Thursday, August 28, 2014

CBCP President on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

THE ‘ice-bucket challenge’ seems to be the most recent rave with national personalities joining in. Throughout the world, and now, even in the Philippines, people recognize the nobility of the cause: research on the dreaded Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), more popularly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
The anchor Matt Lauer participated in the "ice bucket challenge".

Act of Compassion not a Fad

Mitch Albom poignantly chronicled the deterioration of one stricken with the disease in his very popular book “Tuesdays with Morrie”. Those from older generations may recall how Lou Gehrig bade the world of baseball — and the world — a moving farewell after having been diagnosed with the disease. It is therefore disturbing, to say the least, that some have trivialized the ‘ice-bucket challenge’ by making of the act of dousing oneself with iced water a fad, rather than a gesture of solidarity with all who suffer from the disease and with those who do research on its alleviation.

Embryonic Stem Cell Research?

There have been disturbing reports, however, that ALS research involves the use of stem-cells, and this is not surprising. ALS is a degenerative disorder and stem-cells apparently hold out the promise of reversing the death and degeneration of brain cells, in particular. Stem-cells however are most readily harvested from embryos, and it is in this regard that this type of research is ethically problematic.

On February 22, 1987, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued an “Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation.” In respect to experimentation on embryos, the Instruction teaches: “No objective, even though noble in itself such as a foreseeable advantage to science, to other human beings, or to society, can in any way justify experimentation on living human embryos or fetuses…To use human embryos or fetuses as the object or instrument of experimentation constitutes a crime against their dignity as human beings having a right to the same respect that is due to the child already born and to every human person.”

It is therefore even more condemnable when embryos are destroyed so that their pluripotent stem cells may be harvested for research for even therapeutic purposes.

It is no better when embryos are the result of ‘in vitro’ fertilization, developed purposely as a source of stem cells. The same Instruction reiterates Catholic teaching in bioethics: “Human embryos obtained in vitro are human beings and subjects with rights. Their dignity and right to life must be respected from the first moment of their existence. It is immoral to produce human embryos destined to be exploited as disposable ‘biological material’”.

ALS Association and Stem Cell Research

A statement issued by the ALS Association on stem cell research contains this declaration: “Most stem-cell research in ALS is currently focused on iPS cells, which are not burdened with ethical issues.” We are told that iPS cells are “induced pluripotent stem cells”, stem cells created from skin cells. Such cells would indeed be pluripotent, but would not be embryonic cells. As such, the ethical objection to the use of embryonic cells, whether harvested from embryos, or obtained through in vitro fertilization, would not arise. What is troubling, however, is that the very same ALS statement, in admitting that iPS cells are used in “most stem-cell research” leaves open the possibility that stem cells from objectionable sources are still used!

We are not prepared to say that the ALS Association, that has promoted the ice-bucket challenge, and all those involved in ALS research are engaged in the unethical practice of using embryonic cells. The importance of ALS research cannot be overstated. Research must proceed, for so many suffer. Human intelligence and skill must conquer this dreadful malady, because it is for this purpose that we have been given dominion over the earth as its stewards. But we must also guide the Catholic faithful, and all who heed the ethical teaching of the Church.

Pastoral Ethical Guideline

As a pastoral guideline, we therefore urge those participating in the ice-bucket challenge and making donations to ALS research to make a clear and unequivocal declaration that their donation is made on condition that none of it is to be applied to research that involves the use of embryonic stem cells, in vivo or in vitro.

Catholics who participate in the challenge and who make donations to this research must also demand of fund-raisers and organizers an assurance that none of the donations made will be applied to researches that are ethically reproved.

As long as research on ALS as well as other debilitating conditions such as Parkinson’s Diseases and Alzheimer’s keep within the confines of the ethical demands of human dignity, they will be encouraged by the Church, and our Catholic faithful will be urged to support them with generosity and with charity for all who suffer.

