Mamu Koten, SVD and Fr. Gerardo Gudmalin, SVD. Fr. Mamu Koten, who preached on the mystery of death and the Christian answer of eternal life, is the other Indonesian who is assigned in Kalinga. Fr. Gudmalin was Fr. Francis’ parish priest and district superior of the SVD Kalinga District.
He recounted how they equally divided their assignments for the Holy Week, one liturgical service for each of the seven villages (called "barangays" or "barrios"), including the next town of
It was around 5:30 in the afternoon.
The mass was to be held inside the public school since there is no chapel in the village. Fr. Madhu was still seated waiting for some things needed for the mass when a man with an M-16 slung from the shoulder fired at the priest at close range. Fr. Madhu sustained five bullet wounds in his lower abdomen and side. He died on the spot.
Police has identified the suspect who was with three companions during the shooting and who fled after the incident. At this writing, the suspect and his cohorts remain at large.
The news carried by some national dailies that Fr. Madhu had a heated argument with the suspect is a mere speculation. Fr. Gudmalin reiterated that there was no clear reason why Fr. Madhu was shot. Fr. Madhu had neither enemies nor spoke of any. His journal cum diary that was found in his room does not report of any threat.
If the philosopher Hannah Arendt writes of the banality of evil, the sages in the Bible speak of violence for nothing. The Book of Proverbs warns the youth of the invitation of the wicked and his cohorts: "Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent for nothing" (1:11).
It is this violence for nothing that the bishop of Tabuk denounced in his speech before the end of the
The Indonesian ambassador to the
Since the Fr. Madhu’s family was too overwhelmed by the sad news to be able to come to the country, Fr. Alfonsus Betan, SVD represented them. Fr. Betan is doing his post-graduate studies in
At the end funeral rites, the Indonesians sang a moving hymn of one returning home-- "Pulang" as the Indonesian priests came around Fr. Madhu’s coffin to weep and bid farewell to their fallen brother and friend.
After as short procession to the cemetery, around , as the day was ending, Fr. Madhu was finally laid to rest, to go home to his eternal Father.
This post ends with this short prayer (slightly edited) found in Fr. Madhu’s diary:
I believe that you will always be with me
To do my activities.
Bless me to have a good heart
To hear others
To answer the needs of my people;
And grant them
The generosity to transform themselves
To always hear your Word.
The Lost Tomb of Jesus
by Randolf C. Flores, SVD
Bible and Hebrew Language Professor
Divine Word Seminary
"His disciples may go and steal him away" (Mt 27:64). This was what the chief priests and the Pharisees suspected to happen after Jesus’ death so they came to Pilate a day after with a request to station a security guard at the tomb of Jesus. In that culture, like ours, where deception, lying, hypocrisy, and secrecy are social strategies, the missing corpse would prove that Jesus was raised from the dead. Does this text allude that Jesus’ body was transferred, if not stolen, to another tomb?
The recent announcement of Discovery Channel that they have found the "lost tomb of Jesus" could be an intriguing attempt to shed light on this question. Discovery is coming out with documentary this Sunday with James Cameron of "Titanic" fame as executive producer and Emmy award winning documentarian Simcha Jacobovici as director. Its website gives ample information on the circumstances of the discovery, the process of interpreting the inscriptions involving respected New Testament Scholars and the use of DNA testing—thus the univocal assertion that the tomb “belonged to the family of Jesus of Nazareth.” The title of the just release book of Jacobovici which he co-authored with Charles Pellegrino sums it all: The Jesus Family Tomb: The Discovery, the Investigation, and the Evidence That Could Change History (HarperCollins, 2007).
The Catholic hierarchy (CBCP ) issued an immediate reaction through the media, "it’s not true", arguing that "Jesus" was a common name in the first century A.D. and so coincidental. But that was precisely what Jacobovici disproved. For the documentary, he sought the help of a respected statistician who did a study of the probabilities leading to the conclusion that the odds is at least 600 to 1 in favor of the tomb being Jesus' family tomb. The ratio is reduced dramatically if one runs the name “Jesus, son of Joseph”, a combination name in one of the inscriptions.
The bone of contention is actually the bone-boxes or ossuaries found in 1980 in a tomb in Talpiot, a neighborhood southeast of
What are the implications of this? Jesus underwent a secondary burial. His bones were placed in an ossuary to be buried possibly near to his family. And thus we are faced with a theological problem -- that there was no resurrection, or if there was, it was simply a spiritual resurrection "in which the husk of the body is left behind," as James Tabor, controversial New Testament scholar and consultant on the film said in an interview.
What theologians have to say on this would be interesting to know. But let me just pinpoint some loopholes in the claim of Discovery.
First, the title "Jesus, son of Joseph" was never a title used by the early followers of Jesus. It was used later and by outsiders (see Luke 3:23; John 1:45 & 6:42). It’s difficult to understand why such a rare title was inscribed on a Jesus’ ossuary.
Second, it was next to impossible to transfer the body of Jesus if we consider the biblical account of his burial: the tomb had a large stone rolled to it, was sealed, and was guarded (Matthew 27:60-66). The women discovered an empty tomb in the first hours of the Sabbath (Mark 16:2; Matthew 28:1). If there was an attempt to move the body out, it would have been during the Sabbath, a serious violation of the Sabbath prescription.
Third, sometime around 50 B.C. to 50 A.D., the Roman emperor issued an edict, Diategma Kaisaros (Caesar’s Edict) that sepulchers and graves should remain unmolested in perpetuity as a way of honoring the dead. The edict also warned of serious punishment for violators.
Lastly, what is the significance of Talpiot as the final resting place of Jesus and his family? Jesus came from
In short, the Discovery’s "Lost Tomb of Jesus" does not have a compelling evidence to "rewrite Christianity".
A young Indonesian confrere who worked in the Philippine Northern Province (PHN) was murdered this afternoon with a single pistol shot fired by a man with a criminal record. Fransiskus was already vested for the afternoon Mass at 17.30 (5:30 p.m.) when a man suddenly appeared before him and fired a pistol at him without any apparent motive. It seems that the attacker had personal problems and was wanted by the police. Our young confrere died immediately. The Province of Ende has been informed, as has the family of Fr. Fransiskus. Let us pray for Fr. Fransiskus Madhu that the Lord may receive him into his Kingdom.
Fr. Antonio M. Pernia, SVD