Homily of Rev. Robert Arellano, LRMS
I greet you all in the name of peace, hope and love. Praised be our Father, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
At this vital time in our nation’s history, many things had changed and are still changing. We are in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and it seemingly affected the face of the world. Its birth gives rise to global dilemmas and worldwide panic. Unexpectedly, the universe was caught unprepared to its rapid spread causing severe sufferings. Our modern world is so enormous in terms of growth, inventions and discoveries but its movement seemed to stop-and-collapse, when these sub-microscopic viruses ranging from 5 to 300 nanometers silently penetrated our busy structure. For more than a year now, we witnessed how countries stumble and brawl. Lockdowns were imposed to municipalities, cities, schools, universities, hotels, sports arena and amusement centers. Classes were suspended, causing several postponements of school programs and activities. According to World Economic Forum, there are more than 1.2 billion children in 186 countries affected by school closures.
This pandemic has truly affected everyone. It brought us fears in so many ways. A pandemic is not just a medical phenomenon; it causes economic and social decline, mental anxieties, psychological stress and global stigma. That’s why some of our brethren, have lost their hope and faith in God, some have surrendered and sadly some had come to the point of committing suicide in order to escape life’s pains and tragedies. Yet, in our First Reading today - Tobit remained faithful to the Lord despite life’s misfortunes. Tobit had almost given up in life due to devastating grief. What we can learn from our first reading today is the wisdom that suffering is not a punishment from God but it is a merely test. God in the long run does reward the just and those who remained faithful to Him. The believer is called upon to trust God and live his way. Isn’t this is what faith is all about? To believe in God no matter what happens -whether good or bad. Although we might encounter painful experiences, whether it is in our life struggles or in our relationship with God, that doesn’t make life bad. In fact, God can absolutely use those events in order to change us and mold us to be the best version of ourselves. For God knows that what’s essential is that we might live our life in the fullness of His grace and truth.
In the Gospel, the Sadducees were attempting to lessen Jesus’ moral authority by trapping him in questions about the Resurrection. They appeared very religious and they were so stringent as far as their rituals were concerned. But their religion was in vain because it was centered only on “themselves”. As such, with “themselves” it would end. There was no hope beyond what they could gain in this life and there was no power beyond what they could master for themselves. However, Jesus’ view of resurrection was of unbelievable qualitative difference, beyond the capacity of people to imagine or understand. It would be the power of God at work, continuously reminding us of the reality of afterlife. What makes us believe is that Jesus’ resurrection proves that there is life after death. True enough that the Gospel today is a reminder that we are on a journey. Jesus is asking us to give attention to the ultimate goal of all our worldly labors. If we are not properly informed of our final goal, then our day-to-day priorities will not successfully aid us in reaching our final destination in heaven. God’s desire in creating each of us is that we share His love. Each human person’s life originates in the very love of God. It is sustained through this earthly journey by God’s love and is destined for a full participation in the eternal love of God. Therefore, we are to be attentive to the invitation from God to share in His mission. In our particular context as educators and the one’s involved in education ministry, there are also changes that took place in the structures of our academic endeavor. One of which is the movement to the digital world by which we are prompted by circumstances to engage in an online learning or oftentimes called the e-learning platforms. It is not easy to transition from what we used to do. Shifting from the “traditional classroom” or “face-to-face learning” into an “online and distance learning” requires a lot of patience and perseverance. It takes courage to adopt, to continue and to grow. As Anatole France, a French novelist and writer once said: “To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” We dream because we believe and we believe in the power of our dreams. We are convinced that despite the ongoing surge of Covid-19 pandemic, we will rise and together we will conquer our fears. May saysay at kasaysayan ang ating mga ginagawa bilang taga-hubog ng mga mag-aral. Mayroon tayong misyon na ipamalas ang ating kahusayan, pagmamalasakit, katatagan ng loob at katapan sa paglilingkod. Ngayong panahon ng pandemya ay nakasisiguro akong hindi nagpabaya ang ating paaralan upang maihatid na walang patid ang mataas na kalidad ng edukasyon habang ang mga guro at mag-aaral ay nasa kani-kaniyang mga tahanan. It is with certitude how the Cluster 2 strived to provide an excellent, comprehensive and systematic approach to address the intellectual, emotional, social, moral, and spiritual needs of the students in an integrated educational format. Learning platforms are conducted in a safe, supportive environment that allows students to utilize their individual strengths and capabilities. All of us must be true to our commitment to foster a sense of value, to prepare students for professional life and to form genuine human persons that are animated by the Gospel spirit of freedom and charity.
Therefore, as we move forward, plan and desire to make things better for the school, our mission should always be attached in view of eternity. As educators, let us me mindful of that relationship of intimacy, fellowship and sweet communion that Jesus has come to redeem and save through His sacrifice for our sins. He gives us back our place of relationship with God. He gives us His promises and blessings in this mortal life and He seals our destination to be with Him in heaven. The journey towards eternal life is a spiritual path where we are expected to walk in the way Jesus wants us to walk than what we want to do for “ourselves”. We must always remember, without guidance and the help of Jesus, it is impossible to walk through the road to eternal life. AMEN.