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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

6 Days Palawan Adventures (Day 1) Departure


It's been a while since the last time we travel outside of Luzon. Most of our travels together were just outside of Metro Manila so we are all excited for this six (6) days vacation in Palawan. I consider Palawan as my second home. The first time I set my foot on the ground of Palawan was more than a decade ago and it captured my heart and I was so in love like love at first sight.

Our flight was scheduled at 10 in the morning so I brought our car and left it in our office (instead of taking a cab from home) and get a cab there. It took as more than an hour before we could finally get a cab. Grab taxi or even Uber were not a big help, since no one is taking the bid and the regular cab was a pain in the a--, they were all snubbed or asking for a fare 3 times the usual fare going to the airport. Anyway, we were able to arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 with two hours more to spare before our flight schedule.

Cebu Pacific Air flight schedule is on time, thanks be to God and I never knew that their fun game during flights is back (that's how long I was able to ride an airplane). My daughter cried because we did not one and thankfully the flight attendant is there to pacify her and gave her a consolation prize (I thought she is going to eject us because my daughter was crying). The plane arrived on time and we were all excited to begin our adventure together.

Next: Day 2: Going to Port Barton

#teampascualgoestopalawan

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Unauthorized use, edit, copy, reproduction, publication, duplication, download and distribution of any image may result in severe legal and criminal penalties under the law. The above photos were taken by Ricky Pascual and remain the properties of the photographer. Please do not use elsewhere without the owner’s permission.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Our 9th Wedding Anniversary

video

Our 9th Wedding Anniversary Celebration held at Luljetta's Hanging Gardem and Spa. So blessed.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Dreams Do Come True

More than 25 years ago, I want to meet this guy and shake his hand. Even though we are "Kababayans" and served in the same Parish, I never had a chance to introduce myself.

Last night was the fulfillment of that dream. 

Back then, I was an 11 year old sacristan and he is the Musical Director of the Choir, I always look at them while they were singing, amazed by their voice, amazed on how he conducted the choir. I never imagine myself that I will be a music minister too and I was surprised that his love for music started when he was also a sacristan. Music is his course, while I am a civil engineer ang layo he he.

I saw him in some of Bukas Palad Concerts, conducting the grand choir, but have no chance of meeting him or maybe I am just too shy. I love his compositions and his arrangements, particularly Alay ng Pag-ibig and Huwag Mangamba, respectively.

I went to another parish and now serving at the Feast, we became FB friends a few months back.

Last night, while I was about to fetch my wife she texted me that he is in mcdo, I said bababa ako.

I was about to abort my plan to meet him, sabi ng wife ko "Conquer your Fear". So I "PM" him if pwede ako lumapit. "Sure" was his answer. I introduce myself and he let me sit in the vacant chair. The next 15 minutes was awesome, got some valuable tips in songwriting

1. Think of a Unique title that will stick to the mind.
2. The first 30 second is crucial, it should catch the attention of the listener.
3. Melody should be "Napapanahon"
4. Pag nanaginip ka ng bagong kanta bumangon at isulat agad, pag pinagpabukas mo makakalimutan mo, sayang.

The last tip is very important. Here I was talking to someone with a Music degree and with more than 30 years of experience. He said.,

5. Attend workshops to improve your craft. 

Dreams do come true, thank you Kuya Jerry for your time, kahit busy ka, you gave me your undivided attention. I hope this is not the last.

I am more inspired to write songs.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

God's Promises Stand

In Joshua 6:3-5,, God told the Israelites to march around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days and  on the seventh day to march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets.  We know what happened after, the wall of the city collapsed.

In Talk#3, Bro. Vic shared about perseverance by telling our love story. I can't remember how many times our story were told. We were interviewed before the book "How to find your one true love" by Bro. Bo Sanchez was launched. It was also one of the stories featured in the book "40 Stories of finding your one true love" released in 2005 and we shared it several times at the Feast or in single gatherings. I am really honored, sometimes "nakakahiya" I only hope that every single person people who hear or read our story are blessed.

But it all started with a "BOLD" prayer believing that God will move heaven and earth so that His promise will be fulfilled, I even boldly told her that God gave her to me to be my future wife, argh!, my mistake, and I was busted for the 1st time, and the cycle begun. I was busted for another five gruelling times before Jericho Wall, I mean Chie say yes.

