"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him ... All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure."

The same John who penned the passage above (1 John 3:2-3) envisioned in Rev 21 that nothing impure will enter the city of God. The emphasis is not on the exclusivity of the kingdom but on the will of God for all to enter, which is why He gave and showed the Way - Jesus. The Spirit is telling us to prepare for that which God has prepared for us. We who look forward to that hope are to purify ourselves to readiness. This is why our theme for the new liturgical year is “Purifying Ourselves Just As He Is Pure.”

There is no denying that as a church, we went through a ferocious storm. But just as undeniable is the fact that now is the time for us to march upon the land. In the midst of the tempest, God showed Himself faithful and revealed to us when we moved to Pasig that shortly, that is two or three years, we were going to enter His promise. We had no idea of the specifics but we had a substantial assurance of that which we were hoping for, though not yet seen. Now, we need to lay aside any residue of past experiences that may encumber or entangle us as we run with endurance the race set before us. We need to let it go, cut it off and cast it from us. And we need to learn to accept one another just as Christ accepted us, recognizing no one according to the flesh but seeing each other as bearers of God’s image, albeit a work in progress. This is the start of the purification process. The sooner we do this, the faster we enter life. And the further we progress in this trajectory, the fuller that life becomes.

We pray, "grant unto us ... the grace to build ... facilities in which Your people, being restored in Your image ... " God's image is Jesus, who led captive a host of captives, leaving no one behind. As we move on in our journey, we are to reflect that divine image and heed His admonition that started three years ago - “ang mabagal, tinutulungan, hindi tinutuya o iniiwan.” Today, we will march upon God’s promised land as one man and start to get used to walking, and dwelling, together in unity and solidarity. And as God many years ago impressed upon us, we will endeavor to be devoted to and give preference to one another, serve the Lord, persevere in tribulation, practice hospitality, bless and not curse, be of the same mind toward one another, not pay evil for evil, be at peace with each other, and overcome evil with good. We look forward to dwelling in the land, cultivating faithfulness and being united in spirit and intent on one purpose. This begins today as an act of fealty by Cathedral of the King to Christ the King. In relation to this, the clergy have also decided to make a commitment to strive for moral excellence.

 

Greater things are yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this city. They have not yet been made known. What we do know now is that we are children of God and we are to walk accordingly toward the city whose Architect and Builder is God. That is how we will tell the next generation of the praises of God, and His strength and wondrous works, His mercy, forgiveness and love. And that’s the way it is in the kingdom of our God.     Bp. Ariel P. Santos

From the shepherd's heart...

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