Anluwage.com's The Seven Last Words 2020

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Prologue 2020


Welcome to this year's The Seven Last Words. As a Church, we have journeyed through Lent through prayer, fasting, and penance. Across the world, the journey to this week - Holy Week - has been challenging, stressful, and worrying caused by the Coronavirus. Jesus calls us to take courage, not to worry, and come to Him.  


Loving Father, open our hearts once again to listen to the words of Your Son Jesus who offered Himself on the cross to heal and restore us. In His Name, we pray. Amen.

First Word 2020

"Forgive them, Father, they don't know what they are doing."


By Marites Rano RedoƱa


(Marites is an Assistant Professor at the University of Santo Tomas where she teaches Theology courses to undergraduate students.  Her research interests focus on marriage and family with specific emphasis on the Theology of inclusivity in the light of Amoris Laetitia [Joy of love] as the pastoral approach to families in irregular situations.)

I love fairy tales because its charming stories always end with happily-ever-after.  I grew up in a loving family of 7, deeply devoted to Mary Help of Christians.  Since childhood, my time revolved around parish activities and its many liturgical services.  After graduation from college, I joined the religious community of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians or the Salesian Sisters (FMA).  What happily-ever-after could there be than to be the bride of Christ.   Or so I thought.   I acquired an illness that forced to leave the convent.  My poor health would only burden the community I wanted to serve.  It was, I imagined, the last painful goodbye I will ever do in my life.  Period.

Where now I go? Each day, each night I ask.  Then an answer from Psalm 46:10.  Be still, and know that I am God.  “Wait,” say, “a plan … a good plan … for you I have.”  He wants me!  He loves me still!  So off to a University I go where in Theology near my Beloved still I will be. From a student to a college Theology professor how quickly the years pass in bliss.  And on the seventh year, dressed in white, I walk down the aisle to exchange I do with the prince I believe is my happy, happy ending.  Wrong again…

2010.  My beautiful dream becomes a nightmare shortly after our second child was born.  My husband’s late hours at the computer, sweet, short messages to the office and unexplained mood swings at home alarms me.  His inbox remains suspiciously empty.  ‘People change,’ in my face he tells me.  He rarely speaks except to say “Nothing”. He slams the door to avoid a conversation.  Or throw things to keep me at a distance. And in the few times he talks, he screams like a devil.   Then, one night, at the extra room he sleeps.  A stranger he has become – aloof, uptight, and angry.  His silence cuts deep; his outbursts frighten me.    Unbearable as things are in the bedroom, hell, more so, outside our home.  His behavior in public are nails on my cross.   Each day to work an hour-long silence in the car; at night, I am stranded, waiting five hours,  for the ride home that never comes.  His cell phone is dead.  Another deadly silence creeps.  S-l-o-w-l-y the lights in the mall dims; s-l-o-w-l-y the commuters leave.  Alone in the street I stand, holding my tears to keep what little pride I have. Nothing but cold pity in my heart.   A Gethsemane-moment.

Worse gets WORST.   On a Good Friday of 2014, my fairy-tale finally ends. He packs a bag, kisses his daughter and son, drives away and never returns. Never, ever.   Only the roar of the engine bids me farewell.   Alone. Betrayed. Abandoned.  Worthless. A Calvary-moment.  


Where now I go?  Again my Lord tells me, “Be still, and know that I am God.  A plan … a good plan … for you I have.”   Back to the University I go to teach despite rock-bottom health of mind and body.  House amortization and tuition to pay; food, books, clothes and many more to buy for two children I care.  Work and study keep me sane.  Beneath His cross each day, each night I stand.  Before Him I ask, “Why me?”   I play the blame-game very well.  Some days I am humbled.  Many days, defiant. My mind explodes in anger. I want justice. My heart drowns in sorrow.  My children need a father!  But my soul (bless her!) cries to the Unseen I cannot touch. Where are You?    A roller coaster ride of joy and sorrow.  Like the morning tides, my faith rolls and ebbs.  A cross I cannot carry. It’s beyond me!  Finally, His words I hear, “Father, forgive her anger, forgive her fears”. 