Imagine if the Israelites had stopped on the 6th, the wall of Jericho will not collapse. If I stopped on the 6th, I wouldn't be as happy as I am today. Ah! yes, God thought me to persevere, and to trust Him. God mold me first to be the right man before He gave me my lifetime partner. 

From the time I boldly prayed about her, I already imagined myself waiting for her on the church aisle, watching her walked towards me I couldn't avoid crying as if it was already happening and when it actually happened, the joy in my heart was overwhelming, I was thankful that God answered my prayer.

Last Sunday was the 4th and final talk of the BOLD series and I asked myself, "When was the last time I boldly pray and imagined that my prayer is actually happening". At the Feast, I did it again, I imagined my 30 long year dream come into reality and I experienced the same feeling. I was in tears at the same time smiling, I know I am ready to receive it, I don't mind the difficulties and struggles, I will just trust the Lord, 

Friends, We may be experiencing difficulties in getting our dreams, may it be financial, physical or maybe you are praying for the man or woman of your dream, always remember GOD'S PROMISES ALWAYS STAND, I always believe in this.

Never give up on the 6th, because on the 7th your Jericho Wall will fall and the fulfillment of your dreams begins.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Full Text: Pope Francis' homily, Mass at Luneta

The full text of Pope Francis' homily, as delivered during the Holy Mass at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta, Manila, Sunday January 18


“A child is born to us, a son is given us” (Is 9:5). It is a special joy for me to celebrate Santo Niño Sunday with you. The image of the Holy Child Jesus accompanied the spread of the Gospel in this country from the beginning. Dressed in the robes of a king, crowned and holding the sceptre, the globe and the cross, he continues to remind us of the link between God’s Kingdom and the mystery of spiritual childhood. He tells us this in today’s Gospel: “Whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it” (Mk 10:15). The Santo Niño continues to proclaim to us that the light of God’s grace has shone upon a world dwelling in darkness, bringing the Good News of our freedom from slavery, and guiding us in the paths of peace, right and justice. The Santo Niño also reminds us of our call to spread the reign of Christ throughout the world.

In these days, throughout my visit, I have listened to you sing the song: “We are all God’s children.” That is what the Santo Niño tells us. He reminds us of our deepest identity. All of us are God’s children, members of God’s family. Today Saint Paul has told us that in Christ we have become God’s adopted children, brothers and sisters in Christ. This is who we are. This is our identity. We saw a beautiful expression of this when Filipinos rallied around our brothers and sisters affected by the typhoon.

The Apostle tells us that because God chose us, we have been richly blessed! God “has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens” (Eph 1:3). These words have a special resonance in the Philippines, for it is the foremost Catholic country in Asia; this is itself a special gift of God, a special blessing. But it is also a vocation. Filipinos are called to be outstanding missionaries of the faith in Asia.

God chose and blessed us for a purpose: to be holy and blameless in his sight (Eph 1:4). He chose us, each of us to be witnesses of his truth and his justice in this world. He created the world as a beautiful garden and asked us to care for it. But through sin, man has disfigured that natural beauty; through sin, man has also destroyed the unity and beauty of our human family, creating social structures which perpetuate poverty, ignorance and corruption.

Sometimes, when we see the troubles, difficulties and wrongs all around us, we are tempted to give up. It seems that the promises of the Gospel do not apply; they are unreal. But the Bible tells us that the great threat to God’s plan for us is, and always has been, the lie. The devil is the father of lies. Often he hides his snares behind the appearance of sophistication, the allure of being “modern”, “like everyone else.” He distracts us with the promise of ephemeral pleasures, superficial pastimes. And so we squander our God-given gifts by tinkering with gadgets; we squander our money on gambling and drink; we turn in on ourselves. We forget to remain focused on the things that really matter. We forget to remain, at heart, children of God. That is sin: [to] forget at heart that we are children of God. For children, as the Lord tells us, have their own wisdom, which is not the wisdom of the world. That is why the message of the Santo Niño is so important. He speaks powerfully to all of us. He reminds us of our deepest identity, of what we are called to be as God’s family.

