February 3, 2023

March 16 is a significant day in our history. European explorer Ferdinand Magellan landed on our shores 500 years ago and it is also the day the President declared the country under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
These events tell us about the presence of God in history, in our many struggles in life, and His mercy despite our sinfulness.
Spain expanded its territory through the sword and the cross. There was impure motivation but this was eventually purified by God.
The planting of the cross and gifting of the statue of the Santo Niño were also remarkable.
The faith was nourished by the sacraments especially that of baptism and the Holy Eucharist. The birth of Christianity in the country must be told and be celebrated.
2Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23 narrates the themes on sin, warning, and anger. “In those days, all the princes of Judah, the priests, and the people added infidelity to infidelity, practicing all the abominations of the nations and polluting the Lord’s temple. Early and often did the Lord, the God of the fathers, send his messengers to them, for he had compassion on his people and his dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised his warnings, and scoffed at his prophets until the anger of the Lord against his people was so inflamed that there was no remedy.”
The fourth Sunday of Lent is called Lae-tare.It speaks about the virtue of joy. We must rejoice.
Rejoicing seemingly does not fit the season of Lent. How come the liturgical calendar calls it a Sunday of rejoicing? Seeing the elements of sin, warning, and anger, the mercy of God overcomes. We read the letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians 2:4,10 “Brothers and sisters: God is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in transgression, brought us to life with Christ. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God.”
Seeing and experiencing the overflowing mercy of God in our lives, we cannot just keep by ourselves but to rejoice and proclaim. Psalm 137:6 says it well, “May my tongue cleave to my palate if I remember you not” or simply, “Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you.”
Laetare is translated as rejoice. Indeed, we rejoice because we will not end to dust but go back to the Father through Jesus. “Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return. (Genesis 3:19) But John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but have eternal life.” We rejoice because despite our sinfulness, God calls us to conversion and re-conciliation through our Lenten observance.
Let us have quick pondering on anger. Anger is a feeling. We cannot just suppress it. Instead, we master and manage it in order for us not to sin. Jesus got angry. Why? Because something was wrong. They made the temple a market place. The temple is a house of prayer and a place of spiritual encounter not a market. He got angry to correct a wrong. He did not sin. We call it a righteous anger. We get angry to correct a wrong and to emphasize the seriousness of the transgression for correction.
We rejoice also for Rev. Fr. Luther Dalang for responding to the invitation of God to serve in his vineyard. I am happy to have been a part of his journey and vocation. He was once my rectory boy in Bauko Catholic Mission and now a priest. He was ordained last March 18.
Reach me at [email protected] or at 0908-727-6735.