S-l-o-w-l-y, hope and love for Him who died for me return. Like trees that bend with the wind, my faith bows to His will.  Forgive your husband.  I hanged on the cross for the evil men do.  I loved and died for all; your husband too.  “Guilt,” Pope Benedict says, “can only be overcome by forgiveness.” 

So I let go of my dream – my life without a husband, my kids without a father.  By the measure I forgive, so will I be forgiven. I can lose everything but Him who loved me first. Then a downpour of grace - sweet, gratuitous - after my surrender. Deep my loss then; but richer I am now with a spiritual family of friends united to Christ. They are, to me, God’s signs of mercy and love.

Fast Forward. Six Good Fridays since my husband dumped me, new doors (and windows) of opportunities come my way.  A stable job, a PhD title to my name, a fun-circle of family and friends, and two healthy, happy children all my own.  Who but a few enjoy a vocation of three – religious, marriage and now a single mom?  

Jesus’ passion I had shared; His glory now my prize.  A RESURRECTION moment.  


Prayer


God of Mercy and Compassion
We praise and thank You 
Send us Your Holy Spirit 
that we may see the true meaning of forgiveness by Your death on the CROSS.
Open our minds and hearts
that we may see things, 
not through our eyes, 
but with the eyes of faith always united to Christ
For only through Your eyes will we see matters that truly MATTER.  
Amen.

Second Word 2020

"I promise you that today you will be in Paradise with me."


By Pietro S. Albano

(Piet is a Science lecturer and parish volunteer in Nottingham, UK. He is our web's Editor-in-Chief.)


In Jesus' second last word, we read that one of the thieves crucified with Him asked the Lord to remember him (the thief) when Christ comes to His kingdom. I would like to compare the Repentant Thief with the Prodigal Son in one of Jesus' famous parables. Like the Prodigal Son, this thief has left his "home" and led a wayward life.  While the Prodigal Son squandered his share of his father's estate, the thief stole and squandered someone else's possession. Sensing that their lives were going nowhere - the Prodigal Son was dying of hunger in a famine-struck village and the thief in the throes of death -  they both repented and asked for forgiveness.  And both were pardoned! Both were welcomed back home! 

What is this home that both characters left and have returned to? I think, it is what the Repentant Thief referred to as Jesus' kingdom. It is where God is present. 

I don't know about you, but if there is any word that has gone viral and has been underscored day in and day out due to Covid-19 pandemic, it is the word "home". Government leaders, health professionals, and netizens have been telling us "Stay at home". As a result, the home has been converted into a workplace and a classroom for quite a number of people. I am still adjusting to this setup, but feel happy and grateful to be at home because it gave me more time to be with my family. Through our daily interaction at home, we are able to get to know more of, communicate with, and look after each other. The pandemic has been worrying that it felt good having someone to talk to at home and be reassured that everything will be alright in God's perfect time. We also have more time to pray together, asking God to be with us in these challenging times. The lockdown has also made us communicate more frequently with our family and friends here and abroad.  My siblings and I, as well as our own families, have prayed the Rosary together through Messenger.

St Therese of the Child Jesus once said, "I will spend my heaven doing good on earth". We may have been locked down at home because of the pandemic, but our mission goes on. In a way, the situation we are into is a potential occasion for grace to blossom in our homes: Jesus' Promised Paradise.




Prayer 

Loving Jesus, like the Repentant Thief, we humbly ask You to remember us too when You come into Your kingdom. 

Nurtured by your Second Word on the Cross:
grant fidelity to our calling as parents, spouses, or guardians in ensuring a safe and healthy home for us and those under our care;
grant reconciliation to those having tensions and arguments at home;
grant courage to those who are abused at home;
grant strength to those who cannot go or stay home because they work in the frontline of defense against the coronavirus;
grant comfort to the dying who would leave a void in their homes;
grant a warm welcome to those who have died in their true home with You.

Forgive us in those moments when we took our loved ones for granted. 
Please heal our homes and our world.

In Your merciful Name, we pray. Amen.


Third Word 2020

"He is your son… She is your mother." 

By Cristine Aye P. Balla, ECE

(Cristine has been working as an IC Layout Engineer for more than a year now. She is also a member of their local Church Choir. She is the eldest daughter of Anabelle Balla, our Faith Section Editor.)


