March 22, 2023

Now, someone approached him and said, “Teacher what good must I do to gain eternal life?” He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19: 16-18)

Before the holy mass at San Lorenzo Ruiz Chapel in Tanulong Sagada, Mountain Province, lakay Manuel Cotengexpressed himself unexpectedly. He pleaded to include the 10 Commandments in my homily.

Lakay Manuel is not a lay minister or somebody who is learned about the bible. He is a simple churchgoer and somebody who sits at the back with his silence overcoming the chapel during the holy mass and even during activities. His strong suggestion was therefore a surprise.

“Padi Marcs, please explain very well the 10 Commandments especially to the young people today. They need to learn the basic of respect and our responsibility to the Lord.”

On the 15th Sunday in ordinary time, the biblical readings, Deuteronomy 30: 10-14 and Luke 10: 25-37, were all about the laws and commandments of God.

The commandments and laws of God are written in the Decalogue but they are also in the hearts of the human person. These unwritten laws and commandments of God reactto the human person in the conscience and cultural values. Hence, even before Christianity, there were already sets of cultural values and norms that react to the human person encouraging to avoid evil and to practice good.

Jesus summarized the Old Law, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10: 24)

To legalize divorce, abortion, same-sex marriage, and change of genital organs are not God’s ways and not God’s law. They go against the laws and commandments of God. It is saddening that our new senators in the are working out to legalize divorce.

We need to pray more for government leaders to discern with God’s will and laws and not by sheer human and personal interpretation of the law. When lawmakers do not have time to listen to God, they will have more time to listen to their personal interest and understanding of the laws and commandments.

Adeliade Amok, Joan Ached, and Melany Masa-ew stayed with me at the rectory to learn musical instruments. After more than a month they did a musical recital. They did well, but above all, they declared that music helped them build their character.

In a speech, they testified to 15 newcomers that music helped them overcome their anxiety and depression. They were able to imbibe self-discipline and self-respect. They learned the value and sense of cleanliness, the importance of prayer especially the holy mass, management of time, and management of the house. They felt the joy of a home away from home and above all the value of life.

Teary eyed, they encouraged the new learners to spend their time wisely in the rectory. Music, prayer, and good peersare indeed instruments in changing wrong perspectives of life and to see the beautiful side of living. “We are not alone in our life and in battling the odds of life,” chorused the three ladies as they leave the portals of St. Joseph Rectory in Kilong, Sagada.

Indeed, music is not only about voices, notes, and instruments. It is about teaching values and virtues. It is about teaching the youth to appreciate their lives and talents. Music is imbibing them the laws and commandments of God.

I recall the promise of the provincial government to share some musical instruments to the Broken Guitar Project but it seems the people entrusted the responsibility need memory enhancers to remind them.

The 54th Infantry Brigade Bravo Company has conducted the regular Mountain Province Youth Leadership Summit at Bontoc Central School for three days.

As usual, I facilitated the topic on “Empowering the Youth and Making Them Aware of their Role.” Many of the Bontoc youth mentioned about the violation of curfew hours coupled with vices as major and serious problems among the youth and adults in the capital town.

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