The Santo Niño also reminds us that this identity must be protected. The Christ Child is the protector of this great country. When he came into the world, his very life was threatened by a corrupt king. Jesus himself needed to be protected. He had an earthly protector: Saint Joseph. He had an earthly family, the Holy Family of Nazareth. So he reminds us of the importance of protecting our families, and those larger families which are the Church, God’s family, and the world, our human family. Sadly, in our day, the family all too often needs to be protected against insidious attacks and programs contrary to all that we hold true and sacred, all that is most beautiful and noble in our culture.

In the Gospel, Jesus welcomes children, he embraces them and blesses them (Mk 10:16). We too need to protect, guide and encourage our young people, helping them to build a society worthy of their great spiritual and cultural heritage. Specifically, we need to see each child as a gift to be welcomed, cherished and protected. And we need to care for our young people, not allowing them to be robbed of hope and condemned to life on the streets.

It was a frail child, in need of protection, who brought God’s goodness, mercy and justice into the world. He resisted the dishonesty and corruption which are the legacy of sin, and he triumphed over them by the power of his cross. Now, at the end of my visit to the Philippines, I commend you to him, to Jesus who came among us as a child. May he enable all the beloved people of this country to work together, protecting one another, beginning with your families and communities, in building a world of justice, integrity and peace. May the Santo Niño continue to bless the Philippines and may he sustain the Christians of this great nation in their vocation to be witnesses and missionaries of the joy of the Gospel, in Asia and in the whole world.

Please don’t forget to pray for me! God bless you

Monday, January 19, 2015

Full Text: Pope Francis' message to the youth in UST 

Moved by young Filipinos who read their messages and told their stories, Pope Francis discarded his prepared message and did impromptu remarks in Spanish, translated by Msgr. Mark Miles in English.

The pope's message reads as below:

Dear Young Friends,

When I speak spontaneously I do it in Spanish, because I don’t know the English language. May I do it? Thank you very much. This Fr Mark, a good translator.

First of all, a sad piece of news. Yesterday, as Mass was about to start, a piece of scaffolding fell and, upon falling, hit a young woman who was working in the area and she died. Her name is Kristel. She worked for the organisation preparing for that Mass. She was 27 years old, young like yourselves. She worked for Catholic Relief Services as a volunteer. I would like all of you who are young like her to pray for a moment in silence with me and then we will pray to Our Mother in Heaven. Let us pray.

(Prays) Hail Mary…

Let us also pray for her parents. She was an only child. Her mother is coming from Hong Kong and her father is here in Manila.

(Prays) Our Father…

It is a joy for me to be with you this morning. I greet each of you from the heart, and I thank all those who made this meeting possible. During my visit to the Philippines, I wanted in a particular way to meet with young people, to listen to you and to talk with you. I want to express the love and the hopes of the Church for you. And I want to encourage you, as Christian citizens of this country, to offer yourselves passionately and honestly to the great work of renewing your society and helping to build a better world.

In a special way, I thank the young people who have offered words of welcome to me.

To Jun and Leandro Santos II and to Rikki, thank you very much. There’s only a very small representation of girls among you. Too little. Women have much to tell us in today’s society. Sometimes we are too “machistas” and we don’t allow enough space to women. But women can see things from a different angle to us, with a different eye. Women are able to pose questions we men are unable to understand. Look out for this fact: she is the only one who has put a question for which there is no answer. She couldn’t put it into words but expressed it with tears. So when the next pope comes to Manila, please let there be more girls.

I thank you Jun for talking about your experience so bravely. As I said, the heart of your question has no reply. Only when we too can cry about the things you said can we come close to answering that question. Why do children suffer so much? Why do children suffer? When the heart is able to ask itself and weep, then we can understand something. There is a worldly compassion which is useless. You expressed something like this. It’s a compassion that makes us put our hands in our pockets and give something to the poor. But if Christ had had that kind of compassion he would have greeted a couple of people, given them something, and walked on. But it was only when he was able to cry that he understood something of our lives. Dear young boys and girls, today’s world doesn’t know how to cry. The emarginated people, those left to one side, are crying. Those who are discarded are crying. But we don’t understand much about these people in need. Certain realities of life we only see through eyes cleansed by our tears. I invite each one here to ask yourself: have I learned how to weep? Have I learned how to weep for the emarginated or for a street child who has a drug problem or for an abused child? Unfortunately there are those who cry because they want something else.