Jesus loves His mother dearly. He does not want her to be alone and now that He won’t physically be there by her side, she needs someone to take care of her. At the same time, she needs someone to care of. Jesus reached out to His beloved disciple, John, to be there for His mother as family. 

Family. As Christians, we don’t just define family as those related by blood, through marriage or adoption. As Christians, we become brothers and sisters in Christ beneath the cross. We become a family in faith as we pray and worship the Lord as one. Like Mary and John, we must love and care for each other as family. And to care and love for someone entails sacrifice and the best way to make another feel love, is to show them in practice. Similar to our society today, there are people who need care like the poor, needy, and unloved. There are also those who are widowed, orphaned, homeless, depressed, and hopeless. As a family in Christ, He is reaching out to us to love and show our care for these people. 


Since the beginning of the year, here in the Philippines, we have experienced a lot of challenges with the threat of Taal Volcano erupting last January. I even had office mates who were really affected as they lived near the volcano and we kept on asking for their updates and if they were still OK. Those were times that I felt fear and worry for them so I kept praying for their safety. And I was relieved when everyone I knew who were really affected have safely evacuated. Then I felt really blessed when I kept seeing people around me take initiative to help and send their share of donations throughout the duration of that event that even the evacuation centers had to politely decline donations because they were already overflowing. And although I wasn’t there personally to hand over the donations, I prayed that our donations reached those who really needed them. 


After Taal eruption comes the pandemic COVID-19. Unlike a volcanic eruption which we could see, this virus is an invisible enemy which has cost lives, locked down nations, and crippled the economy. In spite of the pain and suffering this virus has caused, these times present an opportunity to strengthen our bonds and stand strong against these challenges. With that said, I was saddened by the news of people fighting over toilet papers and alcohol. Hoarding so much more than you need could mean that someone out there is lacking. So weeding out this selfish mindset, we should improve and reflect on our actions and how it could affect other people. With that, I hope everyone would realize that even in our own little ways we could show our love and care through sharing and prayer as a family.  

Pope Francis said in his Urbi et Orbi for an end to the coronavirus pandemic: "How many people every day are exercising patience and offering hope, taking care to sow not panic but a shared responsibility. How many fathers, mothers, grandparents and teachers are showing our children, in small everyday gestures, how to face up to and navigate a crisis by adjusting their routines, lifting their gaze and fostering prayer. How many are praying, offering and interceding for the good of all. Prayer and quiet service: these are our victorious weapons".

Family. That's our calling. That's the way forward.





Prayer 


Dear Lord,
We adore You and recognize that You are reaching out to us to love one another as a family in Your Name. We are sorry for the times we forget You and what You have done for us. We thank You for the salvation You have brought to us. Please help us realize that our own actions will have an impact on those around us. Guide us to act with compassion like You. United with Mary, Your beloved Mother and our Mother, strengthen our bond as a family and our journey towards You. Amen.


Fourth Word 2020

"My God, my God, why did you abandon me?"


By Celine Yap Mendoza

(Celine is a Certified Supply Chain Professional and is currently based in Malaysia as a Procurement Operations Manager for a multinational firm. She is actively involved in her local Parish of the Church of Divine Mercy.)


Forsaken. Deserted. Abandoned. Alone. Isolated.

With the movement control order imposed in Malaysia due to Covid-19 since mid-March, I have been home alone for more than 10 days now. Sitting in front of my computer and getting my thoughts together for this reflection, I feel even more isolated. I feel even more alone. I feel sad. Vulnerable.

My initial thoughts about this whole deal were all primarily positive. 
Yey! I get to work from home. 
Great! I will be able to get more work done. 
Woohoo! I get more time to myself and an even a happier thought of Yes! I don’t need to take my bath before my workday starts. 

It seems however, I was not prepared for the many other things of isolation ……
Extreme quietness. Contained space. Emptiness. Not knowing what is going on outside of my own front door.

Knowing everyone else is stuck at home, I had that distinct feeling of being abandoned and deserted. No one to take care of me. No one to talk to. No one to hug. No one to entertain me. No one to comfort me. Just no one. it feels heavy; physically heavy and heavy on the heart.

What if I don’t feel well? I am on the verge of crying out, “Somebody get me out of here!”



