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Sunday, April 24, 2011

From the bishops, this Easter Sunday

From the Easter Message of Msgr. Nereo Odchimar, Bishop of Tandag and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines:

...The glorious event of resurrection has once and for all crippled the fortress of darkness. This incorruptible remembrance of God putting an end to the definitiveness of death is a strong message of hope—that in all of this, every work of evil shivers before the power of goodness. 
This good news must first and foremost be preached to “the regions beyond us (2 Cor. 10:16).” St. Paul had these encouraging words: “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things (Rom. 10:15)!” It is equally unjust of us not to proclaim the triumphant joy of Easter to those who are seeking for light and life. To those whose hearts are hardened by pride and humanly motivated principles, let none of us yield to an idle surrender. Let the gospel be preached untiringly. 
What awaits us ahead of this earthly life is life in immeasurable abundance. Hence, it is unlikely of us to fear as we preach the truths of our faith. We are now the victorious children of resurrection and we despise every form of attack against the dignity and welfare of humankind. With renewed vigor, let us become builders of social transformation. Let us work for peace that lasts and justice that enhances human condition. Let us not be selfish as to deprive others of their right to live. Let us not be too clever as to deceive others to our own advantage. Let there be Easter in our midst by our presence that loves and cares.
From the Easter Message of Msgr. Socrates Villegas, Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan:
The victory of Easter is the victory of the Greatest Lover of all who died that we may have fullness of life. We who are an Easter people must pour love into our bleeding world, bind the wounds of our society and bring it back to life—through love. 
If indeed we are people ready to love, we must make our Easter Sunday an occasion to bring an end to cold indifference—walang pakialam! Love cares. Love gets involved. Love reaches out. 
The risen Lord pricks us to get involved in politics and make it a liberating not a corrupting kind of politics. The risen Lord urges us to bring Christian ethics to economics and put charity not profit as its overriding principle. The risen Lord sends us on a mission back to Galilee to restore all things to him. Easter people: spread the values of Christ! 
If love has indeed fully possessed us, then we must break out of our protective shells of our insensitivity and heartlessness—walang pakiramdam. Love takes responsibility. Love is rich in mercy. Love is kind. We cannot continue with Easter and continue to ignore the poor. It is not hard to meet the poor if we are not playing blind to their presence. We cannot claim to be an Easter people and yet not do anything about the silent moans of aborted babies. We cannot sing Alleluia and remain insensitive to rising criminality, the commercialization of sex and the unabated availability of shabu in the neighborhood. Easter people: act now! 
If we are truly an Easter people and love is our rule of life, we must destroy callousness and audacity—walang hiya. Contraception is corruption of love and life. It is not a solution. It will only open more problems for the soul of our nation. Sin is abnormal. Obedience to the Ten Commandments is normal. Let us not extol impurity and ridicule virtue. Polluting the minds of children by teaching them sex without God cries to heaven for divine justice. Easter people: stand up for life! 
Love is a verb not a noun. Easter is a mission not just an event. We can only share in the glory of this greatest of all days by making love reign supreme. 
Goodbye indifference and apathy.
Goodbye insensitivity and heartlessness.
Goodbye callousness and audacity. 
Let us live in love, for love and with love. Let us love. Easter is a feast of love and only those who love will see the glory of the Risen Christ!

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