August 27, 2014, Feast of Saint Monica

Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan
President, CBCP

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Pastoral Letter on the People’s Initiative to abolish the Pork Barrel System

A Pastoral Letter on the People’s Initiative to abolish the Pork Barrel System

To the Clergy, Religious, Seminarians and Laity of the Archdiocese of Cebu

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

“Our love is not to be just words or mere talk, but something real and active” (1 John 3:18).
The PORK BARREL is a LUMP SUM AMOUNT given to any branch or office of government, the SPECIFIC USE of which is left to the DISCRETION of ONLY ONE person, and his/her minions. This is known as the pork barrel SYSTEM. As a system, it is OPEN to corruption, and misuse for political patronage. The issue is AGAINST the PORK BARREL as a SYSTEM, wherever and in whatever form it might exist.

The Supreme Court has ruled the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the acts and practices in the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Yet, on closer examination, the proposed 2015 General Appropriations Act reveals PORK BARREL insertions. This makes it clear that those who benefit from the present Pork Barrel System will not let it go IN PRACTICE.

It is in this context that I support the move of the People’s Initiative to Abolish Pork Barrel (PIAP). Since most legislators are not willing to legislate to abolish ALL PORK BARREL as a SYSTEM, then, the time has come to use the remedy enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution. The sovereign people themselves have the legal and CONSTITUTIONAL power to craft a law that will truly express the will of the people.

On the 23rd of August 2014, Cebu will host a National People’s Congress that will approve the DRAFT LAW. Then, it would be presented to the people in Plaza Independencia for the start of the NATIONAL SIGNATURE CAMPAIGN, leading to a referendum. Once the required votes are in, the PEOPLE’S INITIATIVE becomes a LAW; not subject to veto by the President.

This is a historic project. I am endorsing the INVITATION to the National People’s Congress at the Cebu Mariners’ Court, on 23 August 2014, 8:00 a.m, to 3:00 p.m.

My strong desire is that the whole Archdiocese of Cebu becomes one in supporting this advocacy, which is also my own personal advocacy. Therefore, I invite the following to attend the above activity, so that our lay people, in this Year of the Laity, will see us in solidarity with them. The laity are the primary agents of political change.

I am inviting the following to the People’s Congress on August 23, 2014, 8:00 am to 3:00 p.m.:
1. Episcopal Vicars
2. Clergy representatives from each district and vicariate
3. Lay representatives from each district and vicariate.

I invite all the parishioners and all sectors of society, e.g. students, professionals, workers, farmers, fisherfolks, the urban and rural poor, out-of-school youth, government people and organizations, civic and people’s organizations, business people and others to join the start of the SIGNATURE CAMPAIGN on the same day at 2:30 p.m. at the Plaza Independencia.

I ask my Episcopal Vicars to facilitate the participation of our Archdiocesan representatives, as co-hosts. Please update me of the parishes’ participation and concrete activities in this advocacy for good governance and political reforms.

With my paternal blessings, I remain

Yours in Christ,

Archbishop of Cebu
August 11, 2014

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Beautiful Story of Love

A very poor man lived with his wife.

One day, his wife, who had very long hair asked him to buy her a comb for her hair to grow well and to be well-groomed.

The man felt very sorry and said no. He explained that he did not even have enough money to fix the strap of his watch he had just broken.

She did not insist on her request.

The man went to work and passed by a watch shop, sold his damaged watch at a low price and went to buy a comb for his wife.

He came home in the evening with the comb in his hand ready to give to his wife.

He was surprised when he saw his wife with a very short hair cut.

She had sold her hair and was holding a new watch band.

Tears flowed simultaneously from their eyes, not for the futility of their actions, but for the reciprocity of their love.

MORAL: To love is nothing, to be loved is something but to love and to be loved by the one you love,that is EVERYTHING. Never take love for granted.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Statement of the Asian Conference on the Family 2014


We, 551 participants, lay faithful, religious and clergy, coming from 14 Asian countries, 60 Philippine dioceses and 20 lay associations, gathered in Manila from 13 to 16 May 2014 to celebrate with exuberant joy the thirty years since the Charter of the Rights of the Family was promulgated.
With us was the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Bishop Jean Laffitte, as well as 28 bishops and some men and women of other faith traditions.

The Charter of Rights of the Family
The Charter manifests that nothing authentically human fails to find an echo in the heart of each believer (Gaudium et Spes, n. 1). It expresses what we hold to be the basic framework within which the human family—any human family, every human family—can form, flourish and fulfill its mission.