Episodes of my life over the past year did a flashback. My being alone brought me back to
the time when my dad was seriously ill. It was a very difficult time for me since I had to work and live miles and miles away from my family. It was not the set up that I would have wanted but I had no choice. Medical bills and others had to be paid and I was determined to do whatever I can to try to extend my dad’s life. He was fighting so I had to fight with him.  It was a very lonely ordeal. There were many days when I would go home from work to an empty apartment and just cry. I could not show this weak side of me to my family; I had to be that strong person they needed to keep them going as well. So, I cried alone. Those were the days when I felt the most deserted. My dad succumbed to heart attack as a complication to diabetes and kidney failure. In my heart and in my prayers, I cried out to the Lord, “Why?, Why my dad? Why me and my family?” 

Was this how Jesus felt when he cried out to the Lord – “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Is it that even Jesus felt abandoned too? Did He deserve to be abandoned? But did He blame the Lord? Or was He trying to cry out louder for more attention? Was He reaching out even more, so God takes notice of His suffering, answers Him and heals Him?

I would like to think it was the latter. Isn’t our God bigger than our biggest problems after all?
We have to believe that He is. He is the master planner, the alpha and the omega, the almighty. He knows our needs even before we ask. Easier said than done, I know, but with faith and trust, we will know we just need to cry out even more and reach out even more.  When we feel God is not listening and not answering, let us storm the heavens even more. One day soon, He will hear us. I trust He will.

I continue to cry to this day for the loss of my dad. But I am putting my trust and faith in the plans of the Lord. I may not have gotten all the answers for all my Whys yet but in time, the Lord will. I know He will in His perfect time. He will meet me in the end. 

Through the aches and pains, I have somehow learned:
- To be strong enough to continue to call and reach out to the Lord despite all the challenges and trials in my life.
- To not be quick to abandon Him every time things don’t go the way I want them to.
- To continue to pray and pray even harder when I feel He has not heard me, and not be shy to ask others to pray for me and with me.
- Finally, to do my best to support my family and friends, and those I interact with especially when they are lonely, feel rejected or when they feel not needed. I know a small gesture will go a long way.

My friends, let the Lord lead the way. Let Him take you where He wants you to be. His plan is perfect.


Prayer 

When we cry alone, Lord give us a warm tight hug. 
When we feel weak and lonely, Lord give us the strength to carry on.
When we forget to call on You, Lord tap us on the shoulder and remind us You are here.
We believe in Your perfect plan for us and that You will never abandon us. Keep us firm in the faith. Amen.


Fifth Word 2020

"I am thirsty!"

By Cereza Ana P. Balla 

(Cereza studied at De La Salle University-Dasmarinas and graduated in Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. She is the second eldest daughter amongst four sisters.)

It is a phrase people usually say when they are parched and in need of some refreshment. However, this phrase is also used by some people to express their desire for something they probably lack. Some long for affection. Others yearns for more knowledge. There are several who crave for power or lust for revenge, while there are those who thirst for something else.  But if it is Jesus who utters the words “I am thirsty”, what do you suppose He is thirsting for?

Looking at what is stated in John 19:28 ---“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.” ----; it is possible that Jesus thirsts for the sweet relief of reaching the end of His suffering while being assured that everything will fall into place in accordance with God’s divine plan for the people’s salvation, after which He will be able to rest in the presence of His father in heaven.

Indeed, who wouldn’t wish for success after going through a lot of difficult things and persevering until the end? 

That aside, the moment Jesus said, “I thirst”, it was as if He was showing us that whatever circumstances we may be in, it would be alright to have moments of weakness and that it is okay to admit when we are feeling distressed or exhausted, because no matter what, God will always be there to support us and give us rest. He will be there to aid us and assure us that everything will turn out alright in the end.


“Bahala na…” is a phrase that I admittedly use a lot. I use it when I am too lazy to deal with something in a particular moment. I use it when I am feeling frustrated due to being unable to progress much with the task at hand. I use it when I have reached the end of my patience and no longer wish to deal with the task at hand. I use it when I feel like I could no longer think of anything to do that would improve the project or assignment I am working on. I use it when I submit my exam papers, and not really feeling confident with my answers. I use it when I am losing hope that I could do more. That aside, I also use it despite wanting to plow through and do more instead of leaving it to chance. I use it regardless of knowing I could probably squeeze some more motivation and skills to use to assure the success of my goal. Nonetheless, I still use it because I just want things to be over and done with. I use it because I am running on empty and am simply yearning and praying that some divine miracle would take over and things would turn out fine.

