Homily – March 7, 2021 (Online Sunday Mass)

Homily delivered by Most Rev. Broderick S. Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of Manila during the online Sunday Mass at San Rafael Arkanghel Parish in Pasay on March 7, 2021, at 10 am.

As Jesus was walking, a man ran up to him and knelt down before him. The man asked Jesus, ′′ Good Teacher, what shall I do to have eternal life? Jesus said, ′′ You know the commandments of God: ‘ You shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not steal, you shall not lie to your neighbor, you shall not deceive; honor your father and mother. ‘′′ The man said, ′′ Teacher, I’ve been following all that since I was a child.” Jesus looked at the man with love. (Cf Mk 10:17-21)

There are two things that are worth noticing in this passage. First, Jesus is telling us that doing the commandments leads to eternal life. Second, that Jesus loves the person who keeps the commandments.

Our first reading this week is about the ten commandments, the commandments Jesus mentioned. The ten commandments are always valid. Jesus did not do away with them. He said he came not to remove or ignore the law. He came to give them an event. And there are times that he deepens the living of God’s commandments, like it’s not enough don’t kill, don’t curse our fellow man if you don’t throw you in hell; it’s not enough don’t betray, you shouldn’t look either of having an important desire for others.

Jesus summarized the Law of Moses into two: love for God and love for others. San Pablo also wrote: The commandments, ′′ do not make a mistake, do not kill, do not steal, do not take interest in what is not yours,” and other commandments, can be summed up in one command, ′′ Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” If you love your neighbor, you won’t do them wrong. That’s why when you love, you follow the whole law. (cf Rom 13: 8-10)

Let’s not look at the Ten Commandments burden in our lives. Those are guidelines in our lives for us to love. Love is not just an emotion, or a feeling. That’s a commitment seen in our actions, and the Ten Commandments are sign posts to show us the true way to love. If you don’t worship the one God, instead of just believing in him you believe in another spirit or money power or call of entertainment, you don’t love God. If you can’t give a day to worship God, you can’t say you love him. How can you say you love your family when you don’t respect your parents and neglect your elders? Is there love if you kill? Is it patriotism to kill drug addicts or considered communist? Is abortion love of child or family? Can’t just say that out of love you haven’t been faithful to your spouse. It’s not true love that you destroy a family just because of your feelings. Do you love if you lie? It’s not right because you don’t want him to hurt you lied to him. We are still giving an excuse that is white lie only. The lie has no color. A liar is a liar – call him white, blue or red! How does theft become love? Now that there will be an election that many will run and say they love the country. How can you love the nation if you are corrupt? Isn’t corruption a theft? Let’s not vote for people who enrich themselves in serving the nation, especially your couples or children who are sitting in politics and their family getting rich. It’s clear that it’s no longer serving the nation, but just making a living for the family. That’s why political dynasties are suspicious. That’s one way to hold politicians accountable. Can you hold the father, child or husband responsible for you following in the spot? Does love have bad desires or bad intentions? That’s why there are two commandments ′′ You shall not covet.”

So as we see the commandments are guide posts to us to tell us how to love. They are boundaries that we should not cross if we really care for the good of others. The problem is, we do not want to follow instructions. We want to do things our own way. Hindi ba diyan nagsimula ang kasalanan, na sa halip na sumunod sa Diyos, sa boundaries na inilagay niya, sumunod tayo sa boses ng ahas at sa ating gusto? So we lost paradise, and we fall into this valley of tears. And we continue to lose our paradise, our beautiful Philippines and our beautiful Filipino way of life – because we continue to disobey the ten commandments. Ano ba ang mga problema ng ating bansa ngayon? Pagpapabaya sa pamilya, Extra Judicial Killings, promiscuities so we have extra marital pregnancies, sexual exploitation of the vulnerable, HIV-AIDs, and broken families, corruption which is really stealing from the people especially from the poor because the first and direct victims of corruption are the poor, and now fake news, which are being promoted even by big people in order to manipulate perceptions. We do not live up to the ten commandments, so we are in this sorry state.

We are used to the meek and mild Jesus. Indeed, he is meek and mild to the sinners. Jesus shows the merciful face of God the Father so that we may repent. So don’t lose hope. We can still change.

But Jesus is also brave. Even those who oppose him recognize this. The parishioners sent some of them with Herod’s staff and said to Jesus: ‘ Teacher, we know that you are telling the truth. You are teaching people what the will of God is You don’t care what others will say, because you think everything is fair.” (Cf Mt 22:16) And not only Jesus is bold in word. As well as in action. We saw this in our gospel today. His anger erupted at the people who are making the Temple a market. They put business before worshiping God. He drives away the merchants from the temple. That’s why we shouldn’t be afraid to stand for what’s right. What Jesus did in the temple was one of the charges brought upon him when he was sentenced to death. Let us remember that the temple for the Jews was their most holy place and the guardians of the temples were powerful people. But Jesus had the guts to go against these powerful guardians and he paid the consequences of his action. This is the Jesus we follow and emulate. He is the basis of our teaching, belief and action.

For Jesus, ten commandments are important. That will bring us to eternal life. He loves those who obey these, because commandments are ways of loving God and others. If we follow the commandments, we live a life of love even if we do not have any romantic feelings or are emotionally high about it. We need the ten commandments not just for our personal life. We also need this in politics, in business, in media, in entertainment, because all of these need honesty, truth, decency, respect and value in life. So let’s not be afraid and hesitate to stand for them. Hit the hit. Those who get angry will get angry. What matters is that we follow Jesus bravely and with conviction!

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