Parokia San Jose Mangmangged Parish Priest and SJCBI President Fr. Gerard Ariston Perez urged the faithful to give alms, sacrifice and pray during a Mass for Ash Wednesday at the Parish Church of Parokia San Jose Mangmangged.
“Daytoy ti ibagbaga ti Ebanghelio. Tallo ti iparpa-aramid na ni Hesukristo, daytoy ti three pillars of lent, nga agayunartayo, agkararagtayo ken aglimostayo,” Perez said in his homily.
(This is what the Gospel proclaims. Jesus Christ urges us to do three things, the three pillars of lent, fasting, prayer and almsgiving.)
Furthermore, Perez said that ASH, an abbreviation of the Almsgiving, Sacrifice and Holiness, covers three aspects: our relationship with others, ourselves and God.
The pastor said that the best way of almsgiving is to look at Jesus Christ on the cross.
“Saan nga nanglimos iti kuwarta [ni Hesukristo]…saan nga nanglimos ti anyaman ngiem mismo bagi na iti imbingayna, indatonna, indatagna para kadatay amin tapno isalakantayo,” he said.
(Jesus Christ offered neither money nor material things but shared, offered and laid down precisely His life to save us all.)
To renew our faith and our baptismal promises, Perez said we should be sympathetic towards the needs of others.
He also called on the faithful to make some sacrifices, such as fasting and being disciplined, to keep inordinate desires under check.
Explaining that fasting means more than eating less, the SJCBI president cited Pope Francis’ words:
Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.
Fast from anger and be filled with patience.
Fast from pessimism ad be filled with hope.
Fast from worries and have trust in God.
Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.
Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy
Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.
Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.
The congregation is also reminded of the two occasions of fasting and abstinence, Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent.
Perez rallied his flock to follow the ‘path of holiness’ through constant prayer. He said that it is through constant prayer that one strengthens, deepens and nurtures a healthy, sturdy, beautiful and meaningful relationship with God.
He highlighted the Sacrament of the Eucharist as the best form of prayer and urged the faithful to visit the Blessed Sacrament in the adoration chapel.
The Vicar General prayed for the faithful that, at the end of their Lenten journey, they may emerge as ‘renewed and committed faithful followers of Jesus Christ.’
by: Reagan Q. De Leon