This is the first thing I want to say: let us learn how to weep as she has shown us today and let us not forget this lesson. The great question of why so many children suffer, she did this in tears. The response that we can make today is: let us really learn how to weep.

In the Gospel, Jesus cried for his dead friend, he cried in his heart for the family who lost its child, for the poor widow who had to bury her son. He was moved to tears and compassion whe n he saw the crowds without a pastor. If you don’t learn how to cry, you cannot be a good Christian. This is a challenge. When they posed this question to us, why children suffer, why this or that tragedy occurs in life – our response must be either silence or a word that is born of our tears. Be courageous, don’t be afraid to cry.

Then came Leandro Santos II and his question. He also posed a good question: the world of information. Today, with so many means of communication we are overloaded with information. Is that bad? No. It is good and can help. But there is a real danger of living in a  way that we accumulate information. We have so much information but maybe we don’t know what to do with that information. So we run the risk of becoming museums of young people who have everything but not knowing what to do with it. We don’t need young museums but we do need holy young people. You may ask me: Father, how do we become saints? This is another challenge. It is the challenge of love. What is the most important subject you have to lean at university? What is most important subject you have to learn in life? To learn how to love. This is the challenge that life offers you: to learn bow to love. Not just to accumulate information without knowing what to do with it.. But through that love let that information bear fruit.

For this the Gospel offers us a serene way forward: using the three languages of the mind, heart and hands – and to use them in harmony. What you think, you must feel and put into effect. Your information comes down to your heart and you put  it into practice. Harmoniously.  What you think, you feel and you do. Feel what you think and feel what you do. Do what you think and what you feel. The three languages...

Can you repeat this? To think. To feel. To do. And all in harmony...

Real love is about loving and letting yourself be loved. It’s harder to let yourself be loved than to love. That is why it is so difficult to come to the perfect love of God. We can love Him but we must let ourselves be loved by Him. Real love is being open to the love that comes to you. The love that surprises us. If you only have information you are not surprised. Love surprises because it opens a dialogue of loving and being loved. God is a God of surprise because He loved us first. God awaits us to surprise us. Let us allow ourselves to be surprised by God. Let us not have a computer psychology that makes us think we know it all. All answers on computers - but no surprises. The challenge of love. God reveals himself through surprises.

Think of St Matthew. He was a good banker. But he let people down because he imposed taxes against his own people to give to the Romans. He was full of money. Jesus passed by, looked at him and said: “Follow me”. He couldn’t believe it. It you have the opportunity, see Caravaggio’s picture of him. Jesus calls him and those around say: “Him? He betrayed us! He is no good! He hoards money!” But the surprise of being loved overcomes him. The day when Matthew left home for work, saying goodbye to his wife, he couldn’t imagine he would come home without money and have to prepare a feast for the one who loved him first. God surprised Matthew more than the money he had. Allow yourselves to be surprised by God. Don’t be afraid of surprises. They shake the ground beneath our feet and make us insecure, but they move us forward in the right direction.

Real love allows you to spend yourselves, to leave your pockets empty. Think of St Francis who died with empty hands and empty pockets but with a full heart. Remember: no young museums, and wise young people. To be wise use three languages: think well, feel well and do well. And to be wise allow yourselves to be surprised by the love of God. That will guarantee a good life.

Rikki came up with a good plan for what we can do in life with all young people’s activities.

Thank you, Rikki, for what you and your friends do. I’d like to ask you a question: you and your friends help others but do you allow yourselves to receive? Answer in your heart.

In the Gospel we just heard, there was a beautiful phrase, for me the most important of all: Jesus looked at the young man and he loved him. When you see Rikki and his friends you love them because they do good things. Jesus says something very important: you lack one thing. Let us listen to this word in silence: you lack only one thing. (Repeats)

What is it that I lack? To all of you who Jesus loves so much, I ask you: do you allow others to give you from their riches to you who have not? The Sadducees, Doctors of the Law, in the time of Jesus, gave much to the people, they taught the people the law, but they never allowed the people to give them something. Jesus had to come to allow himself to feel compassion and to be loved.

