S e n t i r e C u m E c c l e s i a

"To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What seems to me to be white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, His Spouse, there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the salvation of our souls..." - Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius [365]

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The "Doubting Thomas" Sunday

"My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28)

Among the "prayers" said in scriptures, one of my favorites is this famous line from the famous Doubting Thomas. Unless I probe my fingers into the nail marks of his hands and feet and put my hand into his side, I will not believe, said Thomas. But when the doubt brought about by frustration was side swept by marvel and grandeur, Thomas exclaimed a very beautiful prayer which gushes forth from the innermost recesses of his being: My Lord and my God!

Many times we have been cynical and doubting about many things. In the midst of pain, is God really here?! In the circumstances of great tribulation, is God really here?! Is God really with us?! Once again we are consoled by the Church with this very beautiful and moving scene between the Risen One and Thomas. Jesus said, You believe because you have seen me; happy are those who haven't seen and yet believed! Christianity indeed is a leap of faith.

Let us beg then for the grace received by Thomas. That like him, we may believe and put our faith in this Jesus who died, and who rose from the dead to save us all. Jesus' Resurrection has broken the sting of death and sin forever.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Easter!

"He is Risen! Alleluia!"

Easter Sunday is the Solemnity of all solemnities. In Easter Sunday we celebrate the summit of our Faith -- The Resurrection of Jesus. Through the Resurrection we profess that our faith in this Jesus is never in vain. For indeed, He is risen!

Easter Sunday then is a day of new beginnings. Jesus, after rising from the dead, destroyed death forever. Death has lost its sting. Jesus has conquered the power of sin and evil.

The body of Jesus still has the marks of the nails and the flagellation. The body that has risen is still the same body, yet the disposition is very different. The wounds no longer represent suffering and pain; instead, those very wounds represent the power of love!

Perhaps it is helpful that as we go to our parishes this day for the solemn Liturgy of Easter, let's pray for the grace to start anew -- to leave behind us a life of sin and selfishness, to put asunder all grudges and hatred we have for others, and to rise again to newness of life forgetting our pains and sorrows. We pray that like Jesus, we may look at the wounds of our life no longer in the perspective of pain, but in the light of love and new life. We start anew for indeed, our Lord is risen and He brings all things new.

Happy Easter and Happy New beginnings!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Black Saturday

"They took down the body of Jesus... and laid him in a tomb." (Luke 23:53)

Holy Saturday has been called "Black" because Christians are asked to reflect on this line from the creed "He descended into the dead (Sheol)..." Jesus spent three days in Sheol until He was risen from the dead. We are asked then to "keep vigil" before the tomb of the Lord, in the company of Our Lady, the apostles and the women who ministered to Jesus when he was still alive.

Holy Saturday is a day of paradoxes. We are in grief for the fact that Jesus died. Yet we are strengthened by His promise of rising again. Holy Saturday then is the day of "in-between," hence, black. We are immersed in grief, yet in the midst of this grief, is a certain joy, a joy springing from hope.

Let us pray then, as we keep vigil before the Lord's tomb, for the grace of HOPE. That despite the many tragedies and disheartening moments in life, we may remain steadfast in hope, a hope rooted in the Lord, the Lord who restored hope to this world.

Have a hope-filled Holy Saturday.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Good Friday

"It is finished." (John 19:30)

This Good Friday of the Lord's Passion, we read the passion narrative from the Gospel of John. Towards the end of Jesus' life, he said "it is finished." In contemporary layman's terms, mission accomplished! Indeed, Jesus' life was not wasted after all. He lived his life to the fullest, showing all the people God's love and mercy. No one has ever seen God, yet in Jesus, the invisible God was made visible through Him, divine Logos.

As we venerate the wood of the cross in our Liturgy this afternoon, let us call to mind Jesus' deepest act of love for all of us -- dying on the cross. And may the cross remind us of Jesus' legacy, that is to love and to serve.

It is finished. The mission of Jesus has been accomplished. Our mission as Christians begins then. Our mission of spreading the Word of this wonderful and magnificent God.

Have a blessed Good Friday.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Maundy Thursday

Today is Maundy Thursday. In this day, the Church celebrates the institution of both the Holy Eucharist and of the Priesthood by Jesus Christ Himself. The Eucharist, in the words of our Holy Founder St. Ignatius, is the "greatest proof of Christ's Love (Sp. Ex. 289)." It is the fulfillment of Jesus' promise in the Gospel that He will be with us till the end of times (Mt. 28: 20). Jesus is indeed present in our very midst through this most Blessed Sacrament.

Likewise, the Priesthood was established by Jesus on this night before he died. He washed his disciples' feet and told them "I have given you an example, that you also should do what I have done." (John 13: 15). In our Liturgy this evening, we will once again recall Jesus' wonderful act of service, the washing of the feet. The priesthood then is an office that of service. It is never of power and dominions. It is never of futile authority. The priesthood is for the people.

Let us pray then for ourselves and for our priests on this solemn day. May we truly be "Eucharist" for others -- taken, blessed, broken, and given for the life of others, and may we imbibe the spirit of the "Priesthood" -- prayer and selfless service to one another. Amen.

Have a grace - filled Maundy Thursday.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

"Spy" Wednesday

"What will you give me if I hand him over to you? ... thirty pieces of silver... and from that moment he sought of ways to betray him." (Mt. 26:15-16)

Today is Spy Wednesday. It has been called us such for us to remember the "act" of Judas Iscariot. He who was a companion of the Lord was able to betray the very person who called him in love. I find this day very apt for us to examine our consciences on how many times (if we could ever count them!) we have betrayed our Lord.

We have been taught that God is the Source of everything, He is the Supreme Good. But how many times have turned our backs on this Supreme Good in exchange of other fleeting and worthless so-called "goods"? to the point of finding ways and means to abandon the Supreme Good for the pursuit of such fleeting goods?

Let us examine ourselves then. And let us not be discouraged. Rather, let us go back to our God, who is the fount of all love and compassion. Let us beg Him for the grace that we may not betray Him again and instead, live in His divine grace. Amen.