June 24, 2024

At the mountain of God, Horeb, Elijah came to a cave where he took shelter. The Lord said to him, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will be passing by.” (1Kings 19:9a.)
Elijah must have been tired in his ministry so he opted to rest, recreate, and retreat with the Lord.
This is one of the things I kept on reiterating among the frontliners, government officials, and health volunteers. Find time to rest, recreate, and retreat. The battle is unseen. The battle today will be long. It will take years. So find time to be reinvigorated every now and then.
So far, the Mountain Province Provincial Health Office under Dr. Nenita Lizardo was the first to ask for retreat and they got me as the retreat master and facilitator. The youth of Sagada came after and the last group was in Barangay Aguid. Health protocols were strictly observed.
Psalm 85: 9 narrates, “I will hear what God proclaims; the Lord – for he proclaims peace. Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him, glory dwelling in our land.” We need more time to rest, recreate, and retreat in the Lord to be able to listen to Him.
Brothers and sisters: I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie; my conscience joins with the Holy Spirit in bearing me witness that I have great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart. (Romans 9:1-2)
The cause of more misunderstanding, conflict, and chaos in the country is the circulation of lies, wrong information, and false news. We learn from Saint Paul, who challenged himself to be a staunch bearer of truth. We need to feed our conscience with the Word of God and equally examine it with the Holy Spirit. This is what is missing among our government leaders. Many of them feel that they are gods and they do not need divine grace and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The country is battling against an unseen enemy; hence, we need to rest, recreate, and retreat with the Lord. It is only God who can defeat the virus.
The rest, recreation, and the retreat of the Northern Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) was also seen during their cultural harvest festival.
“Igasingko ay mangil-ila sinan gawis ay ikikan tako ay sumingbaan ulay sinan timpo di pandemia. Amuk ay bumabadang si Apo Kabunyan kendatako isunga abaken tako nan Covid ay sakit.”
This was the opening remarks of Punong Barangay Domingo Kelly of Aguid in welcoming the congregation.
It was indeed a celebration of the Year of the Indigenous Peoples and the Year of Ecumenism. The celebration was represented by Catholics from Barangays Pede, Fidelisan, and Aguid. Vegetables, rice grains, fruits, coffee, and fruit wine came to the procession during the offertory. Many of the parishioners came in their wanes and tapis that added color to the celebration.
It was also a celebration of thanksgiving and asking for blessings. Thank you is just a short line that means 1. “It is not mine. Somebody gave it to me,” 2. I must take good care of it. I must be a good steward, 3. I continue to ask from God for more blessings especially to bless the work of my hands for abundant harvest, and 4. I seek the protection of the Lord for my work place, my field, and my family.
The gospel on Aug. 9 narrated the rest, recreation, and retreat of Jesus on the mountain and Jesus’ love story with Peter. (Matthew 14:22-33)
“Lord, save me.” This line of Peter summarized his being human. He realized that he was powerless and he was drowning to death. His human weakness, his powerlessness, and humility led him to see Jesus and acknowledge his might. We may say, why did Peter seek God’s mercy only when he was drowning? Well, that is the healthiest expression of being human and an expression of healthy spirituality.
He may have denied Jesus and pretended he can manage himself just like any of us who pretend we can manage when we cannot. Pride will kill us. Pride will bring us down. Pride will divide us. But humility, like what Peter displayed, will save us.
The unbelief of the apostles, “It’s a ghost!” can happen to everybody. We are mere human beings. But it should not end there.
“If you are Jesus then command me to walk on the water to reach you.” We can also challenge God when our means and power are ending. But it should not always be the case. We must declare all the time that “Truly, he is the Son of God.” By so doing, we will overcome every test and all evils of the world.
The Aguid BEC had been tested and yet they continue to declare that Jesus is indeed the Son of God.
Hence, this is the primary reason why they gather to celebrate the Holy Mass as thanksgiving and to seek for His daily blessings for their work to bear abundantly.
Reach me at [email protected] or at 0905-165-3669.