Friday, 25 January 2019 04:52

Divine Mercy for You(th) - Homily delivered by Bishop Santos during the Opening Mass of PACOM 4

Homily delivered by Bishop Ruperto Santos of the Diocese of Balanga during the Opening Mass for the 4th Philippine Apostolic Congress on Mercy (PACOM 4) held at the Filoil Center Flying V Arena in San Juan City on January 24, 2019.

My brothers and sisters, have you asked yourselves. What are we going to tell to our young people? What are we going to impart to them? As we gather together for this Fourth Philippine Apostolic Congress on Mercy, let us remind our young people who Jesus is. Jesus is Divine Mercy. Divine Mercy is Jesus. With Jesus, He is telling us three imperatives which are very applicable especially to our young people. What are these? 

First. Don't be afraid. 
Second. Don't waste your life. 
And lastly. Don't lose your faith.

Photo by Fatima Llanza/RCAM-AOC

First. Jesus is always telling us "it is I. Do not be afraid" (John 6,20). The early life of Saint Faustina was of simplicity and of sacrifices. They were poor and the social condition at that time was severe and difficult. She worked hard, even as housemaid. Yes, the young Faustina, baptized at that time Helen, experienced pain and sufferings. Yet she was firm and steadfast with her Catholic faith, reaffirming her conviction, "I will go and serve God because that is what I resolved to do since my childhood, and that I will do." 

With the destruction and famine brought about the horrors of the First World War, the Kowalska family was in poverty and destitute. Yet they remained united and strong with their faith in God. In her needs and with uncertain times, Sister Faustina did not lose sight of God, reassuring herself "I had to fulfill my duty toward God." 

During her religious formation it was indeed a way of the cross. She was also misunderstood, even ridiculed. Some were indifferent to her, suspicious of her words and actions as illusions. But Sister Faustina remained patient with them, prayerful and even so very penitent. In her great sufferings she called and hold on to God alone. She prayed harder and constantly: 

"Help me, o Lord, that my hands may be merciful and fliled with good deeds, 
so that I may do only good to my neighbors and take upon myself
the more difficult and toilsome tasks. 

Help me, that my feet may be merciful, so that I may hurry to assist my neighbor, 
and overcoming my own fatigue and weariness. 
May true rest is in the service of my neighbor" (Diary 163). 

Days before her death, Sister Faustina was asked "aren't you afraid of death?" She replied "why?" and continued "all my sin and impurities will be consumed like a straw in the fire of the Divine Mercy." She was not afraid of anything, and of anyone. It is because of her complete faith to Jesus, unwavering fidelity to Divine Mercy. Now, my brothers and sisters we pray and repeat: Jesus, I trust in You. 

My brothers and sisters, there are calamities. Crimes are recurrent. Even our civil leaders are cruel, morally and physically corrupt. Yet we will not be afraid. Why? It is because of Jesus, whom we turn to and to trust.

When justice is elusive, when life becomes cheap and people suffer so much because of irresponsible and dishonest civil authorities, our hope and help is God's mercy. And we beg of Him, "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!" (Luke 18,38). 

An OFW returns to her previous employer in Como in Milan. She was asked "what do you feel?" She replied, "I am very nervous and afraid. I think much of my children. But I do and ready for anything for their own good, for their future." 

"How are they?" her co-worker in the chaplaincy wanted to know. Rosalinda said, "I left them to my mother. I told to be obedient, to study hard and pray always. And I asked them together with their Lola, whenever they are together to pray the 3 o'clock habit." 

She added, "and in my time I also recite the Divine Mercy chaplet to be with them in spirit. This gives me strength and assurance of their safety. We entrust ourselves to Divine Mercy." 

Second. Jesus is reminding us "i came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10,10). Jesus wants us safe. He does all to save us. Jesus gives us life, and grants us life eternal with the Father. 

