Sinners, saints and souls (part II)
I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. (Luke 5:32) Jesus uttering these words challenged the hypocrites to undergo radical conversion. Jesus hoped that the line will open their eyes to ponder on it and to be immersed in the reality not to condemn sinners but to bring them to conversion.
Deacon Brayle M. Bagyan will be ordained on Dec. 3 at the St. Joseph Church ground. It will be historic because he will be the first homegrown i-Sagada to be ordained.
His priestly ordination, to be conferred by Bishop Valentin Dimoc, will be the first priestly ordination since the Roman Catholic evangelization of Sagada in 1914. After 107 years, the catechetical work, the unceasing prayers, and faith witnessing of church leaders will reap a beautiful harvest of faith, priesthood.
The 500 years of Christianity is indeed a beautiful celebration with priestly ordinations and Deacon Brayle’s ordination is indeed significant and meaningful.
After 25 years, Kilong Catholic Mission being separated from Bontoc Catholic Mission, it will indeed mark a faith experience that will inspire the young people to discern on priestly vocation.
Dec. 3 is the feast of Saint Francis Xavier and with his intercession, the ordination will surely bring good weather and good health for everyone.
Deacon Brayle chose the line of Jesus, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matthew 9:13). He was inspired by the calling of Matthew, the tax collector. In one of our conversations, he mentioned, “The strong line of Jesus would remind me of my nature as a human person, a sinner, nothing in the eyes of God. But because of his grace and mercy, He chose me to become a dispenser of his mercy, peace, and love.”
He is a talented person, who is generous to share his talents. He does not get tired of teaching the people. He is musically gifted and preaches with passion and substance. I was amazed at how he shares his time for free haircut and I am a beneficiary. Indeed, being a deacon makes sense. He serves in many creative ways.
On Nov. 30, Deacon Frederick Lid-ayen was ordained in Hungduan, Ifugao by Bishop Valentin Dimoc. Deacon Eric as he is fondly called enjoys his services reaching out to the people. We pray for the successful ordination of Deacons Eric and Brayle. Let the genesis of their priestly life be of love and joy.
Priesthood is not a magic. It starts from faith experience. It starts from something that tickles the soul. Many saints were once priests, deacons, bishops, popes, catechists, and simple people. These people allowed the grace of God to overcome human weakness and not justify human errors with human weakness but to look beyond the mercy and grace of God to operate in their lives and works.
“Salusanimarum suprema lex” is translated as “The salvation of souls is the supreme law.” Canon 1752 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law emphasizes the soul. We strive to holiness to feed our souls. We work holiness through the sacraments, charitable works, listening and doing the will of God here on earth. We don’t confine the work of holiness for ourselves but for others. We will not save the soul. That is God’s ultimate authority and work but we can be active participants.
We are sinners but we don’t employ that reality to justify our mistakes instead to look beyond the physical and experience the God of mercy and compassion to better our life. In our humble ways, we can be saints while living. Let us allow our lives to be God’s instruments to influence people to holiness too. Witnessing is the best way to do it.
When I was in Poland in 2011, I had the opportunity to celebrate the holy mass in the church where St. John Paull II was baptized.
In another significant event, I presided the holy mass in the Basilica where he was ordained and where he administered the sacraments. My devotion to the Divine Mercy was intensified.
My thesis in college was, “Metaphysics of Love.” I experienced that in St. John Paul’s hometown. It was a pleasant surprise. St. John Paul II was my inspiration in the seminary until today.