How many young people among you are like this? You know how to give and yet you have ever learned how to receive. You still lack one thing. Become a beggar. This is what you still lack. Learn how to beg. This isn’t easy to understand. To learn how to beg. To learn how to receive with humility. To learn to be evangelized by the poor, by those we help, the sick, orphans, they have so much to give us. Have I learned how to beg? Or am I self-sufficient? Do I think I need nothing? Do you know you too are poor? Do you know your own poverty and your need to receive? Do you let yourselves be evangelised by those you serve? This is what helps you mature in your commitment to give to others. Learn how to open your hand from your very own poverty.

There are some points I have prepared. The first, I already told you: to learn how to love and to learn how to be loved. There is a challenge  which is a challenge of u. This is not only because your country more than many others is likely to be seriously affected by climate change. There is athe challenge, the concern for the environment. And finally, there is the challenge for the poor, to love the poor, with your bishops. Do you think of the poor? Do you feel with the poor? Do you do something  for the poor? Do you ask the poor to give you the wisdom they have?

This is what I wish to tell you all today. Sorry if I haven’t read what I prepared for you but there is a phrase that consoles me: that reality is superior to ideas. The reality that you have is superior to the paper I have in front of me. Thank you very much. Pray for me

Full Text: Pope Francis’ speech at Malacañang

Below is the full text of Pope Francis' speech at Malacañang after his courtesy call on President Aquino on Friday, Jan. 16.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank you, Mr President, for your kind welcome and for your words of greeting in the name of  the authorities and people of the Philippines, and the distinguished members of the Diplomatic Corps. I am most grateful for your invitation to visit the Philippines.

My visit is above all pastoral.

It comes as the Church in this country is preparing to celebrate the fifth centenary of the first proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on these shores. The Christian message has had an immense influence on Filipino culture.

It is my hope that this important anniversary will point to its continuing fruitfulness and its  potential to inspire a society worthy of the goodness, dignity and aspirations of the Filipino people.

In a particular way, this visit is meant to express my closeness to our brothers and sisters who endured the suffering, loss and devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda.

Together with many people throughout the world, I have admired the heroic strength, faith and resilience demonstrated by so many Filipinos in the face of this natural disaster, and so many others.

Those virtues, rooted not least in the hope and solidarity instilled by Christian faith, gave rise to an outpouring of goodness and generosity, especially on the part of so many of the young. In that moment of national crisis, countless people came to the aid of their neighbors in need.

At great sacrifice, they gave of their time and resources, creating networks of mutual help and working for the common good.

This example of solidarity in the work of rebuilding teaches us an important lesson. Like a family, every society draws on its deepest resources in order to face new challenges.

Today the Philippines, together with many other countries in Asia, faces the challenge of building on solid foundations a modern society – a society respectful of authentic human values, protective of our God-given human dignity and rights, and ready to confront new and complex political and ethical questions.

As many voices in your nation have pointed out, it is now, more than ever, necessary that political leaders be outstanding for honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good. In this way they will help preserve the rich human and natural resources with which God has blessed this country.

Thus will they be able to marshall the moral resources needed to face the demands of the present, and to pass on to coming generations a society of authentic justice, solidarity and peace.

 Essential to the attainment of these national goals is the moral imperative of ensuring social justice and respect for human dignity. The great biblical tradition enjoins on all peoples the duty to hear the voice of the poor.

It bids us break the bonds of injustice and oppression which give rise to glaring, and indeed scandalous, social inequalities. Reforming the social structures which perpetuate poverty and the exclusion of the poor first requires a conversion of mind and heart.

The Bishops of the Philippines have asked that this year be set aside as the “Year of the Poor.”

I hope that this prophetic summons will challenge everyone, at all levels of society, to reject every form of corruption which diverts resources from the poor, and to make concerted efforts to ensure the inclusion of every man and woman and child in the life of the community.

 A fundamental role in the renewal of society is played, of course, by the family and especially by young people.

A highlight of my visit will be my meetings with families and with young people here in Manila.

Families have an indispensable mission in society. It is in the family that children are trained in sound values, high ideals and genuine concern for others.

But like all God’s gifts, the family can also be disfigured and destroyed. It needs our support. We know how difficult it is for our democracies today to preserve and defend such basic human values as respect for the inviolable dignity of each human person, respect for the rights of conscience and religious freedom, and respect for the inalienable right to life, beginning with that of the unborn and extending to that of the elderly and infirm.

