Posts Tagged ‘Easter Message’
DIE WITH ME AND LIVE FOREVER!
Easter Message of Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas on April 16, 2017 delivered at Saint John Cathedral Dagupan City
As I looked at our churches and chapels filled with devoted people during Holy Week, I asked myself “How many more of such Katoliko sarado and faithful parishioners do we really have now?”
How many of our Catholic countrymen fully believe in the Catholic teachings and live by the same Catholic moral principles? How many of our Catholics openly and blatantly declare “I am a Catholic but I agree that drug addicts must be killed; they are useless. I am a Catholic but I am pro death penalty. I am a Catholic but I favor gay marriages. I am a Catholic but I do not always obey my bishop who is too old fashioned. I am a priest but my bishop’s circulars are optional for obedience. I am a Catholic congressman but I when I vote on bills, the budget allocation for my projects are primary not my conscience. I am a Catholic but I do not mind if the Pope is called son of a prostitute. I am a Catholic and I bash the CBCP on social media. I am a Catholic but I share fake news. I am a Catholic but I am not against corruption in government as long as they help the poor.”
“I am a Catholic but I disagree when bishops talk about social issues and ecology concerns. The Church should not interfere in politics. There is separation of Church and State after all. Give to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and to God what is God’s. I am a Catholic but…I am a Catholic but…”
In Syria and Nigeria, in Egypt and Lebanon, in China and Myanmar, Christians suffer for the faith, endure persecution and embrace their fate of martyrdom until now. They endure the traditional way of blood shedding by torture or by solitary isolation or by the bullet. Their tormentors do not share their beliefs. They live in a society that is angry at God and suspicious of churchmen.
In the Philippines we declare we are Christians. We are Catholics. The baptismal certificate is presented before weddings. We have fiestas and processions. We have Catholic schools and we make pilgrimages. We have priests at funerals and we go to Manaoag.
In the Philippines, we are Catholics. We do not kill bishops and priests in the Philippines. We bash bishops. We allow our idols to curse the Pope. We make fake news about one another. We remain safely anonymous in hidden Facebook and Twitter accounts. We earn our living by working as social media trolls. This is better than drugs and stealing, isn’t it?
We bishops have become martyrs in social media. We are killed a thousand times; our trolls are in the thousands. When we speak they want us muted. When we oppose they want us maimed. When we stand for life, they want us dead.
What has happened to us?
Some of my friends from other countries say they are worried about the government of the Philippines. I answered them I am not worried about government. I am more worried about my countrymen. How have we a Catholic nation become like this as a people?
We have become uncaring for one another. We are proud to be critical without rhyme or reason. We walk not forward but backwards becoming day by day an angry society. I thank God that my parents did not live long enough to see these days when their bishop son is ridiculed and rebuked and his priests are ignored and suspected. Churchmen are called the worst hypocrites and if my mother heard such, I am sure she would cry in pain. Our parishioners seek the security of silence with no one willing to defend Christ’s anointed ones. “For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (Luke 23:31)
Am I hurt? Yes. Am I angry? No. Am I aware of the calumnies they hurl against me? Yes and I read all of them. Shall I give up? No. How do I feel? Fully at peace!
Pope Benedict XVI told us bishops “Readiness to suffer belongs to the bishop’s job description. Precisely in this way the bishop is in communion with His Master. Precisely in this way, he knows himself to be a servant of joy.”
The Book of Sirach advises us, Stand up for what is right, even it costs your life; the Lord God will be fighting on your side (4:28)
We are indeed entering a new chapter in our history as a Catholic nation when it is so fashionable to make churchmen the punching bag of public officials to the glee of our own parishioners. We are humiliated and despised. We are calumniated as having many wives and the accuser is immune from legal suit. Bishops and priests are wronged and no one dares to set things right.
The Church is ridiculed and her churchmen are rebuked. Christ’s teachings are relentlessly challenged. Human life is cheaper than a gun. God’s mercy is disdained and scorned.
Like Saint Paul, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. (2 Cor 4:8-10)
If the fashion of rebuffing Church morals and doctrine does not cease, we will see less and less priests and bishops reaching old age and more and more priests and bishops dying as martyrs at the prime of their lives if not in this generation maybe, maybe in the next. Pray I am wrong.
If this should happen: Stand up and take courage. Go to jail for the sake of the Gospel. Be ready to be killed for the sake of our faith. The Church will not die when Christ’s believers are killed. The Catholic faith will bloom, grow and glow. What we cannot do in life as Catholics, we will be able to do when they kill us and make us martyrs. First they will kill our name. Then they will destroy our beliefs. Then they will kill our body. But no one can stop our hearts from beating only for God.
Another patriot in our midst challenged us:
“We should not wait until the ‘sea of ethics’ runs dry, nor should we allow the navy captain to altogether dismantle the ‘lighthouse’ that gets in his way.”
