Month: March 2015

“Iniibig Ko kayo”

Pagninilay sa Linggo ng Palaspas—Taon B
29 Marso 2015

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Ang Domingo de Ramos o Linggo ng Palaspas ay hudyat ng pagpasok ng mga “Mahal na Araw.” At tunay ngang mahal ang mga araw na ito sapagkat ang Diyos mismo ang nagpakasakit at nag-alay ng buhay para tubusin tayo sa kasalanan. Likhang sining ni Br. Paul Dungca, SDB

 

Ang Domingo de Ramos o Linggo ng Palaspas ay hudyat ng pagpasok ng mga “Mahal na Araw.”

At tunay ngang mahal ang mga araw na ito sapagkat ang Diyos mismo ang nagpakasakit at nag-alay ng buhay para tubusin tayo sa kasalanan.

Ngayong Linggo, gugunitain natin ang maringal na pagpasok ni Hesus sa Jerusalem kung saan, sinalubong siya ng mga taong naghihintay sa pagdating niya. Ganito ang tala ng Ebanghelyo ni San Marcos:

Maraming naglatag ng kanilang mga balabal sa daan; ang iba nama’y pumutol ng madahong sanga ng kahoy at siyang inilatag sa daan. Ang mga tao sa unahan at hulihan niya’y sumisigaw ng: “Hosanna! Pagpalain ang dumarating sa pangalan ng Panginoon! (Mc 11:8-9)

Ngunit nakakalungkot na ang mga taong mainit na sumalubong sa ating Panginoon ay sila ding makailang beses na sisigaw ng “Ipako Siya sa krus!(Mc 15:13, 14).

Sa kawalang katarungang paglilitis na iginawad kay Hesus—at sa madugong kabanatang sinapit Niya sa kamay ng kanyang mga taga-usig bunga nito—tunay ngang magdadalawang-isip tayong tawagin itong “mabuting balita.”

Ngunit kapag nakakarinig tayo ng isang taong dumanas ng pasakit alang-alang sa ika-giginhawa ng buhay ng iba (tulad ng isang inang namasukan bilang katulong sa ibang bansa upang mabigyan ng magandang kinabukasan ang kanyang mga anak, o di kaya, anak na nagtitiyagang mag-alaga sa kanyang amang may kapansanan), mabuti ito sa ating pakiwari; walang dudang maganda ang balita ito!

Mistulang ganito rin ang inilalarawan ni Propeta Isaias sa unang pagbasa (Isa 50:4-7). Kinailangang dumanas ng pasakit ang Lingkod ng Panginoon—Hindi siya tumutol nang siya’y bugbugin, ni kumibo nang siya’y insultuhin—alang-alang sa kaligtasan ng higit na nakararami (Isa 53:4-6, 12).

Ganito rin ang inilalarawan ni San Pablo sa ikalawang pagbasa:

Hinubad ng Diyos ang lahat ng katangian ng pagka-Diyos, nagkatawang tao at namuhay na isang alipin. Nang maging tao, siya’y nagpakababa at naging masunurin hanggang kamatayan, oo, hanggang kamatayan sa krus. (Fil 2:6-11)

Sa Ebanghelyo, muli nating gugunitain ang huling linggo ni Hesus (Mc 15:1-39). Kung susuriin, maraming mga tauhan sa salaysay: ang mga sundalo, ang kapitan, mga saserdote, mga kababaihan, si Pilato, ngunit pagdating ng pagpapako sa krus, si Hesus na lamang ang matitira.

Wala ni isa man sa Kanyang mga pinagaling ang dumating upang tulungang Siya. Isa-isa na ring nag-alisan ang maraming taong humusga sa Kanyang mamatay sa krus. Maging ang kanyang mga apostoles ay wala na sa eksena.

Maiiwan si Hesus na nag-iisang nakabayubay sa Krus; at dito, unti-unti Siyang mawawalan ng hiningang nag-iisa.

Ngunit marahil, sa kabiguan, masusumpungan natin ang kadakilaan ng Panginoon.

Nang Siya ay malagutan nang hininga, dito lamang napagtanto ng kapitan na “Tunay ngang Anak ng Diyos ang taong ito!”

Ang kabiguang ito ang ginamit na instrumento ng Diyos upang mainam Niyang maihatid ang Kanyang mensahe: Iniibig Ko kayo.

Madaling sabihin ang katagang “iniibig kita.” Marahil alam ito ng Diyos. Kung kaya’t isinaad Niya ito sa pinakamahal na paraan, ang pagpapakumbaba na humantong sa pag-aalay ng Kanyang mismong buhay.