For this reason, families and local communities must be encouraged and assisted in their efforts to transmit to our young the values and the vision which can help bring about a culture of integrity – one which honors goodness, truthfulness, fidelity and solidarity as the firm foundation and the moral glue which holds society together.

 Mr President, distinguished authorities, dear friends:

 As I begin my visit to this country, I cannot fail to mention the Philippines’ important role in fostering understanding and cooperation among the countries of Asia.

I would also mention the oft-neglected yet real contribution of Filipinos of the diaspora to the life and welfare of the societies in which they live.

It is precisely in the light of the rich cultural and religious heritage of which your country is proud that I leave you with a challenge and a word of prayerful encouragement.

May the deepest spiritual values of the Filipino people continue to find expression in your efforts to provide your fellow citizens with an integral human development.

In this way, each person will be able to fulfill his or her potential, and thus contribute wisely and well to the future of this country.

I am confident that the praiseworthy efforts to promote dialogue and cooperation between the followers of the different religions will prove fruitful in the pursuit of this noble goal.

In a particular way, I express my trust that the progress made in bringing peace to the south of the country will result in just solutions in accord with the nation’s founding principles and respectful of the inalienable rights of all, including the indigenous peoples and religious minorities.

Upon all of you, and upon all the men, women and children of this beloved nation, I cordially  invoke God’s abundant blessings.

Source: GMa News

Full Text: Pope Francis' message to families at MOA Aren

Below is the full text from Vatican Radio of Pope Francis' message at the Mall of Asia Arena in the Philippines where he had an audience with thousands of Filipino families. The text includes the pope's off-the-cuff remarks in Spanish, which were translated to English.

Dear Families,

Dear Friends in Christ,

I am grateful for your presence here this evening and for the witness of your love for Jesus and his Church.  I thank Bishop Reyes, Chairman of the Bishops’ Commission on Family and Life, for his words of welcome on your behalf.  And, in a special way, I thank those who have presented testimonies and have shared their life of faith with us.

The Scriptures seldom speak of Saint Joseph, but when they do, we often find him resting, as an angel reveals God’s will to him in his dreams.  In the Gospel passage we have just heard, we find Joseph resting not once, but twice.  This evening I would like to rest in the Lord with all of you, and to reflect with you on the gift of the family.

It is important to dream in the family. All mothers and fathers dream of their sons and daughters in the womb for 9 months. They dream of how they will be. It isn’t possible to have a family without such dreams. When you lose this capacity to dream you lose the capacity to love, the capacity to love is lost. I recommend that at night when you examine your consciences, ask yourself if you dreamed of the future of your sons and daughters. Did you dream of your husband or wife? Did you dream today of your parents, your grandparents who carried forward the family to me? It is so important to dream and especially to dream in the family. Please don’t lose the ability to dream in this way. How many solutions are found to family problems if we take time to reflect, if we think of a husband or wife, and we dream about the good qualities they have. Don’t ever lose the memory of when you were boyfriend or girlfriend. That is very important.

Joseph’s rest revealed God’s will to him.  In this moment of rest in the Lord, as we pause from our many daily obligations and activities, God is also speaking to us.  He speaks to us in the reading we have just heard, in our prayer and witness, and in the quiet of our hearts.  Let us reflect on what the Lord is saying to us, especially in this evening’s Gospel.  There are three aspects of this passage which I would ask you to consider: resting in the Lord, rising with Jesus and Mary, and being a prophetic voice.

Resting in the Lord.  Rest is so necessary for the health of our minds and bodies, and often so difficult to achieve due to the many demands placed on us.  But rest is also essential for our spiritual health, so that we can hear God’s voice and understand what he asks of us.  Joseph was chosen by God to be the foster father of Jesus and the husband of Mary.  As Christians, you too are called, like Joseph, to make a home for Jesus.  You make a home for him in your hearts, your families, your parishes and your communities.

To hear and accept God’s call, to make a home for Jesus, you must be able to rest in the Lord.  You must make time each day for prayer.  But you may say to me: Holy Father, I want to pray, but there is so much work to do!  I must care for my children; I have chores in the home; I am too tired even to sleep well.  This may be true, but if we do not pray, we will not know the most important thing of all: God’s will for us.  And for all our activity, our busy-ness, without prayer we will accomplish very little.