As it was said earlier, everyone longs for different things. But whatever one thirsts for, it could never be obtained unless one spends time and effort to obtain it. However, I believe that as long as we stay strong in our faith with God, we can continuously pursue what we have set are our hearts on, without the fear of not being able to find relief in between the struggles and numerous obstacles that we are sure to face along the way. 





Prayer 

Lord, our beloved Light and Savior, we are sorry for the times when we have failed to adhere to Your will and strayed from Your path. We are sorry for those moments when we let our own pride stop us from reaching out not only to others but to You as well. Thank You O Lord, because despite our wrongdoings, You never ceased to support us and lead us back to the righteous path.  We also give thanks for Your presence in our lives, for continually reassuring us that every difficulty we have and will face will all be worth it in the end. We ask of You, O Lord, to be our strength when we feel weak, and to give us rest when we are weary. Amen. 


Sixth Word 2020

"It's Finished!"
By Weldann Lester A. Panganiban

(Weldann was a secondary school teacher from Malabon City. He now lives in the Holy Land to discern God’s calling for him.)

“Tapos na ba iyang ginagawa mo?”

Palasak na sa akin ang tanong na ito bilang isang guro. Palagi ko itong naririnig kapag may taong hinihintay akong matapos ang ginagawa kong lesson plan kasi aalis kami, o yung grade ng section niya sa akin kasi nagmamadali siya sa pag-eencode. Tinatanong ko rin ito sa mga estudyante ko kapag may pinapagawa ako sa kanilang performance task. Madalas sa hindi, hindi nila natatapos on-time ang task, kaya tila ba namumuti na ang mata ko sa kakahintay na matapos sila, kasi hindi kami maka-proceed sa lesson namin. 

Bahagi na ng buhay natin ang magtanong kung ang isang bagay ay tapos na, o kung ang isang tao ay tapos na sa ginagawa niya. Mahalaga ito, kasi hindi tayo makakausad sa isang bagay hangga’t hindi natatapos ang ating ginagawa. Kadalasan, dinaratnan tayo ng katamaran, kaya hindi natatapos ang isang gawain ng tama sa oras. May mga bagay rin na hindi natin natatapos, sa di-mabilang na dahilan: pagkasawa, di-inaasahang pangyayari, o di kaya ay kamatayan. Gayunpaman, iisa lang ang atas sa atin kapag may isang bagay na pinagawa: ang tapusin ito.

Ngayon ay pagmasdan natin si Jesus sa Krus, ang taong tampok sa ating pagninilay sa araw na ito. Sa Ebanghelyo ni San Juan, mababasa natin na Siya ay nauhaw sa Kanyang pagkakabayubay sa Krus. Malamang, pagkatapos ng isang mahabang araw ng hirap, sakit, pagkutya at iba pang mga masasakit na bagay na naranasan Niya, ang naramdaman na lang Niya ay isang matinding pagkauhaw. Hindi nag-atubili ang sundalo na bigyan Siya ng maasim na alak sa pamamagitan ng isang espongha na ibinabad sa Kanyang mga tuyo at sugatang labi upang sipsipin. Pagkatapos ng lahat ng ito, ay Kanyang sinabi, NAGANAP NA! Iniyukayok Niya ang Kanyang ulo pagkatapos at nalagutan Siya ng hininga.

Bakit ganoon? Sa pag-inom lang ng alak, may natapos na si Jesus? Ano iyong bagay na iyon na natapos? Ang buhay Niya? Bakit sa ganitong paraan nasabi ni Jesus na may natapos Siya?

Sa mata ng mga saserdote at pariseo, natapos na nilang patayin ang taong kinakatakutan nila, isang taong inaangking Siya ay isang hari, isang anak ng Diyos. Tapos na nilang kitlin ang buhay ng isang taong sa tingin nila ay lumalapastangan sa kanilang Diyos, dahil diyan ay makakapamuhay na sila sa kapayapaan. May natapos nga sila, pero hindi pa pala iyon ang katapusan para sa taong kanilang pinahirapan. Sa likod ng kanilang ginawa ay may isang napakalaki, mahalaga, at banal na misyon na dapat gampanan ang taong kanilang pinatay. Lingid sa kanilang nalalaman, si Jesus ay may misyon rin pala na dapat tapusin, na Kanya ring natapos nang Siya ay mamatay sa krus.