At sa ginawa Niyang ito, pinatunayan Niyang may halaga ang bawat buhay natin.

… Maging ng mga taong kinamumuhian natin.

… Maski ng mga taong nanunungkulan sa pamahalaang umaani ng batikos sa nakararami.

… Pati na rin ang mga taong hindi natin mapatawad dahil paulit-ulit nila tayong sinasaktan.

… Maski sa atin mismo na nawawalan na ng pag-asang mabuhay.

Sa darating na mga mahal na araw, nawa’y pagsumikapan nating tumbasan ang buhay na Kanyang inialay. Hindi naman kailangang magpapako din tayo sa krus.

Ngunit marahil, ang tanging pagsusumikap natin ay sapat na.

Pedro Calungsod

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Let this example of this young martyred catechist, St. Pedro Calungsod embolden each of us to walk our talk, to give courage to what we believe in. Graphics by Mark Anthony Ramos.

We immortalize today St. Pedro Calungsod, not only because he offered his life for his faith, but also because, and more importantly, he walked his talk: He lived his life according to how he preached to others.

Pedro was believed to be only 17 years old when he met his martyrdom. He was a catechist who accompanied the Jesuits in their effort to evangelize the people of Guam. He was speared when an angry father learned that Fr. Diego, the priest whom St. Pedro assisted, baptized his child. Records had shown that he violently hurled spears first at Pedro. Those who witnessed the event recounted how the young man avoided the darting spears with such remarkable skill. They even added that the agile young man had all the chances to escape, but he refused to leave Padre Diego alone.

Finally, a spear hit Pedro at the chest and he fell to the ground. Someone finished him off with a dagger by thrusting on the head of the young man. Padre Diego could not do anything except to raise a crucifix and give Pedro the final sacramental absolution.

In that terrifying moment, Pedro’s human life ended. But we know that even after 400 years since that fateful incident took place, he continues to live on.

Pedro was a catechist who must have taught countless young people how to pray, and how to live a beautiful life to honor the God Who was loved us first, and Who has loved us unconditionally.

With that single incident, he did not just teach by his word. That heroic act put concrete flesh to what he taught. He walked his talk: He lived his life according to how he preached to others.

Death for martyrs usually comes in an instant. And how beautiful and incredible and spectacular that moment is! But his generous offering must have been prepared way before that. His desire to love the Lord up until the very end was nurtured by the sacraments, enriched by his intimate encounter with the Lord, marked by little heroic acts of kindness and generosity and selfless sacrifices.

But that single heroic act of martyrdom came so swiftly because he was prepared for that moment. He died following the principle by which he lived. He walked his talk: He lived his life according to how he preached to others.

The best way to honor this young man, this saint-martyr, is to imitate his heroism. We cannot be a hero if we are not up to the challenge. And the challenge comes in our very own context, in the ordinariness of our very lives: The capacity to repeatedly say no to little temptations, the constant courage to embrace the little inconveniences that come our way, the passion to offer every difficulty for God’s greater glory, these all bring us to the path which young Pedro threaded.

When Pope Francis visited our country, he challenged us to become evangelizers to our Asian counterparts. Our country is but a tiny speck of Christianity in the biggest continent of the world. But the flicker, the little light our Christian life brings is more than enough to light up the entire Asian continent who still needs to be introduced to the Good News.

Let this example of this young martyred catechist, St. Pedro Calungsod embolden each of us to walk our talk, to give courage to what we believe in.

Final Exams in Homiletics

Like most educational institutions in the Philippines, Don Bosco Center of Studies (DBCS) is wrapping up the school year. Here, majority of the schools mark the beginning of the school calendar in June and end in March. This week saw its Institute of Theological Formation students, composed mostly of seminarians from various religious congregations of various nationalities, hurdling up their final exams.

DBCS may be any other school which dishes out final examinations in both oral and written forms, but since it takes care of forming future priests, one type examination is noteworthy to mention. This examination is specific to a subject called Homiletics. In this subject, seminarians learn the art and science of giving homilies.

And precisely the final examination in this subject comes through preaching homilies.

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The class brings an end to a semester of learning how to give birth to the fundamental message (the class calls it ‘the pearl’) after synthesizing the Biblical readings of a particular liturgical celebration—and even meditating on the prayers proper of the priest-celebrant (that is, the opening prayer and the preface).

