(Acts 4: 8-12 1 John 3: 1-2 John 10: 11-18)
Last week, by implication and association, we were asked by Jesus to preach about the mercy of God that brings us so much needed forgiveness of our sins through an act of repentance on our part, starting with us who have already embraced the truth of the faith. As it is said in other quarters that no one can give that which is naught, so we cannot go out and preach to others what we do not have; we have to embrace the faith in the promises of Christ with our trust, and with that we will be able to give a positive witness to what we hold and believe in Christ. In this case we shall avoid the problem which many believers experience: preaching oneself devoid of the truth of Christ.
To effectively spread and witness to the Good News of salvation, we ought to do it in, with, and through Christ; there is no other way we can successfully achieve any goal of evangelization and catechesis because the very tenet and core message of the two activities is God whose refulgence is Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Any other message apart from this is purely man-made and destined for deceit, slander, and chaos; there should always be a sense of unity and centrality in the transmission and witnessing of the faith. Jesus, therefore, cannot be eliminated from the equation of witnessing through an evangelical life worthy of emulation. With this, we can help ourselves before helping others to repent and believe in the Good News of salvation to keep ourselves pure since the grace of God in us will be activated to the fullest to help us achieve the goal of Christian perfection.
(Acts 3: 13-15, 17-19 1 John 2: 1-5 Luke 24: 35-48)
One may rightly ask: What is the point of going to Church or striving to be holy if God has already taken away our sins through the debt paid by his Only Begotten Son out of love for us? But there is a flaw with this kind of questioning which presumes that the expatiation of our sins makes us into robots without any use of freewill and its consequences. The debt paid for our ransom by Christ, indeed, has taken away the root of sin to bring us to a life of glory and holiness. As it were, it is a gracious gift from God to us, and it ought to be accepted so that we might benefit from all the goodness contained in the gift itself. Here is where our response to grace and faith called belief comes to play. If we act positively to the gift of grace we shall have the consequential effect of a holy and glorious life; if we decide to use our freewill to act negatively to the same gift of grace, we shall also have a corresponding dire consequential effect of shame and disgrace. So, this leads to another similar question: why then is it important to strive to be religious?
Religion makes us depend on God so that we might have the strength to live above our self-inflicted weakness. We are, thus, enabled by God’s graces to do good and shun evil. Going to Church helps us to celebrate the two major intertwining themes of the year, “Christ our Light” and “Christ our Life”. The Liturgy of the Word sets up the fire and flame of the Light of Christ in our hearts, making the hearts throb with joy and ecstasy to savor the goodness of the Life of Christ in the Holy Communion we have with Christ in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. No other institution in the world will anyone find such a succor to our ailing and failing selves that badly need healing and salvation. Going to Church and worthily participating in the mysteries of the Liturgies, despite our unworthiness, is far more recommendable than rejecting the idea to join with others to worship God as a sign of our concerted effort to lean on God to avoid the occasion of drifting and falling away from the graces of God meant for repentance leading to our redemption and salvation.
Jesus Christ indeed is risen from the dead. The evidence of the Empty Tomb is enough for us to have hope in a new life that goes beyond the reality of the tomb.
Every animated creature, at least, is afraid of death. This is because none of us knows anything, besides faith and hope, of how death actually feels like, and what happens to us after death. For this reason, almost all of us try to maximize any opportune time and space here and now to enjoy life to the fullest. Unfortunately, the majority of us do this with a negative connotation: “Life is so limited and it ends in the grave; therefore, let us follow the philosophy of an inordinate concupiscence”, as Aristippus’ Hedonism would suggest.
The Mother Church should rather join with the heavenly powers and the choirs of angels to rejoice and exult, because Christ has conquered death to an extent that darkness has vanished forever. This is an echo of the beginning lines of the Easter Proclamation with which the church reminds her children every day in the course of the year to be jubilant in gloating in the glory of Christ, as we recall the events that has brought us so much a relief through the redemptive act of Christ, the Paschal Mystery, when we join with the heavenly powers and all the angels and saints in singing the Acclamation in the Sanctus during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
Christ indeed has done the job for us to be reconciled with God our Creator from whom we intentionally and willfully divorce ourselves because of disobedience and selfishness. Why then should we keep on living in a limbo and an ambiance of doubt when Christ our Redeemer has opened the gate to eternal bliss for us to enter? We just need to activate our sense of belief and trust in his promises. For this, we also make a promise to reject all the lures and empty promises of Satan so as to make a solemn pledge to believe in God and the processions of God, the teachings of the Church, the resurrection of the body, and life of the world to come in the Parousia.