The Church is under persecution. The signs are clear. The teachings of God on life and family are under attack. Do not let evil intimidate you. Do not let their threats silence the priests and bishops. This is not the time for cowards. This is the ripe season for martyrs. This is a moment of glory.
As the Lord told his disciples in the Garden of Olives, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand when the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go. Look, my betrayer is at hand.” (Mt. 26:45-46)
I close this Easter meditation with the immortal lines of the Man from La Mancha:
I know if I’ll only be true To this glorious quest That my heart will lie peaceful and calm When I’m laid to my rest
And the world will be better for this That one man, scorned and covered with scars Still strove with his last ounce of courage To reach the unreachable star!
If you die with Christ, you will live forever. Do not be afraid. Christ has conquered death….! Alleluia He is risen!
Easter is the greatest and most important feast of our faith. If Christ did not rise from the dead, our faith is irrelevant and meaningless, dry and dead.
Easter beckons us to go beyond the customary greetings and feasting. We must continue the mission of the risen Christ by being ready to bring His message to more people.
Be like the risen Jesus. Look at the risen Jesus. Love the risen Jesus. Follow the risen Jesus.
What is it in Jesus that we must carry with you through life? It is His JOY.
We all yearn for joy. We work for joy. Yet, in its quest we have often failed to find it. We are bundles of shattered dreams; or we are showcases of fulfilled dreams, which leave us empty. We have worked hard, but are frustrated; we have struggled, but feel the weight of disappointment. We are victims of calamities, natural or man-made, or victims of our own coldness in the face of overwhelming suffering.
Remember Yolanda. Remember Mamasapano. Remember the frustrating unsolved problem of government corruption. Remember the loneliness of our loved ones toiling abroad. Our memory is full of broken hopes and dreams. The litany of frustrations is endless. But we have hope.
Our calling is to return to the joy that comes from the Gospel and from sharing the Gospel. That is a joy that comes neither from a covetous heart nor from the frivolous pursuit of pleasures, nor from a blunted conscience. It comes rather first and foremost from a renewed personal encounter with the risen Jesus Christ. That is the goal of Christianity—encounter with Jesus Christ in joy.
This joy can be real and deeply personal in our world. Consequently, it is a joy which needs urgently to be shared today in all its fullness-– no matter the danger, no matter the ridicule, no matter the dying that it may entail.
Move on with joy of the risen Jesus. Carry on with the peace of Jesus. The world needs the Lord. May you bring the risen Jesus with you wherever fate may lead us!
From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Dagupan City, April 5, 2015
+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
” I have risen. I am with you once more. ” Antiphon
My dear brothers and sisters, my dear young people:
It is not a secret that our dear country has been long besieged by numerous and serious socio-moral errancies — primarily caused by a good number of our corrupt and corrupting politicians form the national to the local levels. The pitiful and shameful, profound and pervasive results of such copounded moral malady are the proverty and hunger of people, the division and exasperation of the Filipinos — with Cialis vs levitra В· viagra alternative В· where can i get viagra В· Cialis 20mg professional В· viagra for women for sale В· cost of Cialis daily dose В· buy discount viagra some sucides here and there.
Add hereto the extensice operations of drug lords and Jueteng lords, the well organized criminal syndicates robbing banks, kidnapping individuals, doing extrajudicial killings and summary executions. This is not even to mention the proliferation of prostitution, the violation of women and children, and the killing of infants… and nothing here is even said about the trampling upon human dignity best on-line essay writing services and thecrushing of human rights.
Thus it is that the country is full os bitter discontent on the part of many sectors of society. That is why there are deep, armed and wherefore deadly conflicts among the people not only in Mindanao but also in Luzon and the Visayas. There is even those thousands of Filipinos leaving the coutnry every day of the year — to the extent of exposing lives and leaving their families behind.
With all these social maledictions and moral damnations facing suf om the instance we wake up to the time we go to sleep, it is both assuring and inspiring to think, to remember and tolive the absolute and standing truth that no les than the Lord Jeus Christ Himself clearly and empathically said: “I have risen. I am with you again.” Not alone! We are not! Christ is with us. Who can afford to be against us? Who?
The mighty and the influential? The crooks and the corrupt? The goons and the bandits? All that Order Lithium Carbonate online overnight delivery no prescription. Lithium Carbonate for sale. Get Lithium Carbonate. Lithium Carbonate mg. generic Lithium is needed to get rid of these malevolent characters is eventually some soil, a tombstone plus bad words from their victims. Since time immemorial; all of them. Yes, all of them end this way!
As truth prevails, Christ reigns. Wherea Christ is with us, alone we are not. Therefore, there is much reason for us to say to one another: “Happy Easter!”
God bless you all — especially your dear children!
Very sincerly yours in the Good Lord,(Sgd). +OSCAR V. CRUZ, DD Archbishop Easter Sunday 2009