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Under the guidance of the professor, Fr. Vic Cervania, SDB, the class has learned to appreciate where Pope Francis is coming from in terms of his emphasis in the quality of homilies prepared and delivered by priests.

Fr. Vic has emphasized that writing homilies is not just about pushing an idea forward, but also must inspire the people to pray. This is only possible if preachers themselves pray.

A month ago, the seminarians drew which liturgical celebration they would prepare homilies for. The past three meetings were spent hearing the seminarians deliver their respective homilies before the class. Two seminarians join Fr. Vic in assessing the quality of the homily of the ‘preacher.’ After which, the class contributes additional positive points—and even points for improvement—on how the seminarian delivered his homily.

Fr. Vic also gave relevant comments: from the proper handling of the microphone to further improving the structure of the homilies.

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To carry out their final examinations, the actual preaching was held in the school chapel and the ambiance of a typical Sunday congregation was simulated. Fr. Vic gave strict instructions to the class to help the ‘preacher’ by preventing distractions.

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Pope Francis has emphasized the importance of homilies. In his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, he writes: “The homily is the touchstone for judging a pastor’s closeness and ability to communicate to his people. We know that the faithful attach great importance to it, and that both they and their ordained ministers suffer because of homilies: the laity from having to listen to them and the clergy from having to preach them! It is sad that this is the case” (art. 135).

This course is definitely of help to our priests in the making.

24th of the month!

The year 2015 is significant for the Salesian Family since it marks St. John Bosco’s 200th year of birth.

As a fitting gift for Don Bosco, the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians in Parañaque City, Philippines is at the forefront in propagating the devotion to the Marian title Don Bosco asked his children to invoke not just to see what miracles are, but also and more importantly, to express filial devotion to the Lady whom he considered teacher, guide and mother.

This is especially true this year when we also celebrate the 200th year since the feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians, which is observed annually every May 24 was instituted by Pope Pius VII.

Today being the 24th of the month, the Shrine held the commemoration Mass in honor of Mary Help of Christians (MHC) where it welcomed increasing number of MHC devotees. Toward the end of the Mass, Fr. Nesty Impelido, SDB, the main celebrant, together with Salesian priests from the nearby Seminaryo ng Don Bosco and Don Bosco Center of Studies prayed to invoke her blessing.

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Fr. Nesty delivers the homily.

Innovations

Under his new rectorship of the MHC National Shrine, Fr. Remo Bati, SDB has introduced new practices which have been significant in the rapid growth of the devotees.

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For one, just before the Mass, they burn petition letters written and dropped in the box located at the Pilgrim Center. This is symbolic to invoke the prayer of MHC to intercede us to her Son.

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Fr. Remo burns a letter-petition, invoking Mary’s intercession.

There is also a short procession of the image of MHC while the rosary is simultaneously recited. At its conclusion, devotees offer flowers to MHC. This also signals the beginning of the Mass.

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Fr. Remo leads the procession. Rosary is prayed simultaneously.

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A devotee offers some flowers to the Blessed Mother. 

At 7 AM, a healing Mass or healing prayer is held for the faithful. Fr. Remo has acknowledged two miracles he attributes to the intercession of MHC: One involved a man who experienced a stone being released from him while he was urinating; another involved someone who came to the Shrine using crutches since he had problems with gout, but immediately walked comfortably right after the healing Mass.

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Sr. Mary Edna, a Franciscan sister, heard someone calling her name. It was the Blessed Mother!

This evening, a Francsican sister, Sr. Mary Edna, shared her experience how MHC has been instrumental in her healing and in using her to promote the devotion to the Blessed Mother.

Plans

Fr. Remo also mentioned that the preparation for the annual feast of MHC on May 24 is on its full swing.

Among other things, he looks forward to publishing a coffee-table book in honor of MHC this year. This will include some 32 parishes and chapels which are named after MHC.

Last February 24, Fr. Anthony Paul Bicomong, SDB, FIN Provincial blessed the life-sized statue of MHC which has been an instant hit among the pilgrims, especially among the young people, since they get to post their photo with the Blessed Mother in their social media accounts.

Cross my Heart

Ika-5 Linggo ng Kwaresma—Taon
22 Marso 2015

At ang hamon sa atin ay ganito:  Dapat sumunod sa akin ang naglilingkod sa akin, at saan man ako naroroon ay naroon din ang aking lingkod. Likhang sining ni Mark Anthony Ramos. Imahe mula sa The Passion of The Christ.

