One thing that I feel a little bit squeamish about liturgy is that our exuberance had been stifled. We only do the rubrics as indicated or required in the Mass. The Holy Spirit indwells in us, and there is nothing wrong in the liturgy when it is the Holy Spirit that prods us. We do things during the Mass for order, but we also need to be led by the Spirit in our worship.
It is a great time for our Church. Twenty years ago, Aug 3, 1997 was the last Mass in Magallanes Theater. August 5, 1997 is the time that the siege came and many members of our Church were waiting for the fate of some who were still inside the Theater. I say this because we should see how blessed we are in this facility that God has provided and we must never ever forget the blessings of God in our lives. I constantly harp on this and remind us that when we are in the Mass, I would like us to have the understanding of the experience of the love of God that is more than just a ceremony or a going through the rituals of gestures and vestments.
During the 90’s, we had seven Masses, and I was there for these seven Masses. I was thinking then how I will survive them. I would come in when the sun was not yet up, and I would leave when the sun is already down. One thing that kept me going, one thing that I would not like the enemy to steal from me, from us, is that the Sunday experience that we have is not a ceremony but the life of God being shared with His people. It is the life and the power of God that continues to flow in each of us, thus, we must not allow ourselves to be robbed of it because it is the glory of God that is going to come in.
The question is: what really matters in our lives? What catches our attention and our priority? Ordinary Time is about our Christian life. We are on the 16th Sunday – halfway through the year. How much of God have we allowed to enter into our lives? Our journey is a journey of faith. It is a day to day dramatic journey of God’s love expressed in moments of trials, testing problems, tribulations and difficulties but which is also expressed in victory, in joy, in exultation, in wonder, and in awe. This is the love of God. It is a daily encounter with God’s favor – that Divine, amazing grace that gives us the ability to overwhelmingly conquer. Ordinary Time is about victory – our victory in Christ.
In Psalm 34, is says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers him from them all.” If we think being a Christian insulates us from the world, then we have not understood the Scriptures. St. Peter said in 1 Peter 4:12, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you which comes upon you for your testing as though some strange thing were happening to you.” Christian life has its trials and tests to prove the power of God that is within us that can overcome these situations.
In the physical, real world we live in today, we are consumed by, impassioned by the drive for material possessions, particularly money. It is something that should have been helpful to us but has enslaved us instead. In the end, it leaves us exhausted and empty. Material possession does not fill the void within us that we thought would be filled when we have something. Ecclesiastes 1:12-14(NLT) “I, the Philosopher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I determined that I would examine and study all the things that are done in this world. God has laid a miserable fate upon us. 14 I have seen everything done in this world, and I tell you, it is all useless. It is like chasing the wind. 15 You can't straighten out what is crooked; you can't count things that aren't there.”
In the world we live in, we want to have something now! This is why people use their credit cards or go through an installment plan to get something for themselves. We want to get the most of something with the least amount of effort. We are captivated by the consumerism and the urge to have more, to buy more, and to shop for more.
The Business World dated October 6, 2018 has for its headlines “It’s a Mall World” that says that despite of the recession in the world, the Philippine mall industry had stood out. Statistics shows that for the 3 leading malls operators in the country as of 2018, SM has 67 malls with 6 more to be built before the year ends. Ayala Malls had 57 malls with 6 more malls to be built and Robinsons has 47 with 4 more to be built. In the issue of Nikkei Asian World last