50 years since Vatican II
In the past 50 years, the world has been undergoing great changes in the economic, social, political, cultural and religious spheres. Affected by these changes is the most basic human institution, the family. In fact, the family itself has been the primary beneficiary and victim of these changes, which have become challenges to families all over the world.

Challenges and Threats
These challenges present themselves as threats to the very existence of the family itself. Abortion kills the very life without which no family can exist. Contraception and sterilization – and a contraceptive mentality which refuses to shoulder the responsibility of having children – threaten the procreative purpose of marriage and the family by attacking the very wellsprings of human life. The advocacy for same-sex marriages likewise attempts to reduce marriage to a sterile relationship between people of the same sex.

An amnesia of God and moral relativism
A consumeristic, materialistic and individualistic culture that suffers from an amnesia of God (Pope Benedict XVI) and is fed by a certain liberal and moral relativism has also threatened the family by breeding lifestyles harmful to family living. And so people live, motivated not so much by the cultivation of healthy human relationships but driven rather by the desire for money, pleasure and success. The outcome is a society where fidelity and commitment come in short supply and are subordinated to the accumulation of possessions and the achievement of personal ambitions; hence, the widespread phenomenon of divorce and marital infidelity.

Poverty breeds moral desolation
Looming large like a storm cloud whose waters can drown the family is the poverty that afflicts billions of people in our continent. This poverty has resulted in conditions which make moral living almost impossible, and has become a fertile field of temptations for impoverished families to surrender their own human dignity in order to meet the economic requirements of survival. Poverty is the fertile ground for pornography, cybercrimes, prostitution, human trafficking, slavery, and other practices that dehumanize and divide members of families. Poverty has also driven people to seek means of livelihood that separate husbands and wives from each other and from their children. Thus, poverty, the deprivation of the necessities for decent human living, has led to the destruction of families.

The ambiguity of affluence
If poverty is gravely harmful to the family, affluence also affects families destructively if it is not tempered by a sense of solidarity with others, especially the poor. Affluence, when enjoyed in a self-centered manner, can only result in the destruction of the lives of individuals and families through hedonism and extravagance.

Threats from other institutions
Compounding the threats to the family are governments and other social institutions that militate against life and the family through coercive measures that run counter to the rights of individuals, couples and families to flourish according to the natural law and the laws of the Church. This natural law we refer to is the participation of human beings in God’s eternal law, a participation inscribed in our very humanity and can be discovered by the light of reason aided by the grace of God. Governments that promote contraception, abortion, sterilization, coercive population control, divorce, same-sex marriages and euthanasia, destroy families which they are duty-bound to protect and foster.

A tsunami of evils
The result of all of these and other threats to family life is a tsunami of evils threatening to engulf families today, whether they be rich or poor.

The family is dear to the heart of God
But the present changes present not only threats but opportunities for families. We believe that the family is especially dear to the heart of God, for the family is the first social institution established by God to foster, defend and promote human life and human love. It is by way of the family, that the good of society, of humanity and of the Church herself passes (CRF, Preamble, K). Because it is so precious to God, it must also be most highly valued by us. Thank God, we in Asia do. Because the family is so valuable and because God wants the future of humanity to pass through the human family, we must safeguard, protect, foster and promote the family. We – each one of us, all of us – must individually and together do this for what is at stake is the future of humanity.

Therefore, we must continue to insist that:
– the family is based on marriage, that intimate union of life in complementarity between a man and a woman which is constituted in the freely contracted and publicly expressed indissoluble bond of matrimony and is open to the transmission of life;
– marriage is the natural institution to which the mission of transmitting life is exclusively entrusted;
– the family, a natural society, exists prior to the State or any other community, and possesses inherent rights which are inalienable (CRF, Preamble, B-D).
Because the family exists prior to the State, we should not allow the State to encroach upon the inherent and inalienable rights of families.

We urge respect for every human life
We urge respect for every human life from conception to natural death and echo the words of St. John Paul II, the saint of the family, who called upon the faithful in Asian countries “where the demographic question is often used as an argument for the need to introduce abortion and artificial population control programs, to resist ‘the culture of death’. They can show their fidelity to God and their commitment to true human promotion by supporting and participating in programs which defend the life of those who are powerless to defend themselves” (Ecclesia in Asia, n. 35).

