Thursday, August 30, 2007

Divine Justice

Are you suffering right now? Are you undergoing a heavy challenge? Are you feeling pain inspite of trying to be an obedient child of God? Do you cry for justice?

The good news is that justice will happen. The truth of eternal life proves it. We believe that life changes. But it does not end. It is a time to face God. That day would come anytime, anywhere and therefore, we must be prepared for it. Also, we will all have to account for our lives. There, divine justice will prevail. Each of us will be measured and judged not by man or any other standard but by God's. This is our consolation. This is our hope.

Thus, in difficult but spiritually and salvifically necessary situations, we have reasons to endure, sustain, suffer, or even die. The hope that we have drives us to achieve our purpose to the end without being derailed or stopped though not unafraid of pain, suffering, or death. As. St. Paul says, who can separate us from God; poverty? sorrow? oppression?hunger? or death?.Nothing, nothing could and should separate us from Christ. All of these are because we have a God who is just. His Kingdom, in the end, will prevail. And those who persist in their faith will gain eternal life.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Greed Is A Question Of Faith

Why would someone who already has a lot of money would still steal? Why would someone who is already powerful would still assert even to a powerless one? Why would somebody who is already famous would still seek attention? Is it because money, or power, or fame are evil as some would reason out? Does it mean that if there is no more money, power, or fame, their attitude will be gone? I do not think so. Our Lord does not think so either.
What guarantees life are not our possessions. Even if we gain the whole world, life may still be wanting. That is why He advices us to fight all kinds of greed. Greed is in reality an attitude towards something or someone. When we put our life on that something or someone, we are a victim of greed.
Greed can be understood in another perspective. It is noticeable and very probable that one is greedy because of lack of belief in life after death. We tend to grab what we can, when we can and however we can and hold on to it hard under greed. If we see life as only for this earth, then we have a reason to be behaving that way. But if we believe in life after death, everything could be let go. Everything will only serve for the purpose of the next life. We do not rest, eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we will die, but we live through all the world for after death, there is a next life. We are not afraid not to have or lose everything in the world, for the ultimate possession is in the next life. If the Lord will allow me, there is one greed that we must have; that is greed for God. Greed for Good. Greed for Love. But the statements are contradictory. Greed is an evil attitude. Its reverse is Contentment. Contentment is full trust in God. Contentment is respect for others. Contentment is being ready to lose the world to gain one's soul.
Therefore, if one believes in God, greed has no place in his heart, rather, love!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Rare Opportunity

Those who attended the dedication of our church was given that rare opportunity to kiss the altar.
When the priest approaches the altar, the very first thing he does is kiss the altar. In keeping with an ancient tradition, kissing an object shows a reverence for what or whom it represents. The altar symbolizes Christ; it is also the place where the sacrifice of Calvary takes place anew. So in kissing the altar, the priest greets his friend and Lord, for whom he has given over his life and for whose service he has been ordained. In the same way, each one of those present who kisses the altar regards Jesus as a friend and He is recognize as the source of the nourishment of our soul, the Body and Blood of Christ.
As one comes forward and kiss the altar, it will be good to offer a prayer.

From Construction To Dedication To Salvation

August 1, 2007
Feast of St. Alphonsus Mary De Liguori Parish
40th Year Of Establishment As A Parish
Solemn Blessing And Dedication

Almost three years past since I became pastor of this parish and the burning of our parish church, our community had the following learning faith experiences;

1. THE ACCEPTANCE OF GOD’S WILL – Immediately after the burning of our church, I addressed the community with these words; “What happened should bring us closer together. It is clear that God has allowed this to happen for a greater purpose. It made us see the meaning of life and faith deeper. This is God’s plan for us. It is a time to trust, not to doubt. A time to hope, not to despair. A time to pray, not just talk. A time for generosity and magnanimity with our time, talent and treasure. A time to be humble, not to be proud. A time to heal and not to wound. A time for God’s will to prevail and not ours. “It was not easy to accept. Yet, we trusted God. We had a lot of questions. We ere confused. Our faith is being challenged. But we know that;
The will of God will never take us, Where the grace of God cannot keep us, Where the arms of God cannot support us, Where the riches of God cannot supply our needs, Where the power of God cannot endow us.
Everything happens for a purpose. We may not see the wisdom of it all now, but trust and believe in the Lord that everything is for the best.
2. GOD NEVER FORSAKES; HE SENT US OUR LADY OF MT. CARMEL TO COMFORT US AND OUR PATRON ST. ALPHONSUS MARY DE LIGUORI TO GUIDE US - During the Ground-breaking ceremony, almost two years ago, I gave this message; “Gradually, we inched our way towards rebuilding our church under the perfect guidance of God. We profoundly felt the maternal love and supporting hand of Our Lady. We suddenly discovered the beauty and privilege of having a patron like St. Alphonsus, who made his presence felt by giving us constant inspiration and working for the success of all our fund-raising projects.”

Indeed, God made Himself ever-present through these able and reliable representatives. In one instance, during the “SERENADE IN MARCH….AT THE RUINS”, we felt God’s loving care. I wrote the day after; Do you remember?


God, Our Lady, and St. Alphonsus made sure we will make it through the rain!

3. NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD; A MIRACLE? You know the story. More than a year after our church got burned, we decided to rebuild equipped with 23 M pesos in donations and funds raised and pure faith! As was expected, the initial fund was rapidly disbursed. While there were still some more donations coming, the expenses were coming faster. We came to a point when we have to find a way to regularly obtain the funds we need to sustain our rebuilding. Thanks to Fr. Steve Zabala and his able parishioners, Husband and wife Mario and Stella Deriquito and Babes De Quiros. They were generous enough to share with us their 848 project which is a fund raising campaign via a pledging system. Thus, our own version, 10-10-25 (To raise 25M in ten months and in ten ways) was born in July 2006, and in September 2006, we began to accept pledges. We hoped to have 25M ten months later on June 30 2007.

You know the rest of the story. We were able to meet our target and more! What was interesting was how it happened. Our community effort and faith were complimented by God’s graciousness and love. For us, they were miracles; meeting the target of raising 25M in a little more than ten months, and our being a church living our communion. Even at this moment, we continue to receive donations from everyone. Indeed, when God gives, it is much much better and greater than what we asked for! Many still could not believe it. But we made it. With God nothing is impossible!

What is left now is our response to this generosity.

4. THANKS BE TO GOD NOW AND FOREVER- Also during the Ground-breaking, I said these words with much hope and faith, “Soon, joy will be in our hearts. Soon, happiness will be on our faces. Soon, peace will be in our minds. Soon, we will have our home with God.”

The “Soon” has now become a “Now!” Now, joy is in our hearts. Now, happiness is on our faces. Now, peace is in our minds. Now we can thank God! No, not only now, but always and forever.

Our deepest gratitude extends to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and our Patron, St. Alphonsus Mary De Liguori; patron of the elderly and handicapped, aspiring lawyers, and for conversion of sinners.

Three things to remember in this Dedication:

1. Christ is always the center of our lives and our prayers.
2. All of these rites are really for our holiness.
3. We who are baptized are also being sent into the world - Just as this church building stands in the midst of other temporal buildings in the heart of this city, so we, as Christians, have to be that witness to Christ in the heart of the world. We have to be reminded of this. We must never forget that a church project is never finished. Even if we have finished the building, our mission as The People Of God continues. Sa awa at kalooban ng Diyos, ang ating pamayanan ay magpapatuloy at magiging daan tungo sa pagtatatag ng Kaharian ng Diyos dito sa lupa.

Maligayang Pista at Araw ng Pagtatalaga!