Today is the day and the proper hour to forsake our sinful ways and turn to the Lord, as Isaiah would write in Isaiah 55. We must get out of the darkness even by dancing in it with the hope of seeing and getting to the light at the end of the tunnel; we do this by surrendering to the rhythm of the redeeming grace.
May all the Easter Celebrations of these following Fifty Days be filled with hope and joy so that as we walk in the Light of Christ through the darkness of this world, we may find true Life in the same Jesus Christ who was raised by the power of God so that the same power of God may raise our mortal bodies on the last day to have the fulfillment of the belief in the resurrection of the dead and life of the world to come, a bold belief that life goes beyond the grave.
Happy Easter to you all!!!!!!!!!
The Holy Week celebrations and activities become the springboard for all the other Liturgical celebrations and activities in the course of the year. New Oils are blessed and consecrated for the celebrations of the various Sacraments. This is a week that God and Man began to sit together in an atmosphere of holiness through sanctification in the eyes of a merciful and compassionate God.
By our own sinfulness and fault we run away from the face of God in shame. Sometimes, we even get lost in the presence of God forever with just a little hope to repent and return to God. Notwithstanding all our intransigence and insistent rejection of God, God actually draws closer to us, for he knows that we need him at all times, and he knows that we are just dirt and ashes without his indwelling Breath, the Holy Spirit. What a Father with an ineffable love towards his erring children!
If God has taken up the initiative to let go all our past and current disgraces in exchange for renewed graces, then there is nothing for us to lose; we gain so much, both bodily and spiritually. But, in all these circumstances, it is up to the individual, with the support of the whole community, to make a frantic effort to stretch out a feeble hand to grasp and hold on firmly to the Almighty hand of God. The choice is ours to make: are we doubting this golden opportunity and remain in our rotten life situation, or are we willing to shake off the dust from our old selfish souls and come to the Lord and be made whole and holy?
A new and an eternal Covenant has been established for us; we are to rejoice and be glad in it without any questioning and grumbling. Remember, our God is good always, and always our God is good.
May we all come together with all the filth and garbage we have carried all these years of ours to the presence of our loving and compassionate God and ask him to make us clean by the Precious Blood of his only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who offered his life on the Cross for the expiation of our sins as the best and most precious GIFT God has ever given to mankind. With all these, we can then understand the full meaning of a life which is eternal now and beyond the grave. After all, the power of the grave has been made useless by the power that raised Jesus from the death.
O, what a joy to behold the fearsome grave rendered as useless as a dross, as Christ our Redeemer and Savior rises again from an excruciating death that was handed to him through the cruelty and wickedness of the same people who needed redemption and salvation by him! This is love Divine! Well, it is all a mystery for us to worry so much about; all we can really do is to jump into the mood of rejoicing and begin to live a life of grace in the Lord who has made all things new and possible for weak and feeble humankind!
Have a meaningful and successful Holy Week!!!!!!!
(Jeremiah 31: 31-34 Hebrews 5: 7-9 John 12: 20-33)
To be truly a religious person is basically to lean on God with all hope, faith and charity, brewed and spiced in the “cocktail” of trust, that all may be well by the gracious will of God. Anything short of this indicates the continuation of our insistent intransigence which virtually leads us to sin, a situation that makes us so unhappy and uncomfortable in life because of the consequential compunction. But why do we have to stick to a plan that never yields any dividends, but rather makes us inflict a useless form of punishment unto ourselves because we keep on running away from reality as cowards?
Christ has paved the way for us to come to the light so as to savor the sweetness of his eternal and glorious life. The ball is in our court with all the graces to kick it and score some goals. It is this last ingredient on our part to acknowledge our sinfulness and weakness that lay claim to the strength of God, which causes us so much an opportunity to make our lives anew. If we can place our trusts in mere mortal and inconsistent human beings for answers and favors, why can we not then do it all the more by placing our trusts in God who is all good, gracious and merciful and ever-constant in his promises? Again, the choice is ours to make. We just need to learn from our past lives that never relied on God so that by a common sense from what we have experienced, we may turn back to God and have eternal and fruitful lives, no matter how painful and difficult this might be. The fruit and joy of such an endeavor far surpass and outweigh a life that does not make any attempt to taste and savor the goodness of the Lord because of a monstrous fear which is created by our overreliance on a transient happiness of the senses.
Tuesday Mass & Adoration 4-6pm
Wednesday - Friday 7:45am
(Thursday, 14 May 2015)
(Sunday, 24 May 2015)
(Sunday, 31 May 2015)