Saturday, June 17, 2017

Culture Nurture: Re-examining Christianity This Holy Week and Remembering the Place of Christ in Our Lives by James U. Sy Jr.

With Rev. Fr. Mario Sobrejuanite, SSP, of the the TV Healing Mass of the River of Living Water Catholic Community after celebrating Eucharist in the 3rd quarter of 2008 at the SM Mega Mall Chapel, Mandaluyong City (James U. Sy Jr./CMAS photo). The sermons of Fr. Mario Sobrejuanite, SSP, on the two Sundays just before the Holy Week, March 13 and 20, 2016, in his TV Healing Mass program broadcasted over at Channel 6 (Sky Cable) best summarize the teachings of the Christian faith and how it differs and stands out from the myriad of religions practiced all over the world. On the first Sunday, Fr. Sobrejuanite talked about the elders and scribes bringing a sinful woman to Jesus Christ, condemning her, and asking the Great Teacher if they were to stone her as commanded in the law outlined by Moses. The elders and scribes, who disliked Jesus, were actually trying to entrap him. If He replies yes, they will accuse him of not following his own teachings of mercy; if He says no, they will accuse him of disobeying the laws. But the wisdom of the Great Teacher was way above them, He gave them no reply. When they persisited, He told them, “Those with no sin cast the first stone.” No one did and the people started leaving one after the other. The woman was left, with admittance to her own sins. She was sent away by Jesus and told not to sin again. On the second Sunday, Fr. Sobrejuanite reminded us how Jesus Christ accepted his fate of crucifixion. When He was given the cross, He embraced it in acceptance. His crucifixion and subsequent demise was never a result of any random chance but a destined sacrifice for Him to save humanity from its sinfulness. While the ancient Greeks and Romans practiced polytheism, or religions with many Gods, Christianity is monotheistic, believing in only one true God in three persons. The Great Commandment of the 10 Commandments clearly states this, “I am the Lord, thy God. Thou shalt not have false Gods before me.” And Jesus Christ said, “No one goes to the Father except through me.” His teachings, his words, his Good News, can be found in the Bible, a book which in itself is a testament to a merciful, almighty God. The Bible is unique because it is consistent all through out in its teachings, despite the fact that it was written by 40 authors, who were not related and came from different walks of life and different eras. Two different people from the same place, of the same occupation, and of the same time period will differ in beliefs and perceptions; more so for people of different backgrounds, hometowns, and timeline. Yet, what they have written remains consistent. The Catholic Church tells us why, because the Bible is the inspired word of God. While humans wrote it, they were guided by God who is infallible. In comparison, other religious texts have conflicting parts. Unlike the Gods of the Incas and Mayans who were given human sacrifices to appease them, the God of Christianity is a God of mercy and love, who is known to forgive those who have sinned. The sinner woman mentioned in the sermon was but one example. In John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The Holy Week is a time to contemplate and to reevaluate our relationship with God. He has blessed us with what we have and He has died for our sins, no God from other religions is known to have done so. We are blessed and we should be ever grateful for the chance to repent and turn our backs from sin and be with God for eternity.

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