In spite of inner conflicts, fear and being frightened because of God's immense works for her, Saint Faustina, professed to Jesus "I am ready for every beck and call of Your will” (Diary 439). She submitted herself completely, her will at the service of Jesus. She spent her time in prayers and fulfilling faithfully her convent duties. And she was very much contented with her life, her oneness with Jesus, attesting from her Diary 609 that "God grants everything that we ask of Him with trust." 

Remember our dear young people, that "God saw all that He had made, and behold it was very good" (Genesis 1,31). You are all very good, all the very best of Gods' creation. God makes you special. You are with God-given skills and talents. Use them for God's glory and for the good of others. Don't squander them. And don't waste your life. 

Life is precious. It is God's gift, entrusted to us to nourish, to take care of it and to cherish. We must not take it for granted, not to abuse or to misuse. Life is to be respected, protected and promoted. Live faithfully and to the fullest. 

We don't just exist. Nor just to be present or visible, that is, hindi para lamang mag-pacheck ng attendance. But we have to make the most of our life. Our beloved Holy Father, Pope Francis reminds us and especially our young people "the Lord asks everything of us, and in return he offers us true life, the happiness for which we were created. He wants us to be saints and not to settle for a bland and mediocre existence" (GE,1) 

Our society offers instant fame and beauty. Some of our people entice us with false adulation, fake news and empty promises. They prompt us to be powerful and to be popular. But all of these would never guarantee meaningful and fulfilled life. All of these will pass away. Let us not forget that only God is eternal. Only God is absolute. Only God matters. And "His mercy endures forever" (Psalm 136,1ff). 

Lastly. Saint Paul in second letter to Timothy tells us that he has "fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (4,7). Don't lose your faith. Jesus assures us that He will be always with us. He listens to us, and attends to our needs. Never will He abandon us, nor forsake us. So, let us always have Jesus in our hearts, in our lives. Hold on Him. And remembers affirms "take courage. It is I" (Matthew 14,27). 

Saint Faustina fulfilled to the letter everything Jesus commanded her. She did not miss what Jesus said, and continued to follow Him and apply His words in her life and for others. And our Lord Jesus assured her "my daughter, do not be afraid of what will happen to you. I will give you nothing beyond your strength. You know the power of My grace; let that be enough" (Diary 1491). 

Saint Faustina spoke of God's mercy and shared His mercy. She lived God's mercy and led others to God's Divine Mercy. 

Our dear young people, there are those who attack and undermine our Catholic faith. They even ridiculed and made fun of our religious beliefs. They insulted and dishonor our good God. God cannot be mocked. Saint Faustina heard an interior voice which said "my mercy does not want this but justice demands it" (Diary 20). 

Let us persevere with our faith. Let us be patient with them. We resort to prayers and remain polite. Yet let us be firm, faithful and even fearless to speak out and to show our Catholic faith. To them and for them we think of mercy, we speak of mercy and we do mercy. We follow what our Lord Jesus implores of us "be merciful, just as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6,36). 

An OFW who lived and worked for almost fourteen years in Rome came to see her chaplain. She wanted to ask for his blessing and to offer Holy Mass. She was about to return home for good. Lourdes, the OFW informed the priest that her children graduated and fully employed. They asked her "Mama, umuwi na po kayo sa amin. Nagbunga na po ang inyong pagpapakasakit para sa amin. Tapos na po ang paghihirap ninyo diyan. Kami naman po ngayon ang mag-aalaga sa inyo." 

Recalling her sacrifices and sufferings, and she surpassed all those things, Lourdes admitted to the priest, "Padre, may awa talaga ang Diyos" (God is truly merciful). And now with the successes of her children and they were all safe throughout those years, she credited and acknowledged everything "sa awa ng Diyos" (all because of God's mercy). 

My brothers and sisters in Christ, have you asked yourselves. What are we going to tell our young people? Remind them that Jesus is Divine Mercy. Divine Mercy is Jesus. And Jesus is asking them: 

Don't be afraid.  Don't waste your life.  Don't lose the faith. (PACOM 4/RCAM-AOC)



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