At ang hamon sa atin ay ganito: Dapat sumunod sa akin ang naglilingkod sa akin, at saan man ako naroroon ay naroon din ang aking lingkod. Likhang sining ni Mark Anthony Ramos. Imahe mula sa The Passion of The Christ.

Sa unang pagbasa ngayong Linggo  (Jer 31:31-34), inilahad ni Propeta Jeremias na kahit na sumira ang Kanyang bayan sa kanyang kasunduan sa Diyos, patuloy na nagtiyaga ang Panginoon para sa kanila. At upang mapanibago ang tipanan ng Diyos at ng Kanyang bayan, ang kautusang minsan nang inukit sa bato, ay sa bawat puso na natin iuuukit.

Punong puno ng emosyon ang paglalahad na ito … Sa lenggwahe ng mga kabataan ngayon, maraming “hugot.”

Masasalamin dito ang matinding paninibugho ng Panginoon dahil sa katigasan ng ulo ng mga tao. Ngunit sa kabila nito, hindi maiiwasang mapansin ang hindi maubos-ubos na pag-ibig ng Ama para sa sangkatauhan,  Patatawarin ko sila sa kanilang maling gawain at hindi ko na gugunitain pa ang kanilang kasalanan.

 Ganito rin ang mensahe ng ating Panginoon sa ating Ebanghelyo ngayong Linggo (Jn 12:20-33). Dumating na ang oras upang parangalan ang Anak ng Tao, ito ang tinuran ng ating Panginoon.

Paano nga ba parangalan ng magulang ang kanyang anak? Hindi ba’t maghahanda siya para dito, mag-iimbita ng maraming panauhin upang saluhan sila sa handaang ito. O ‘di kaya naman, ibibili niya ito ng bagay na sa tingin niya ay tunay nitong maiibigan.

Ngunit ibang mag-isip ang Ama. Ito ang Kanyang ideya ng pagpaparangal sa Kanyang Anak: Dadakpin, dudutsain sa gitna ng maraming tao, duduraan, huhubaran, mumurahin, lalatiguhin, puputungan ng koronang tinik, magbubuhat ng krus, ipapako dito, at ang proseso ng Kanyang kamatayan ay masasaksihan ng nakararami, ngunit iilan lamang sa kanila ang magdadalamhati sa Kanyang pagyao.

Pagdating ng ‘oras,’ kailangan ni Hesus na magbata ng matinding pasakit upang maluwalhati ang Ama: ito ang pagpaparangal ng Ama sa Kanyang nag-iisang Anak alang-alang sa bawat isa sa atin.

Ngunit alam ng Panginoon na sa pamamagitan ng Kanyang kamatayan, magkakaroon ng buhay ang higit na mas nakararami: Malibang mahulog sa lupa ang butil ng trigo at mamatay, mananatili itong nagiisa. Ngunit kung mamatay, ito’y mamumunga nang marami.

At kahit na napakahirap ng Kanyang pagdaraanan, alam Niyang hindi masasayang ang Kanyang buhay.

Ganito rin ang diwa ng ating ikawalang pagbasa (Ikalawang Pagbasa Heb 5:7-9). Nais ng may akda ng liham na ito na ipaalala sa atin na ang ating kaligtasan ay bunga ng panalangin, pagpapakasakit, at pagsunod ni Kristo hanggang kamatayan, Bagamat siya’y Anak ng Diyos, natutuhan niya ang tunay na kahulugan ng pagsunod sa pamamagitan ng pagtitiis. Mayroon tayong buhay ngayon dahil minsan Siyang namatay para sa atin.

At ang hamon sa atin ay ganito:  Dapat sumunod sa akin ang naglilingkod sa akin, at saan man ako naroroon ay naroon din ang aking lingkod.

Noong tayo ay bininyagan, naging Kristiyano tayo—naging taga-sunod tayo ni Kristo. Sana, hindi lang ito nakasulat sa ating baptismal certificate o kaya naman ay ipinapahayag lamang natin tuwing araw ng Linggo, dahil ang pagsunod kay Kristo ay 24/7.

Hindi naman kailangang magpapako din tayo sa krus.

Ang kabayanihang hinihingi sa atin ay iba sa Kanyang pagpapakita nito. Ang pagsubok na magpapadalisay ng ating kabanalan ay hindi darating sa pamamagitan ng hirap na dinanas Niya, ngunit sa pang-araw araw na sitwasyon ng buhay natin: Susubukin ang ating pananampalataya sa pamamagitan ng kakayahan nating paglabanan ang maliliit na tuksong dumarating sa atin, sa pagtanggap natin sa mga bagay o taoo sitwasyong hindi tayo komportable, ang kakayahan nating isuko ang ating paghihirap para sa higit na ikakadakila ng Panginoon. Lahat nang ito ay magdadala sa atin sa daang tinahak ng ating Panginoon.

