Rex Reyes and Jose Corazon de Jesus

In a very timely article, at the beginning of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines general conference, the website Ekklesia carries a report from the United Methodist News Service (US) featuring the Anglican priest most likely to be the next general secretary, Fr. Rex Reyes. Notable quote: “Christianity is not just a social club.” While I am sure he is addressing that to Christians in general, I have no doubt that he is addressing his fellow Episcopalians, both those in expat-heavy Holy Trinity in Forbes Park and in the relatively poor Resurrection Episcopal Church in Fairview. He is the latter’s non-stipendiary pastor.

*****

Meanwhile, today marks the anniversary of the birth of my great-grandfather, Jose Corazon de Jesus, a great Tagalog poet. He wrote a song which has become so synonymous with protest and with the radical Left that the Marcos regime commissioned a patriotic song to counter it in 1981. He loved his country and his Malay-Tagalog heritage very much, though I am at times uncomfortable about his tendencies toward xenophobia. But as much as he loved his country, he loved my great-grandmother, Asuncion Lacdan de Jesus (whose 11th death anniversary falls around this time too), and his three children, one of whom was my grandmother and the only one who had children.

In a way, I have both gained and lost a lot from being his great-grandchild. Most obvious to readers is that I am more comfortable speaking English and am working in environments where this tongue is used most often, and thus I have been at times ashamed about being his descendant. What has made me proud is that, having made it clear that English is now just about a Filipino a language as Filipino itself, I am willing to take on his legacy of love of country and eloquence in communication.

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