Resting in prayer is especially important for families.  It is in the family that we first learn how to pray. And don’t forget when the family prays together, it remains together.  This is important.  There we come to know God, to grow into men and women of faith, to see ourselves as members of God’s greater family, the Church.  In the family we learn how to love, to forgive, to be generous and open, not closed and selfish.  We learn to move beyond our own needs, to encounter others and share our lives with them.  That is why it is so important to pray as a family!  That is why families are so important in God’s plan for the Church!

I would like to tell you something very personal. I like St Joseph very much. He is a strong man of silence. On my desk I have a statue of St Joseph sleeping. While sleeping he looks after the Church.  Yes, he can do it!  We know that. When I have a problem or a difficulty, I write on a piece of paper and I put it under his statue so he can dream about it. This means please pray to St Joseph for this problem.

Next, rising with Jesus and Mary.  Those precious moments of repose, of resting with the Lord in prayer, are moments we might wish to prolong.  But like Saint Joseph, once we have heard God’s voice, we must rise from our slumber; we must get up and act (cf. Rom 13:11).  Faith does not remove us from the world, but draws us more deeply into it.  Each of us, in fact, has a special role in preparing for the coming of God’s kingdom in our world.

Just as the gift of the Holy Family was entrusted to Saint Joseph, so the gift of the family and its place in God’s plan is entrusted to us so we can carry it forward. To each one of you and us because I too am the son of a family.

The angel of the Lord revealed to Joseph the dangers which threatened Jesus and Mary, forcing them to flee to Egypt and then to settle in Nazareth.  So too, in our time, God calls upon us to recognize the dangers threatening our own families and to protect them from harm.  We must be attentive to the new ideological colonization.

Beware of the new ideological colonization that tries to destroy the family. It’s not born of the dream that we have from God and prayer – it comes from outside and that’s why I call it a colonization. Let us not lose the freedom to take forward the mission God has given us, the mission of the family.  And just as our peoples were able to say in the past “No” to the period of colonization, as families we have to be very wise and strong to say “No” to any attempted ideological colonization that could destroy the family. And to ask the intercession of St Joseph to know when to say “Yes” and when to say “No”….

The pressures on family life today are many.  Here in the Philippines, countless families are still suffering from the effects of natural disasters.  The economic situation has caused families to be separated by migration and the search for employment, and financial problems strain many households.  While all too many people live in dire poverty, others are caught up in materialism and lifestyles which are destructive of family life and the most basic demands of Christian morality.  The family is also threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage, by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life.

I think of Blessed Paul VI in the moment of that challenge of population growth, he had the strength to defend openness to life. He knew the difficulties families experience and that’s why in his encyclical (Humanae Vitae) he expressed compassion for specific cases and he taught  professors to be particularly compassionate for particular cases. And he went further, he looked at the people on the earth and he saw that lack (of children) and the problem it could cause families in the future. Paul VI was courageous, a good pastor  and he warned his sheep about the wolves that were approaching.  And from the heavens he blesses us today.

Our world needs good and strong families to overcome these threats!  The Philippines needs holy and loving families to protect the beauty and truth of the family in God’s plan and to be a support and example for other families.  Every threat to the family is a threat to society itself.  The future of humanity, as Saint John Paul II often said, passes through the family (cf. Familiaris Consortio, 85).  So protect your families!   See in them your country’s greatest treasure and nourish them always by prayer and the grace of the sacraments.  Families will always have their trials, but may you never add to them!  Instead, be living examples of love, forgiveness and care.  Be sanctuaries of respect for life, proclaiming the sacredness of every human life from conception to natural death.  What a gift this would be to society, if every Christian family lived fully its noble vocation!  So rise with Jesus and Mary, and set out on the path the Lord traces for each of you.

Finally, the Gospel we have heard reminds us of our Christian duty to be prophetic voices in the midst of our communities.  Joseph listened to the angel of the Lord and responded to God’s call to care for Jesus and Mary.  In this way he played his part in God’s plan, and became a blessing not only for the Holy Family, but a blessing for all of humanity.  With Mary, Joseph served as a model for the boy Jesus as he grew in wisdom, age and grace (cf. Lk 2:52).  When families bring children into the world, train them in faith and sound values, and teach them to contribute to society, they become a blessing in our world.  God’s love becomes present and active by the way we love and by the good works that we do.  We extend Christ’s kingdom in this world.  And in doing this, we prove faithful to the prophetic mission which we have received in baptism.

