How great can you love?

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust… goes a pop song from the 70’s. On Wednesday, the first day of March this 2017 is Ash Wednesday. It is the start of the 40-day Lenten celebration of the Catholic Church. The highlights are the passion, death (contained in the sorrowful mysteries of the holy rosary) and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity is the only God in this whole wide universe who rose from the death and went up to heaven body and soul.   How fortunate we Christians are because our God is a living God.

 

But first let me tell you why  we Catholics celebrate Ash Wednesday and the Lenten season. It is to remind us that we mortals, no matter how great and beautiful we think we are came from dust and to dust we shall return. Our physical bodies die, decay and turn into ashes. But our spirit which is our soul lives on. We celebrate the Lenten season to remind us of the most important aspect of our existence: our saviour and master Jesus Christ suffered and died to give us eternal life. Lent reminds mankind that we have a God who loved us so much that he gave his only son to give us eternal life.  The believers and followers of Jesus have been promised by Christ himself that they too will rise from death.`` Jesus said …``men and women worthy to rise from death  will be like angels and cannot die… They are the children of God because they have risen from the death.’’ (Luke 20:34-36)

But Jesus knew we can never be worthy to be called children of God because we are sinners. He knew he has to suffer the physical pain and agony of dying on the cross first before we sinners can be called children of God. He has to save us from sin and eternal damnation. Two thousand seventeen years ago, this was what happened: Jesus Christ, a preacher  who had twelve disciples became the envy of the Jewish authorities at that time; though innocent he was betrayed by one of his disciples and was sentenced to death by the roaring crowd urged by the men who envied and felt threatened by him. He was scourged (beaten) and his head was crowned with thorns. He was made to carry a very heavy cross up on a mountain called Golgotha and was given bitter wine to drink when he thirsted. His hands and feet were nailed to the very same wooden cross he carried; and his side was pierced with a lance where water and blood came forth. He was left hanging on the cross until his last breathe. Through all that agony and suffering, he called out to heaven, ``Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’’

 

Have you heard of any one doing all that? Anybody who could and did that is so extraordinary and so mind-boggling, it is unbelievable. But it is true. Jesus Christ is the only one in the history of mankind who did that. All the suffering and the dying was for whom? For us, we who are sinners. We, in all our sinfulness do not deserve such sacrifice. Jesus knew from the very beginning that he has to suffer and die so he could save us from our sins. By dying for us, Jesus paid for our sins. If he had not suffered and died for us, the promise of eternal life in heaven  cannot be given to us. God the Father really intended mankind to be with him in heaven, but man sinned and caused a great divide between man and God. God’s only recourse is to send his only son to save us from eternal damnation. He sent his only son to come down to earth and pay the price of redemption. The only way we could be redeemed is for his only begotten son to suffer and die on the cross. What an enormous, painful and humiliating sacrifice for both Father and Son! Imagine sending your only son to be whipped and crowned with thorns, carry a heavy cross up on a mountain, be nailed on both hands and feet on the very same cross , be pierced by a sword and left  to hang until he dies! Has anyone ever thought of willingly doing that to a son? Yet our Father did that to his only son. And his only son obeyed him to the letter. He willingly suffered all that. For whom? For us. Who are we? We who were created out of dust. We are nothing but made of dust. Yet God the Father and the Son loved us so much that the Son had to redeem us by the greatest of sufferings. Apostle John, Jesus’ last surviving disciple and his most beloved (John died at the age of 80+ in Patmos , Greece), wrote, `For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son to save us that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have  everlasting life.’’  We the faithful who keeps God’s command and those who sinned but repented and amended their lives can look forward to God’s promise of eternal life in heaven. What a joyful promise to look forward to for us Christians!

Sunday Mass Schedule Effective March 2011

6:30am - Filipino
8:00am - English
9:30am - English
11:00am - English

12:15n.n - English

3:30pm - Filipino
5:00pm - English
6:30pm - English
8:00pm - English

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