April 22, 2024

Let us greet Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, “Happy 93rd birthday! Let us greet one another, “Happy Divine Mercy Sunday!”
I dwell on the biblical readings of the Thursday of the Octave of Easter. It gives us three topics to ponder upon, namely Jesus, peace, and scriptures.
Psalm 8:2 says, “O Lord, our Lord, how glorious your name over all the Earth!”
The Acts of the Apostles 3:15 says it as well, “The author of life you out to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses. And by faith in his name, this man, who you see and know, his name has made strong and the faith that comes through it has given him the perfect health, in the presence of all of you.”
The Gospel of Luke 24:48 says it, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations.”
The name being mentioned here is no less than Jesus.
The successful healing and preaching ministries of the apostles were all attributed to the name of Jesus. They did not claim the success as their personal effort but because they had been invoking the name of Jesus. The miracles and healing they performed were humbly admitted by the apostles as Jesus’ continuing ministry through them. They worked and preached in the name of Jesus.
What’s in the name Jesus? Jesus means God saves. The name carries the mercy and compassion of God for the people, that they will not be condemned but saved. So, when we say “In the name of Jesus” we simply mean, “God saves.”
I invite everyone starting today at 3 p.m. to pause for some seconds and say together, “In the name of Jesus, Covid-19 must end. In the name of Jesus, all the infected will be healed. In the name of Jesus, all the frontliners be safe. In the name of Jesus, all Filipinos will behave. In the name of Jesus, the donations will not be corrupted. Amen.”
I remember a haunting experience in one of the Basic Ecclesial Communities of Bontoc Catholic Mission. I was caught unaware of a spiritual possession during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. I was delivering my homily when a young girl started to scream and her body started to harden.
I recall telling some people, “Carry her and bring her outside.”
I did not realize that it was very dark since the chapel was under repair.
I went out and saw the youth combining their strength to hold her. I asked the name of the girl from the people. I was not aware of my moves until I gripped her ankle and shouted, “In the name of Jesus, leave the girl!” Upon uttering the name of Jesus, her strength collapsed and she laid flat on the ground. I instructed the people to bring her home. From then on, she never had the same experience again.
We celebrated Holy Eucharist in the evening to allow the farmers to manage their fields first and to have more people to attend. After some experiments of how to get the people, we finally saw the advantage of an evening mass. It had been working well. People felt better and then they were used to it.
While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you!” (Luke 24:36)
Peace is our freedom from evil and from anything that disturbs us. Hence, peace is not only about the absence of war but the tranquility of the inner being. We always say peace is the highest form of human development. It is the face of God in our communities. Everybody is morally mandated to participate in the work of peace.
“Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.” (Luke 24:46) Jesus used the scriptures himself to teach his apostles.
The sacred scriptures mean both the sacred tradition, i.e. the things that happened in the life of Jesus with his apostles but they were not written down in the bible. The religious practices had been generated to a tradition which eventually involved to inculturation.
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