Nang bumisita ang Santo Papa sa bansa, hinamon niya tayong maging tagapaghatid ng Ebanghelyo sa ating mga kapwa Asyano. Kung tutuusin, ang ating bansa ay isang napakaliit na bansang Kristiyano sa pinakamalaking kontinente sa buong mundong hindi pa nakakakilala kay Kristo. Ngunit ang kislap ng ating buhay Kristiyano ay sapat na upang mapag-siklab natin ang buong Asya upang tanggapin ang ating Panginoon.

Ngunit magiging posible lamang ito kung tunay nating tinanggap sa ating mga puso.

Jesus’ Foster Father

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And his reward? A rare privilege to have lived with two individuals who have not been touched by the dirt of sin And how these two have influenced him to become more attuned to Gods bidding! Artwork by Mark Anthony Ramos

This years Oscars best actor award went to Eddie Redmayne for the movie “The Theory of Everything.” Here, he delivered a riveting performance as Stephen Hawking, one of the most celebrated physicist of our time.

His brilliance is fostered by co-actors whom he shared the scenes with. This is most true in Felicity Jones portrayal of Jane Wilde, Hawkings wife.  She beautifully played her role wellmost of the time in the backgroundenabling Redmayne to shine so well in his characterization of a wheelchair-bound Hawking.

The saint we honor today played exactly just that. In fact, he only appears in three out of four gospels. The scriptwriter who penned his life did not even give him a speaking line.

But St. Joseph, like a line from a song, said it best when he said nothing at all.

It is true that the Blessed Mother carried Jesus in her womb, but following the logic of the Jewish culturewhere fathers get to pick names for their childrenJoseph must have been the one who gave Jesus His name. 

Since Joseph was a carpenter, many theorized that Jesus was himself a carpenter, too. For in the Jewish context, fathers gave their sons professional educationgiving credence to an often quoted rabbinic adage He who does not teach his son a useful trade is bringing him up to be a thief. The trades were usually passed on to their sons, and the skills were handed down in the family workshop.

But what is most true in Jewish tradition is that the fathers were to teach the truths of their religion to their sons. The fathers taught the Law to their young sons as early as three years of age which finds its basis from the Mosaic Law. This is considered one of their most sacred obligations to their children.

In the Gospel proclaimed today (Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24a), one quality outstanding with him is his righteousness. Upon knowing that Mary is pregnant, he willed to divorce her silently to prevent her from being shamed. This he thought of doing even before an angel comes to explain what has happened to Mary.

Just like any decent man, he must have dreamt big dreams, too, for his future family. But upon being apprised by the angel that the Lord has other plans, different from his, Joseph heeded, silently played his part in the background.

And his reward? A rare privilege to have lived with two individuals who have not been touched by the dirt of sin  And how these two have influenced him to become more attuned to Gods bidding!

The Church raises him to the dignity of such that the whole universal church is entrusted to his protection.

Shakespeare wrote that All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.

St. Joseph was able to play his part remarkably well because he listened and obeyed the director.

Let us do likewise.    

Walang hanggang Pag-ibig

Ika-4 Linggo ng Kwaresma—Taon
15 Marso 2015

Sukdulan ang pag-ibig ng Ama? Walang makahihigit pa dito. Likhang sining ni Mark Anthony Ramos.

Sukdulan ang pag-ibig ng Ama? Walang makahihigit pa dito. Likhang sining ni Mark Anthony Ramos.

Sa nobela ni J.K. Rowling na Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone, nais maintindihan ng batang si Harry kung paano siya nabuhay sa kabila ng tinamo niyang nakamamatay na sumpa mula kay Voldemort. Sa halip, isang peklat na hugis kidlat lamang ang naiwan sa kanyang noo bilang palatandaan ng pagsalakay ng huli.

Ang kanyang gurong si Dumdledore ang nagpaliwanag sa kanya kung paano ito nangyari: Ang mga magulang ni Harry ang nagligtas sa kanya; ngunit ang kabayaran nito ay ang kanilang buhay.