During this year which your bishops have set aside as the Year of the Poor, I would ask you, as families, to be especially mindful of our call to be missionary disciples of Jesus.  This means being ready to go beyond your homes and to care for our brothers and sisters who are most in need.  I ask you especially to show concern for those who do not have a family of their own, in particular those who are elderly and children without parents.  Never let them feel isolated, alone and abandoned, but help them to know that God has not forgotten them.

I was very moved after the Mass today when I visited that shelter for children with no parents. How many people in the Church work so that that house is a home, family? This is what it means to take forward, prophetically, the meaning of family.  You may be poor yourselves in material ways, but you have an abundance of gifts to offer when you offer Christ and the community of his Church.  Do not hide your faith, do not hide Jesus, but carry him into the world and offer the witness of your family life!

Dear friends in Christ, know that I pray for you always!  I pray that the Lord may continue to deepen your love for him, and that this love may manifest itself in your love for one another and for the Church.  Pray often and take the fruits of your prayer into the world, that all may know Jesus Christ and his merciful love.  Please pray also for me, for I truly need your prayers and will depend on them always!

Source: Philippine Star

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Full Text: Pope Francis' Homily During the Holy Mass in Tacloban

English translation of Pope Francis' Homily during the Holy Mass in Tacloban


I prefer today to speak in Spanish. I have a translator, a good translator. May I do it? [crowd responds ‘yes’] Thank you very much.

As delivered by the Pope's translator, Msgr Mark Gerard Miles.

We have a high priest who is capable of sympathizing with our weaknesses. Jesus is like us. Jesus lived like us and is the same us in every respect, except sin because he was not a sinner. But to be more like us he assumed our condition and our sin. He made himself into sin. This is what St Paul tells us. And Jesus always goes before us and when we pass an experience, a cross, he passed there before us. And if today we find ourselves here 14 months afterwards, 14 months precisely after the Typhoon Yolanda hit, it is because we have the security of knowing we will not weaken in our faith because Jesus has been here before us.

In his Passion he assumed all our pain. Therefore he is capable of understanding us, as we heard in the first reading.

I’d like to tell you something close to my heart. When I saw from Rome that catastrophe I had to be here. And on those very days I decided to come here. I am here to be with you – a little bit late, but I’m here.

I have come to tell you that Jesus is Lord. And he never lets us down. Father – you might say to me – I was let down because I have lost so many things, my house, my livelihood. It’s true if you say that and I respect those sentiments. But Jesus is there, nailed to the cross, and from there he does not let us down. He was consecrated as Lord on that throne and there he experienced all the calamities that we experience. Jesus is Lord. And the Lord from the cross is there for you. In everything the same as us. That is why we have a Lord who cries with us and walks with us in the most difficult moments of life.

So many of you have lost everything. I don’t know what to say to you. But the Lord does know what to say to you. Some of you have lost part of your families. All I can do is keep silence and walk with you all with my silent heart. Many of you have asked the Lord – why lord? And to each of you, to your heart, Christ responds with his heart from the cross. I have no more words for you. Let us look to Christ. He is the Lord. He understands us because he underwent all the trials that we, that you, have experienced.


And beside the cross was his Mother. We are like a little child in the moments when we have so much pain and no longer understand anything. All we can do is grab hold of her hand firmly and say “Mommy” – like a child does when it is afraid. It is perhaps the only words we can say in difficult times – “Mommy”.

Let us respect a moment of silence together and look to Christ on the cross. He understands us because he endured everything. Let us look to our Mother and, like a little child, let us hold onto her mantle and with a true heart say – “Mother”. In silence, tell your Mother what you feel in your heart. Let us know that we have a Mother, Mary, and a great Brother, Jesus. We are not alone. We also have many brothers who in this moment of catastrophe came to help. And we too, because of this, we feel more like brothers and sisters because we helped each other.

This is what comes from my heart. Forgive me if I have no other words to express myself. Please know that Jesus never lets you down. Know that the tenderness of Mary never lets you down. And holding onto her mantle and with the power that cones from Jesus’ love on the cross, let us move forward and walk together as brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Thank you very much.

 

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