“The Word Exposed”, Jesuit Communication Foundation’s (JesCom) acclaimed Sunday Scripture reflection and Catechism program, hosted its 2019 Easter Recollection before a fervent gathering last Sunday, May 5 at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum, Cubao, Quezon City
Addressing the gallery in his opening remarks, JesCom Executive Director Fr.Nono Alfonso SJ expressed his sincere gratitude for the participants’ timely presence and the unwavering dedication of recollection master, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.
“Now more than ever, we need to pray and reflect. We’ve heard of the bombings in Sri Lanka, where Christians are being massacred. Is it the ‘endgame’? Panalo na ba si Thanos ? And yet, we hold in faith that the risen Lord has already conquered death, sin and evil. May we truly believe the light in Christ will dispel darkness today,” he reassured.
“We are very grateful to Cardinal Tagle. Despite his busy schedule, being called upon to visit countries torn by civil wars, destroyed by calamities, famine, disasters, our beloved Cardinal finds time to shepherd us and pray with us. For this, we are deeply honored,” acknowledged Fr.Nono.
Touching on the recollection’s highlighted verse; Cardinal Tagle affirmed the all-encompassing definition of Easter spirituality found in St.Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians 5:8.
“What a beautiful summary of Easter spirituality. Darkness should be in the past tense. Now, we are under light of risen Lord. It is an ‘eternal now’, because Jesus is risen and not to be touched by death again. You are light in the lord- now, later, tomorrow, up to your entry into paradise,” he maintained.
“Easter brings with it an appeal, a challenge, and a vocation. We live not as children of darkness,but as children of light. Hinango na tayo mula sa kadiliman. Nabubuhay tayo sa liwanag. Mabuhay ka bilang anak ng liwanag,” reminded Cardinal Tagle.
Reflecting on several chapters from the Gospel of St.John, Cardinal Tagle led the faithful in discerning where ‘true light’ resides.
“Ang liwanag, kunektado sa buhay. Ang kadiliman kunektado sa kamatayan. Hindi natin binigbyan halaga and liwanag kapag ‘di tayo nakakaranas ng dilim. Sino ang liwanag? Ano ang liwang para sa atin? Si Hesus. He is the light of the world. He is our light. Whoever follows Jesus, will have not the light of worldliness, but light of life. Following him as our light, we find true life,” he imparted.
“However, even if light comes, and we believe that darkness will never overcome the light of Christ, the sad reality is people still prefer darkness. Si Hesus, dala ang liwanag, ngunit siya yung iniwan. In the garden of Gethsemane, his friends left him alone to face the darkness. But Jesus doesn’t allow his light to be overcome by discouragement. Before his final goodbye at the last supper, Jesus appeals to his disciples, ‘While you have light, believe in light. So that you may become children of the light,” advised Cardinal Tagle.
Cardinal Tagle also drew parallelisms between Christ’s own expression of “Children of the Light” and the motto “Lux in Domino” or more commonly known as “Light in the Lord”.
“We can be light in the Lord, if we are children of the light. The early Church had a beautiful image for this. Jesus is not only the ‘son’, but the ‘sun’. Yung araw, light. Tayo raw ay buwan. Yung moon, walang sariling light. Kumukha ang buwan ng liwanag sa araw . All of us disciples,ang tawag sa ministry natin, lunar ministry or ministry of the moon, shedding the light of the Lord here on Earth,” he explained.
“Kalian luamalabas ang buwan? Kapag madilim. Liwang ng Panginoon ang kailangan para mapawi ang dilim. Our recollection is a humble admission that, if there’s any light I could bring, it is not mine, it is of the Lord. Without the Lord, I have no light, I cannot be light,” related Cardinal Tagle.
Moreover, the Cardinal underscored the important role of the Sacrament of Baptism in cementing Catholics’ responsibility to be true carriers of ‘Light in the Lord’.
“Let us always make Baptism a spiritual event. It is the beginning of our becoming true light in the Lord, of life as a branch on the vine of the Lord. From whom do I draw my spiritual life? In Easter, we renew our baptismal promises, renouncing Satan. It’s an invitation to renew our relationship, union with Christ,” he urged.
Referring to St.Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Cardinal Tagle clarified how Baptism marks our total belongingness to the Lord.
“In Baptism, we are not properties. We are given the dignity of being the children of God. St. Paul uses the expression ‘slaves’ to mean, that from now on, we belong to God. When we live, we live for God. The late Fr.Eduardo Hontiveros said this best, ‘Walang sinuman ang nabubuhay para sa sarili lamang’.”
Prior to the solemn observance of the Holy Hour and the celebration of a festive, Filipiniana-inspired Holy Mass, Cardinal Tagle concluded the morning’s recollection by offering a heartfelt Easter prayer together with the faithful.
“Let my life be a candle o Lord that shines for you. The light of the Lord, light in the Lord, let my life be a candle that shines for you. You are the light. May I be a simple candle, for you and for others. Let us not be afraid of the darkness, for we know we have an eternal light, Jesus Christ who shares his light and life with us,”
“We pray for the courage to be his disciples, to live in him, in his light, knowing we don’t have in ourselves, but only his light. And may many people walking in darkness, see a million mornings, because of our little candles- of goodness, of sincerity, of patience, of gentleness, of truthfulness, of love. May I be a little candle for your light, o Lord.”