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Noli Me Tangere: A response to DJB

This is my response to Dean Jorge Bocobo's Noli Me Tangere: Jesus Says to Mary Magadalene

Jose Rizal’s title for his novel is an irony. As the writer’s foreword to his work says, there is a social cancer so malignant that mere touch can send the sufferer to spasms. The ancients can’t do anything but to expose the afflicted on the steps of the Temple in hope that someone can extend a blessing.

Thus the afflicted body is not in a glorified state and is corrupted.

In the case of the Resurrected Jesus, the body has been glorified and rescued from corruption (death). Mary of Magdala is cautioned from not touching Christ’s glorified body since she herself hasn’t been glorified yet. This is well within Jewish belief that a defiled body cannot be allowed to touch the holy.

Now before the moral relativists read this to mean that women are defiled, Mary of Magdala represents all of us except in one thing. She has been faithful to her Master to the extent that she kept watch while the male disciples were in fear and doubted the Resurrection. Thus Mary of Magdala was the first to have seen the Resurrected Jesus Christ.

Rizal’s intent in the Noli Me Tangere is clear and the Dominicans in UST read is so clearly and the Jesuits in the Ateneo cannot but agree. The Sacerdotes cannot by any means remove the corruption that infests the Filipino colonial body politic. No blessing from the Church can cure the cancer. Mary of Magdala couldn’t touch the glorified since it is pure, Filipinos cannot touch the corrupt because it is infected!

Rizal was ever the Victorian doctor with the right diagnosis.

This is the message of the Noli Me Tangere. What is Glorified in Philippine society is infected and thus no one dares to touch it in fear of contagion. So if you support clerics to run for office, please keep this in mind.


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