Sa likod ng lahat ng pahirap na naranasan Niya, sa pagkakataksil sa Kanya sa hardin, sa paghatol sa Kanya ng Sanedrin, ni Pilato at ng taumbayan, hanggang sa Kanyang pagpasan ng Krus patungong Golgota, maging hanggang sa sandaling ipinako na Siya at ibinayubay sa Krus, ay isang banal at katangi-tanging misyon: ang iligtas ang sangkatauhan mula sa dilim ng kasalanan at kamatayan, at muli tayong pagkaisahin sa Diyos na Kanyang Ama. 

Isang misyon na hindi lamang Niya ginawa dahil dapat Niya itong gawin, kundi dahil sa malalim na pagmamahal para sa tao, para sa atin. At sa sandaling iyon, na halos babawian na Siya ng buhay, tinupad ni Jesus ang atas Niyang misyon. Buong kababaang-loob Niyang pinasan ang lahat ng hirap na dapat tayo ang magbata, at napagtagumpayan Niya ang bawat pasakit. Nang dahil dito, Kanyang isinigaw, mula sa krus, NAGANAP NA! NATAPOS KO NA!

Pero tapos na nga bang talaga ang misyong ito ni Jesus? Hindi! Hindi natapos sa kamatayan ang misyon ni Jesus, dahil matapos ang tatlong araw, Siya ay muling nabuhay! Ipinagkatiwala Niya sa Kanyang mga alagad ang misyon na ipalaganap ang Mabuting Balita, at ito ay nagpapatuloy hanggang ngayon sa pamamagitan nating mga naniniwala sa kaligtasang dulot Niya. 

Pagmasdan natin ang mga nagaganap sa ating paligid sa mga sandaling ito. Dahil sa virus na nasa paligid natin ngayon, ay hindi tayo makalabas ng bahay, may mga trabahong hindi matapos. Kakaibang Mahal na Araw nga ang nararanasan natin dahil hindi tayo makasimba dahil sa sakit na ito na nakakahawa at nakakabahala. Kahit nga walang virus, marami pa ring mga bagay, mga pangarap na hindi natin natatapos dahil mas pinipili nating gumawa ng sariling landas imbis na sumunod sa plano sa atin ng Panginoong Diyos. Sa halip na matapos natin nang maluwalhati ang iniaatas sa atin ni Jesus, tayo ay natatagalan at walang nagagawa dahil sa ating pagmamahal sa sarili at hindi pagbibigay-halaga sa ating kapwa. Nakakalungkot isipin na sa pagtatapos ng araw na ito, Biyernes Santo, ang karamihan sa atin ay babalik sa atin-ating sariling mga buhay at magdudulot ng paghihidwaan sa ating kapwa, sa halip na bumaling sa taong ipinako sa Krus at nag-alay ng buhay upang tayo ay magkaisa sa pagmamahal ng Diyos.

Kung atin lamang matatanto ang halaga ng sakripisyo ni Jesus sa Krus, kung atin lamang bibigyang-pansin ang halaga ng Kanyang natapos na misyon, hindi na tayo magdadalawang-isip na iwanan ang dati nating buhay at tanggapin ang misyong iniaatas Niya sa atin, ang ipalaganap ang Kanyang kaligtasan sa lahat ng tao, anuman ang nakaraan at pinagmulan. Hindi na tayo mag-aatubiling ipagdasal ang mga naghihirap, at mag-abot ng tulong sa mga nangangailangan. Hindi na tayo matatakot na ipakilala si Jesus sa mga taong hindi pa Siya nakikilala, sa mga taong nangangailangan sa pag-ibig Niya. Hindi matatapos ang ating buhay na hindi natatapos ang ating misyong ibahagi Siya sa buong mundo.

“Kumusta ka, aking kapatid? May natapos ka na ba?”

