Ang Kapurihan ng Tao

March 30, 2016 at 11:26 pm (Reflections)

Kung iisipin, ang kagandahan ng araw ay lalong nakikilala hindi dahil solong-solo niya ito kundi dahil ipinahahayag ito ng mga nakikibahagi sa kagandan ng kanyang liwanag tulad ng buwan, mga planeta, at maging ng lahat ng bagay sa mundo na nasisinagan nito. Ganun din naman, ang karangalan ng Diyos ay lalong tumitingkad kapag nakikibahagi dito ang kanyang mga nilikha. Kaya sa sulat ni San Pablo sa mga Romano ay sinasabi niyang ang mga katangian ng di-nakikitang Diyos ay maliwanag na inihahayag ng kanyang mga ginawa.

Ang lahat ng kagandahang pisikal at espiritwal ay nagpapahayag ng kagandahan ng Diyos. Sa kabila ng katotohanang ito, maraming mga Cristiano ang naiiskandalo sa konsepto ng pagbibigay-papuri sa mga espiritwal na katangian ng mga lingkod ng Diyos. Pakiramdam nila ay naaagawan ng karangalan ang Diyos kapag nabibigyan ng pagkilala ang kabanalan ng ibang tao. May ilan pang lumalampas na sa hangganan ng katwiran sa pagsasabing, “Walang banal at mabuti kundi ang Diyos,” kaya hindi daw dapat tawaging Santo ang sinuman. Mabilis nila itong nasasabi dahil alam nilang si Jesus mismo ang nagsabi na walang mabuti kundi ang Diyos, pero madalas ay nagagamit ito sa maling konteksto. Ang pagiging banal ay tumutukoy sa pagiging eklusibo o konsagrado para sa Diyos o tumutukoy sa pagtataglay ng mga katangiang maka-Diyos. Sa mga Kasulatan mismo ay mababasang ang mga alagad ng Diyos ay banal at tinatawag na banal; halimbawa ay ang “banal na bayan”, “mga banal na apostol” o “mga banal na propeta”. Sinasabi rin ng Panginoon, “Ituring ninyong banal ang pari sapagkat siya ang naghahandog ng pagkain sa akin” (Levitico 21:8). At kahit ang mga anghel ay itinuturing din na banal (Marcos 8:38). Ang pagkilala at pagpaparangal sa mga nilalang dahil sa kanilang kabanalan at mga katangian ay hindi umaagaw sa karangalan ng Diyos kundi lalong nagpapahayag sa kadakilaan nito. Hindi naman mahirap unawain ang katotohanang ito dahil alam natin na sa pangkaraniwang takbo ng mga bagay sa mundo, ang kahusayan ng isang pintor ay nakikita sa kagandahan ng kanyang mga obra; ang isang musikero sa kanyang musika; ang isang manlililok ay sa kanyang mga rebulto, at ang isang inhenyero sa kanyang mga disenyo. Malibang maparangalan ang kahusayan ng mga nilikha, hindi rin mabibigyang-pagkilala ang kahusayan ng lumikha. Tuwing pinupuri natin ang anumang mabuti sa tao, pinupuri natin ang pinagmulan ng kanyang mabubuting katangian. Nagiging inspirasyon din natin ang mga katangiang nakikita natin sa iba dahil ang mga iyon ay lalong nagbibigay-patunay sa isip at puso natin na ang kahusayan at pagiging mabuti ay talagang posible sa kabila ng lahat. Sa mga sulat sa mga Hebreo ay sinasabi, “Alalahanin ninyo ang mga dating namumuno sa inyo, ang mga nagpahayag sa inyo ng salita ng Diyos. Isipin ninyo kung paano sila namuhay, at tularan ninyo ang kanilang pananampalataya sa Diyos” (13:7). Ang tinutukoy dito ay ang mga myembro ng Simbahan na nauna sa atin na makakilala kay Cristo at nauna na rin sa pakikipagtagpo sa Diyos nang harapan. Dapat laging alalahanin at isaalang-alang ang kanilang mabubuting katangian dahil natapos na nila ang paligsahan at tinanggap na nila ang korona. Nararapat lang na ang buhay nila at mabubuting halimbawa ay ipagdiwang. Ang pagpaparangal sa kanila ay pagpaparangal kay Cristo, kung kaninong katawan sila ay mga bahagi.