The family and the destiny of nations
We should also ensure that the family remains “the place where different generations come together and help one another to grow in human wisdom and to harmonize the rights of individuals with other demands of social life” (CRF, Preamble, F). We should realize that our place in human history comes by way of our family.

The need for social equity
We commit ourselves and we urge our Asian societies to work for a more equitable sharing in the goods of this world so as to enable all families to have their rightful share in this world’s goods.

The family and the Church as sacrament
We in the Catholic Church have a special obligation to protect and promote the human family and the Christian family. For the Church is of its nature a sacrament of salvation which both signifies and effects the union of God with human beings and the union of human beings with each other (LG 1). Hence, what makes for the unity of human beings should be protected and fostered by the Church. The family is, of course, most necessary for the union of human beings with each other. But we in the Church should especially protect and foster the Christian family because it is the basic unit of the Church, the domestic Church, the Church in the home. As the Christian family goes, so goes the Church. If the Christian family is strong, the Church will be strong. If the Christian family is weak, the Church will be weak.

The Church protects the family
But it is also true that the Church is the most potent protector of the family. If the Church cannot protect the family, the family will be left without much protection. But if the Church is vigorous in protecting and fostering the family, the family will be protected and flourish.

Governments must protect the family
We urge governments to consider seriously the Charter on the Rights of the Family in the formulation of policies affecting the family. We pledge ourselves to encourage dialogue with our respective governments on matters affecting the family.

The witness of families…
During this assembly, we have heard and seen couples and young people witness how the Christian family has been a powerful transmitter of Gospel values, and of the Good News itself. Where Christ is accepted in faith and imitated in love, there also Christian values are protected and transmitted and the Christian family is strengthened.

…under the sign of the Cross
In this assembly, we wish to express our solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Asia and in other parts of the world who are prevented from expressing their faith in God by oppressive cultural systems and government policies.

With brothers and sisters of other faiths…
We have come to appreciate more through the sharing of our brothers and sisters who are of other faiths that they are also our allies in transmitting to our future generations the values of God and his Kingdom.

We choose life!
Today, we are challenged to choose between life and death for the human family. If we choose life and obey the law of God written in our hearts, we shall live (cf. Dt 30:19f). We in this assembly choose life for the family! We will pray and work for the protection, preservation, and flourishing of every human family.

Encouraged by one another, we are joyful missionaries!
Strengthened by the testimony of those who have given witness in this assembly, encouraged by our togetherness and sharing, and fortified by the Spirit of the Lord, we go forth in joy to make of the family and especially the Christian family Good News for the salvation of the world. We shall be joyful missionaries for the family, proclaiming the Gospel of life and love so as to be “a voice in public life” on behalf of freedom and justice that cannot be silenced by force (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, n. 74).

The Holy Family, the Family of Life
We ask the Holy Family of the Lord Jesus Christ – who is Life (Jn 14:6) – the Blessed Virgin Mary – Mother of Life (cf. Jn 19:26f; cf. Rev 12:1-6) – and St. Joseph – Guardian of Life (Mt 3:13-23) – to intercede for us in our prayer and work for the family to the praise and glory of the Blessed Trinity.

May 16, 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014

Flooding and the Sto. Niño de Tondo

Flooding and the Sto. Niño de Tondo 
by Ambeth Ocampo

Many people tried to recall the worst typhoon in living memory and the name “Yoling” always crops up. I remember Yoling packed more wind than rain. Unlike Ondoy which caused floodwaters to make cars float like toys, Yoling huffed and puffed, and blew flimsy houses down. Windows were broken, galvanized iron sheets and other objects were flying about in Yoling’s fury. Memory, however, creates its own fictions likewise blown away by a primary source.

Elvie Irremedio of the Lopez Museum was amazed when I turned up in the library one time to request newspaper clippings on Yoling. Under the museum are shelves upon shelves of Manila envelopes stuffed with clippings from the pre-martial law newspapers: Manila Times, Taliba, Daily Mirror. Since Elvie is old enough to be my grandmother, I asked what year Yoling passed through the Philippines and her eyes brightened as she declared, 1968!