Kung itatanong ito ni Jesus sa atin, kung kukumustahin Niya ang ating nagawa upang magmahal ng kapwa at maging daan ng pagkakaisa at kapayapaan, ano ang ating isasagot? May natapos na nga ba tayo?




Prayer 


Panginoong Jesus, masdan Mo kaming dumudulog sa Iyong nakabayubay sa Krus. Hanggang sa sandaling ito, hindi pa namin nagagawa ang Iyong atas na magmahal, at ipakilala Ka sa aming kapwa. Maraming mga nagiging hadlang sa aming pagtupad sa aming tungkulin: pagkamakasarili, pagkayamot, ang aming kahinaan. Tulungan Mo kami sa bisa ng Iyong pagpapakasakit, upang aming maiwaksi ang mga bagay na nakakapaglayo sa amin sa biyaya Mo, at muling yakapin ang aming misyon upang magampanan nang wasto at naaayon sa Iyong banal na kalooban. Nawa, sa katapusan ng aming mga buhay, ay maiharap namin ang aming mga sarili sa Iyo na buong lakas-loob na sinasabing, natapos po namin ang Iyong inatas na misyon, naganap namin ang nais Mo. Amen.



Seventh Word 2020

"Father! Into your hands I place my spirit!"

By Cailin P. Balla

(Cailin is currently studying at De La Salle University- DasmariƱas in the STEM course.)


As Jesus said this, He breathed His last. With these words, Jesus displays a sense of trust, a sense of commitment, and a sense of surrender towards God. Jesus commends His spirit to God, and with it, He entrusts His whole being to God the Father. Even at His dying breath, Jesus stays committed to the Lord. Without fear, He accepts whatever may lie ahead, surrendering fully. For He knows, wholeheartedly, that God has a plan.

After life on earth, there is a life with God. In Jesus’ words, this is proven. Knowing that His end was near, Jesus still proclaims that His spirit be with the Lord. Truly, with God, there is everlasting life.

Jesus shouts out these words, despite His weakened state and his knowledge of His limited time. He knows that God could have heard His thoughts, but He chose to shout them out instead. These words might not have been uttered for Jesus Himself; He might have intended these for us to hear. It might have been God’s will, or it might have been Jesus’ will. Whichever it was, Jesus fulfilled that.


Jesus calls us to hear and be blessed. He calls us to entrust ourselves fully to the Lord, just like He had done. This is a call for us all, especially in this time of need. As the year 2020 progresses, we are faced with different challenges: a volcanic eruption, a near world war, and most recently, an increasing pandemic, Covid-19. We have to remember that God won’t abandon us, but we must also take action. Not everybody has the same privileges, so, as a true Christian, we should give when and where we can. Like Jesus’ commitment to the Father, we must also be there for others in sensitive times. As members of a community, we have to stand up and help others. And when we have done our part, like Jesus, let us entrust everything in Father's merciful hands.



Prayer 


Lord, You are all good and almighty. We recognize that You have a plan for us and we entrust our whole being to You. We would like to ask for Your forgiveness and mercy for the mistakes that we have committed both unknowingly and knowingly. We thank You, O Lord, for being our light and being our guide, especially in this time of need. We pray that You continue to be here, and to help us realize that everything we do has an effect on the wider community. Please help us through this sensitive time, Lord. Help us to put our trust in Your unfailing love. Amen.

Epilogue 2020

Prayer to the Most Holy Crucifix


I kneel at your feet, O Crucified Jesus, to adore and thank you for the gift of your life to me.
You wipe away my tears, you are my support in the difficult moments, you listen to my complaint; you accept my pain together with yours.

You know my tired heart, happy only to love you, and you help me to accept the difficulties of life.

Often I don't think of your pain and I come to present mine to you, but you set your hands on me and console me, you take care of my wounds with your love, you welcome me into your arms and make me feel your heart which burns of love for me.

I knock now at your heart asking for this grace...

If what I ask is according to your will, grant it to me, O Lord.

O Crucified Jesus, your Mother Mary is near to you; welcome all suffering people and be their consolation and hope. Amen.

***

Thank you, sisters and brothers, for joining in our Holy Week special. May Jesus' Seven Last Words continue to be a source of healing in our lives as individuals, as a country, as a Church, and as a world.




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