June 9, 2023

In Luke 5:30-32, Jesus used logic to answer the complaint of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law.
“But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’”
“Jesus answered, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.’”
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law used their human standard to judge and impose penalty to people. They even abuse and misuse the law for their benefit. Legalistic way of life sometimes is destructive. It destroys creativity, initiative, and even twist laws for one’s personal benefit. Legalism will never help in the Christian formation.
There are two kinds of righteousness: righteousness that leads to holiness and righteousness that leads to hypocrisy. Self-righteousness uses the self as gauge of morality but holiness employs the commandment of God.
Saints were once human beings with human limitations, human weaknesses, and sins. Saints were once sinners, but they admitted their human limitations and allowed the grace of God to overcome the human weaknesses. They strived to live holiness without despising others.
They corrected human errors by not being judgmental but reaching with mercy and compassion until sinners heed the call of God to repentance. Saints came from a human genealogy. They too came from lineage of sinners and strived to radiate holiness to the families.
Every year, we celebrate All Saints’ Day. Nov. 1 is dedicated to the saints. They are called the Church Triumphant for indeed they overcome human weakness and now living with God. The Church Triumphant has the capacity to intercede for the living.
I recall a very important and meaningful pilgrimage in Ars, France. I visited the chapel of St. John Marie Vianney in 2011. I was so absorbed by the holiness of the place. I knelt on his old kneeler where he absolved many penitents. Amazingly, I felt an energy on my head. Unknowingly, I knelt for long hours. My passion to hear confession was reinvigorated until today. I realized my human limitations but above all the reality of a God loaded with mercy and compassion.
I can testify that saints are messengers of God to rekindle a drooping faith and to boost our faith.
The Inter-Agency Task Force declared Oct. 28 to Nov. 2 as days to observe All Saints and All Souls days without visiting the cemeteries.
The St. Joseph Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) of Kilong, Sagada, Mountain Province had organized a beautiful remedy. The members planned and prepared the praying of the Holy Rosary dubbed as “Living Rosary” to culminate the month of the Holy Rosary and they did also the portrayal of the lives of the saints which they found meaning and joy. The Kiltepan youth through the leadership of Fe Dolyn Kowet managed the activity well.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel BEC also organized the community and conducted a beautiful celebration of Mama Mary. The members organized a day of celebration with the theme, “Honoring Mary with the Saints through Music.” A comprehensive lecture on Mary was presented by the parish priest to the people. There was a training and learning on Marian songs. The youth were grouped to master on a particular Marian song which they sang in the evening.
The Living Rosary was also conducted to culminate the Month of the Holy Rosary.
The celebration is something to remember because it taught the young people how to pray the Holy Rosary creatively, how to honor Mary and the saints, and how to strive for holiness while living on Earth.
Gratitude goes to Madame Susan Ngagan for organizing the successful youth activity. The untiring assistance of Marjorie Pandagos, Julita Bangloy, Lourdes Bandas, Kyrene Fakat, Ethelbert Bandas, Kevin Celestino, and parents in Aguid, Tetep-an, Kilong, and Antadao lovingly supported the activity to meet its objectives.
The Sagada Catholic Mission ended October with much learning and welcomed November with much joy. We need to make holy activities to overcome the pandemic and to make our lives holier each day. Let the church encourage each one to healing and repentance.
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