We searched under Typhoons 1968. Yoling was not to be found there. I asked for Typhoons 1972 to verify a persistent urban legend regarding rains that lasted a biblical 40 days and 40 nights. This great flood reminiscent of Noah’s was attributed to the theft of the image of the Santo Niño de Tondo in 1972. If we are to believe legend, the persistent rain ceased when the Santo Niño was returned to Tondo in procession led by former first lady Imelda Marcos.

Inside a slim envelope labeled ‘Tondo - Crime’ were detailed reports on mayhem, and murder. No theft of Sto. Niño de Tondo. These clippings in Filipino read just like current tabloid, radio, or 6 o’clock TV news.

Finally, I found the story, only to be disappointed because the image was stolen from Tondo church on July 14, 1972, and dismembered parts were recovered three days later on July 17. After the arrest of suspects, the image was put together and returned to Tondo from Malacañang on August 2, 1972.

Contrary to popular belief, it didn’t rain 40 days and 40 nights though the first typhoon to hit the Philippines after the theft was a strong one named Gloring. Not content with the havoc it produced, it left the Philippine area of responsibility on July 15, 1972 but decided to return on July 20 bringing some friends on her tail! The names of the other 1972 typhoons: Lusing, Maring, Osang, Paring and Reming made me wonder whether we should maintain the practice of renaming typhoons when they enter the Philippines or just keep the international name to avoid confusion.

The Sto. Niño image was reported missing on the morning of July 14, 1972, by the assistant parish priest, Fr. Lorenzo Egos, who suggested that the thieves hid in the church when the doors were bolted at 8 p.m. the night before. He suspected someone who had been attending Mass days before and described this character to the police.
The image was described as being: two feet tall, a wooden body with ivory parts, adorned with accessories of gold and silver. To the faithful, the image was priceless, but for police purposes a P500,000 price tag was provided. (Not all news was bad news because on the day the Sto. Niño de Tondo was stolen, a silver incense burner stolen in Carcar, Cebu, was recovered and returned.)

Manila’s Finest engaged their informants and three days later a suspect was arrested. Reynio Rivera, 24 years old and jobless, named three companions in the theft. Parts of the image were recovered in separate houses on Balagtas Street, Tondo: the wooden body dumped in a canal near Rivera’s house, the left arm, a silver scepter, a golden cross, and a bronze crown.

On August 2, 1972, the weather improved, the floods subsided and the Sto. Niño de Tondo (or most of its parts) was recovered, presented to President and Mrs. Marcos in Malacañang and brought in procession back to Tondo church.

Postscript to the story is that the thieves were Kapampangan who specialized in looting churches of their precious antiques. Before striking in Tondo, the thieves had taken another image from a church in Tuguegarao, Cagayan. The gold cross of the image was bought by Eugenio Milan of Bulacan for the magnificent sum of P43! Milan charged as an accessory to the crime.

Where the other stolen parts were recovered from is not clear. Police were not allowed to enter an art gallery on Vito Cruz where the thieves offered the more valuable parts, including the ivory head, for sale. These parts were presented to Mrs. Marcos in Malacañang by Dr. Eleuterio Pascual, the art gallery owner, then the famous santo sculptor of Malate, Maximo Vicente, was called in to put everything together. A thanksgiving Mass was held in Malacañang, with President Marcos reading the Epistle in English and Tagalog, while 2,000 impatient devotees waited outside to escort their patron back to Tondo church. It was described as an emotional moment. Many were moved to tears even as they were distracted by the beauty of Mrs. Marcos, who was described as a Norma Blancaflor look-a-like.

Then as now, churches are looted of their treasures. Some artifacts are returned, but many remain at large, leaving the faithful waiting in vain.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Pagdarasal, Pagsunod, Pagsaksi


A Homily delivered by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle during the Mass for the Traslacion of the Black Nazarene on January 9, 2014 at the Luneta Grandstand, Manila.

Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat. Happy fiesta po, Happy Fiesta!
Nagpapapasalamat po tayo sa butihing Diyos [dahil] tayo po ay Kanyang tinipon na naman at binigyan ng lakas; binigyan tayo ng magandang panahon upang ating maparangalan ang Kanyang bugtong Anak sa Kanyang taguring Jesus Nazareno. Salamat din po sa ating mga government officials, sa lahat po ng  ating mga collaborators at sa inyo pong lahat na walang sawa na ipinapadama sa ating mahal na Diyos ang ating pasasalamat; ang  atin pong pagtanaw ng utang na loob.