Ang kuwento ni Harry Potter ay isang kathang-isip lamang. Alam nating hindi ito totoo, at malamang, hindi maaaring mangyari ito. Ngunit, alam din nating minsan isang panahon, isang Ama ang nagnais na iligtas ang sangkatauhan sa kasalanan—at ang kabayaran nito’y ang buhay ng nag-iisa Niyang Anak.

Ito ang Mabuting Balitang  (Juan 3:14-21) mapapakinggan natin sa ating liturhiya ngayong ika-4 na Linggo sa ating paghahanda para sa ating pagsalubong sa Muling Pagkabuhay ng ating Panginoon.

Ang Pag-ibig ng Ama

Kapag may ispesyal na okasyon ang  mga mahal natin sa buhay, maghahanap tayo ng regalong pwede nating ibigay dito. Susuungin natin ang traffic, mag-aaksaya ng gasolina, mag-uubos ng oras kakapili, tapos, mag-lalaan ng ilang daang piso—o libo—kung galante para mapaligaya natin ito.

Ngunit  ibang umibig ang Diyos. Binibigay Niya, hindi lamang mula sa kung anong sobra mayroon Siya, ngunit mula sa puso Niyang punong puno ng pagmamahal para sa ating lahat. Ipinagkaloob Niya ang Kanyang sarili bilang patunay ng Kanyang pagmamahal Niya sa atin.

Malamang, ilang beses na rin nating narinig o nabasa ang linyang ito mula sa ating Mabuting Balita ngayong Linggo:

Gayun na lamang ang pagmamahal ng Diyos sa atin
kung kaya’t ibinigay Niya ang Kanyang tanging Anak
upang kung sino man ang sumampalataya dito
ay magkakaroon ng buhay na walang hanggan.
– Juan 3:16

Pinapaalala sa atin nitong may isang Amang nag-alay ng Kanyang Anak upang mailigtas tayong lahat sa kasalanan. Si Hesus ay isinugo hindi lamang para sa iilan, ngunit para sa bawat isa sa ating nangangailangan ng kaligtasan, samakatuwid, sa ating lahat na nananangis na makasumpong ng pag-ibig Niya.

Ganito rin ang karanasan ng Bayan ng Israel sa ating unang pagbasa ngayong Linggo (2 Cro 36:14- 16.19-23). Naging malaganap ang pagkalat ng kasamaan sa buong bayan. Maririnig nating pati ang Templo ng Jerusalam ay kanilang itatakwil.

Ipinatapon ang bayang Israel sa Babilonya, at sa loob ng 70 na taon mananatili sila dito. Maaaring pagdudahan natin kung tunay nga ba ang pag-ibig ng Diyos sa Kanyang bayang Israel. Paano Niya natiis na magdusa ang Kanyang bayan sa loob ng maraming taon? Sukdulan nga bang talaga ang pag-ibig ng Diyos?

Sabi ni Pope Benedict XVI, ang tunay na diwa ng pag ibig ng Diyos ay hindi palagiang nagpapamudmod, o di kaya ay malamya, o nag-babait-baitan lang. Kung ganito ang tingin natin sa Diyos, wala itong pinag-kaiba sa isang Hesus na binalot sa asukal at hindi kailanman humihindi sa anumang hilingin natin. Ngunit dahil tunay tayong mahal ng Diyos, nais Niyang magpunyagi tayo sa katotohanan. Ang pag-ibig Niya ay patuloy na humahamon at nagtutuwid sa kabaluktutan natin.

Sa ikawalang pagbasa  (Ef 2:4-10), hindi magkandatuto si San Pablo sa paglalarawan ng pag-ibig ng Diyos: masagana, di-masukat, napakadakila. Napakasagana ng habag ng Diyos at napakadakila ang pag-ibig na iniukol niya sa atin.

Sa isang mundong dumadakila sa kapangyarihan at kayamanan–at nagbibigay ng higit na pansin sa kung ano ang makukuha natin kumpara sa ating maibibigay–ang halimbawa ng Diyos ng pagpapakita ng walang hanggang pag-big Niya para sa bawat isa sa atin ay patuloy na humamon sa ating magmahal ng walang sukat at umibig ng sukdulan.

Ang Kanyang pag-ibig para sa sangkatauhan ay sukdulan, sa kabila ng pagiging makasalanan nito–at higit na makapangyarihan sa imahinasyon ng tao at maging sa sumpa ng kamatayan.

Sa ating paglalakbay sa panahong ito ng kwaresma, nawa’y higit nating maunawaan ang Kanyang pag-ibig, at kung hindi man, nawa’y maging instrumento man lang tayo nito.