February 9, 2023

Since the declaration of the first enhanced community quarantine last year, we made it a point as a humble church here in Sagada, Mountain Province to accept mass intentions without stipend; to pray for healing and for the dead, and offer special intentions.
It was also the first time we tried to livestream daily masses. It was quite difficult due to several factors such as intermittent Internet connection, need to load data, position the camera, and call on equipment operators regularly.
Holding online masses was indeed a challenging apostolate but fulfilling in these trying times.
One day, I received a text message jokingly telling me, “Padi, dipay adu collection yo ta nagatidug ti mass intentions yo everyday?”
The online prayer intention is not a fund raising activity. It’s our humble participation in the mission of Jesus to be with the people, especially those in need.
We learned that this humble apostolate is benefiting people because of affirmative messages and messages of gratitude they send. Above all, many find consolation and strength knowing the church is praying for their intentions.
I can’t accept the death of Fr. Jose Pic-it. A week before his death, I received a prayer request for Fr. Jopik’s healing. Three days later, I was shocked and sad to receive messages that he has died. He was buried after only one day.
There came a point when I started to question myself, especially when some of the people we prayed for healing die. I asked myself, “Lord, are you listening to the prayers of your people?” For the past days, messages came after the other about the death of close friends and relatives. They were in the list of mass intentions for health and healing. Did our prayers go in vain?
Jesus was mocked, wrongly accused, and tortured. He shed tears to the point of crying out, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me!”
Before breathing his last, Jesus gave his full trust in God, “Father into your hands I commend my spirit.”
Did the suffering of Christ end in sheer suffering? Did the death of Jesus end solely in death? Absolutely not. His suffering and death became salvific. His suffering and death destroyed the evils of suffering and death.
The suffering and death of Jesus found its meaning in the resurrection. If Jesus did not resurrect, our life, faith, prayers, and good deeds will all be empty.
The old proclamation of the Mystery of Faith says it well, “Dying you destroyed our death. Rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus come in glory.”
The elements of suffering and death are proof of temporary life here on Earth. But the resurrection of Jesus is proof of life and our Easter participation that will happen to us who believe in him. “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. (Romans 6:5-6)
It is not our faith that resurrected Jesus. He rose by the power of God. Even if we do not believe, Jesus still rose from the dead. People’s disbelief in the risen Jesus is the greatest loss of life and the deepest emptiness that can ever happen to us.
The Paschal Mystery of Jesus includes the life, passion, and death of Jesus climaxing in the resurrection. The Paschal Candle in the liturgy symbolizes the Risen Jesus.
Thank you, Mayor James Pooten Jr. for granting our appeal for congregational Holy Week celebration.
I was elated to see the different Basic Ecclesial Communities of Sagada celebrate the Holy Week and Easter Sunday with deeper understanding.
I hope that the Easter message of resurrection will remain the central point of our faith in overcoming Covid-19 and all its evil effects.
If we focus on the risen Jesus and not on Covid-19 then we can recognize Him.
Reach me at [email protected] or at 0908-727-6735.