Ano po ang nararamdaman ninyo kapag tinititigan ninyo si Jesus Nazareno? Ano ang nadarama ninyo kapag siya ay inyong nalalapitan? Bakit mayroong lumuluha? Bakit mayroong napapangiti habang ang mga mata na nakatitig sa Kanya ay nagluluningning? Bakit mayroong pagkatapos makalapit sa Kanya ay parang iniakyat na rin sa langit? Ano ang inyong nakita?  Ano ang ating naririnig sa Kanya? Ano ang ating nadarama? Siguro po bawat isa ay mayroong natatanging sagot sa tanong na ito? Siguro, sasabihin nung iba, “Naramdaman ko, hindi ako pababayaan ng Diyos.” Siguro ‘yung iba masasabi, “nakita ko kung gaano ako dinamayan ni Hesus.” ‘Yung iba siguro magsasabi, “Narinig ko ang kataga na matagal ko ng hinihintay, ‘Kailan ma’y hindi ka magiisa.’” Iba-iba siguro ang ating magiging tugon, subalit iisa rin ang patunguhan, ganito tayo kamahal. GANITO TAYO KAMAHAL NG DIYOS. Iyan si Poong Jesus Nazareno. Pinasan Niya ang ating hirap. Bakit, bakit Niya ginawa iyon? Walang ibang dahilan kundi PAG-IBIG. Bawat isa sa ating ay mahalaga sa Kanya. Bawat pamilya ay mahalaga sa Kanya kaya’t kaya N’yang pasanin ang lahat para sa atin. Gan’yan tayo kamahal ng Diyos!

Ano ang ating tugon? Ang tugon natin ay debosyon. Kaya maraming deboto pero para sa  Poong Nazareno ang mga deboto ang tawag kalimitan ay mamamasan. Bakit? Si Hesus na pumasan sa ating buhay, sa ating pagdurusa, ang ating namang tugon, Hesus papasanin ka rin namin. Ganyan tayo minahal ni Hesus, ang ating debosyon  ay tugon ng pagmamahal. Love for love. Ang bigay na pagibig sa atin  ay walang ibang karapatdapat na tugon at sukli kundi pag-ibig.

Dalawang taon po ang nakararaan, baka naalaala ng karamihan, mayroon pong balita na magkakaroon ng kaguluhan, baka daw [magkaroon ng] terrorist attack sa kapistahan ng traslacion. May nakausap po ako na isang deboto. Tinanong ko  po, ayon sa balitang iyan, kayo po ba ay hindi na dadalo, kayo po ba ay aatras na? Ang ganda po ng sagot niya. Sabi niya, “Bishop, bakit ako ho aatras? Si Hesus nga pinasan ang ating mga hirap hanggang kamatayan? Bakit hindi ko haharapin ang kamatayan para sa Kanya?” Iyan ang deboto. Naunawaan niya, nadining niya ang pag-ibig, ganito na lamang ang pag-ibig ng Diyos, hindi masusukat, kaya narito ako, tutugon ako. [Sa] ginawa Niya para sa akin, hindi ako manghihinayang  na gawin rin para sa Kanya.

Mga kapatid sa tema ng ating fiesta sa taong ito hinahamon po tayo, sa taon ng layko ipakita ang pagmamahal kay Hesus na unang nagmahal sa atin sa tatlong pamamaraan. Paki-memorize po ito! Tatlong pamamaraan ng pagpapakita ng pag-ibig kay Hesus na unang nagpasan sa ating dala ng pagmamahal.

Una, MAGDASAL. Ang pagdarasal ay pagpapakita ng pag-ibig. Tayong mga Filipino [ay] may magandang salita sa pagdarasal. Sinasabi natin, hindi naman ako nakakalimot tumawag sa Diyos. Ang pagdarasal ay ang hindi paglimot. Di ba mayroon  tayong kanta, “Maalaala Mo Kaya?”  Ang nagdarasal ay laging nakakaalala sa Diyos. Ang pag-aalala, pinakikinggan, kinakausap at ang nakakalala sa Diyos, makakaalala sa kapwa. Kung tunay tayong nagdarasal; kung tunay tayong kaugnay ng Diyos, hindi natin makakalimutan ang kapwa.