Kung pagninilayang mabuti, ang dahilan ng pagbaba ng Diyos ay para maitaas ang tao. Ang Anak ng Diyos ay may likas nang dangal at luwalhati kahit sa umpisa pa lang. Wala siyang kailangang patunayan. Hindi rin kailangang ibalik sa kanya ang mga ito dahil wala naman makakakuha sa kanya nito. Sa kabilang banda, “ang Anak ng Tao’y dapat magdanas ng matinding hirap” (Lucas 9:22) para patunayang karapat-dapat siya sa karangalan at kapangyarihang ipagkakaloob sa kanya. Ang pagiging Panginoon ni Jesus habang nasa sinapupunan ni Maria (Lucas 1:43) ay nakaugnay sa kanyang kalikasang Diyos habang ang pagiging Panginoon niya sa muling pagkabuhay ay nakaugnay sa kanyang tagumpay bilang Anak ng Tao. Ang karangalang kinikilala natin sa kanya ay hindi na lang dahil siya ang Anak ng Diyos kundi dahil bagamat nasa laman, nagawa niyang lampasan ang mga kahinaang hindi natin napagtagumpayan. Siya ang kampyon ng mga anak ng tao. Siya ang nagligtas sa ating kalikasan at nagbigay-karangalan sa ating uri. Nararapat lang na tanggapin niya ang pangalang higit sa lahat ng pangalan at kilalanin siya bilang Panginoon. Bagamat sinasamba natin siya bilang Anak ng Diyos, ang pagluhod at pagpupuri sa kanya ng lahat ng nasa langit, nasa lupa, at nasa ilalim ng lupa ay dahil sa kanyang tagumpay bilang Anak ng Tao. Sa ganitong paraan iniligtas at itinaas ng Diyos ang ating pagkatao, at ang kapurihan natin ang dito ay binibigyan niya ng diin. Kaya habang dumarami ang mga banal na kinikilala ng madla, lalong natutupad ang kalooban ng Diyos.

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Holy Saturday

March 26, 2016 at 7:00 pm (Reflections)

Tonight, the Church proclaims in singing the true meaning of the Passover. She rejoices in the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection, which freed us from the slavery of sin and death. This is the night that made it possible for us to enjoy life on earth and to reign with God in heaven. By dying, Christ destroyed our death, and by rising, He restored our life.

If only we understand the great gift that we are receiving tonight, we would want to stay awake, forgetting everything, and meditating on God’s wisdom and love, which He showed in his plan of salvation. God’s mind is not as simplistic as others might assume. Even before the foundation of the world — man have not yet committed the ancient fault — God already knew how He would save him.

God is love and, as Pope Francis said, Mercy is His name. His justice would not allow anything evil to go unpunished, but His love for man would also not allow Him to just let man be destroyed by sin. If this redemption would require God to be a man, so be it. Thus, the God-Man Jesus. He became part of Adam in order to accept the punishment for Adam. The Eternal One experienced death, the Author of the universal law was considered a criminal, the Source of life was murdered. Satan must have been celebrating when he saw Christ on the cross — dead. No one but God knew what was to happen next. Then, with glory, Jesus Christ rose from the dead, proclaiming victory against death, sin, and hell. With all authority and truth, He said, “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33), which means everything. Christ now is the Lord of all, the Master of all worlds. He did not use any supernatural power to avoid suffering, pain, and death; He experienced them all as human, maybe even with the physical sensitivity of a newborn, because His body was especially made for the purpose of suffering (read Hebrews 5:10); of going through hell for us. In fact, in the Gospel, it is said that while on the mount of Olives, an angel appeared to Jesus and strengthened Him (Luke 22:43), not to lessen his suffering but rather to enable Him to suffer more.

Jesus Christ is the Man. He was the only one who reached the unreachable star. And because of His courageous and life-giving love, He gave birth to us. We became children of God through Christ. Heaven is now open for us. We are no longer enemies of God. Death became a toothless wolf, a powerless monster. Instead of destroying us, pains and sufferings only help us become more Christ-like, perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect. With Christ, risen from the dead, we overcome the world.

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Good Friday

March 25, 2016 at 10:39 pm (Commentary)

Three o’clock in the first Good Friday afternoon, the creatures destroyed the Creator, the author of life died, but that is in order to overcome death once and for all.

Today, in a special way, we commemorate and hope to experience the reality of this mystery. God love humanity so much that in order to save man, He, in the Person of the Son, assumed humanity for himself so that he may bear in his body and in his spirit the punishment for man’s sin. That is something we would not be able to grasp and appreciate fully until we see God face to face.

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Maundy Thursday

March 24, 2016 at 4:49 pm (Commentary)

It was on the first Maundy Thursday, the day before Christ died on the cross, that Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Holy Order (ministerial priesthood) and the Sacrament of the Eucharist. On that day, Christ gave, in the form of bread and wine, his real flesh to eat and his real blood to drink. He did not do this without first making it clear to his disciples that he is the true bread from heaven, declaring solemnly that “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:53-54).

In that institution, Jesus replaced the Passover bread with the True Bread and the Passover lamb with the Lamb of God, who is not to be sacrificed daily or yearly but has rather been offered to the Father, eternally, at the Altar of the Cross.

Before the introduction of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Jews have been worshiping God in the Temple by offering two lambs every day, morning and evening, and by offering the Paschal Lamb on the eve of Passover every year. When Christ came, he said, “The hour is coming in which neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father” (John 4:21). Jesus was referring to the fulfillment of Malachi’s words through whom the Lord says, “From the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations” (Malachi 1:11). There is no pure offering in the sight of God than that of Christ himself, and the only way to do it in every place on earth, from the rising of the sun to its setting, is through the Sacrament of the Eucharist where the eternal Sacrifice is being brought in time and in space.

This is a mystery that we will continually appreciate, meditate on, and benefit from, until we reach heaven.

 

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