Mga kapatid, mga kapwa deboto kay Jesus Nazareno, huwag kakalimutan, kasi malimit makalimutan, ang mga kapatid natin sa Tagum, Davao, na sinalanta ng bagyong Pablo, marami sa kanila hindi pa nakakaahon, nakalimutan na yata. Huwag kalilimutan din ang mga kapatid natin sa Nueva Ecija; karamihan ay magsasaka na dahil sa bagyong Santi ay nasira ang kabuhayan at ang mga pananim. Nakalimutan na yata. Parang unti-unti na ring nakakalimutan ang mga kapatid sa Zamboanga. Baka unti-unti na ring malimutan ang Bohol. At hanggang kailan kaya maalaala ang mga kapatid na nasalanta ng Yolanda? Hindi nakakalimot sa Diyos, [kaya’t] hindi [tayo dapat] makakalimot sa kapwa.  Kasi ganoon ang Diyos sa atin, hindi tayo kinakalimutan kaya ang tugon natin sa Kanya, “Hindi kita malimot”. At kapag laging tumatawag sa Diyos, lagi ring maalaala ang kapwa.

Ang ikalawa, ang PAGSUNOD sa Kanya. Ang pagsunod [ay] hindi lamang po iyong lumalakad ako sa likuran niya. Ang pagsunod, ang ibig sabihin, dahil ako ay nagdarasal, dahil hindi ako nakakalimot sa Kanya, dahil siya ay nasa aking puso, ang kanyang aral, ang kanyang halimbawa, ang nagiging pamantayan ng aking buhay. Hindi pupwede na susunod ako kay Kristo pero ang laging laman ng isip ko ay kuwarta! Hindi pupuwede na sasabihin ko, susunod ako kay Kristo, pero kaya kong dayain at pagsamantalahan ang aking kapwa. Ang tunay na nag-iisip lagi kay Hesus ay hindi gagawa ng mga bagay na taliwas kay Hesus. Ang pagdarasal ay nagbubunga ng pagsunod kay Hesus. Kaya mga kaibigan, araw rin ito ng pagtanong sa sarili, ako ba ay tunay na sumusunod? Ako ba ay tunay na napapalapit kay Hesus at ang Kanyang mga habilin ay aking sinusundan?

At ikatlo, PAGSAKSI. ‘Pag sinabi pong saksi, ibig sabihin pagpatotoo, ipahahayag ko sa kapwa sa pamamagitan ng aking salita at aking gawa na totoo si Hesus, na siya ay buhay! Makita sana sa aking ugali, sa aking pagkatao, sa aking ugnayan na talagang nagdarasal ako, na talagang hindi ako nakakalimot kay Hesus, na Siya talaga ang sinusundan ko. Makikita sana sa aking buhay na ang katotohanan na aking sinusundan ay si Hesus. Hindi po ‘yung, sabi nga nila, ‘yung sinasabi ng labi ay kinakabig naman ng puso. Hindi po. Talagang ipakita na si Hesus ay buhay, lalo na sating pag-iibigan. Mga kapatid huwag tayong mahihiyang ipahayag sa mundo: Mahal ako ni Hesus, mahal ko si Hesus. Nakakapagtaka  nga eh, ‘yung mga dapat ikahiya, hindi na ikinahihiya. ‘Yung pagnanakaw hindi na nga ikinahihiya! Dapat iyon ang ikahiya. Iyang korupsiyon, dapat ikahiya! Uulitin ko, ‘yung mga nakakahiya hindi na ikinahihiya. Pagnanakaw, korupsiyon, hindi na ikinahihiya. Nasa front page pa nga. Huwag ikahiya si Hesus! Mahal tayo ni Hesus, mahal ko si Hesus.

Yung tatlo po, ho: PAGDARASAL, PAGSUNOD, PAGSAKSI. Inaanyayahan ko po kayo na tumahimik sandali damhin natin ang malalim na pag-ibig ni Hesus sa atin at tayo po ay tumugon, mangako magdarasal, susunod sa Kanya.