“Rediscovering the Power of the Sacraments this Lent” by Javier Luis Gomez

Over the last three Saturdays, the parish has sponsored a series of Lenten talks under the theme “REDEEMED”. Each talk focuses on a different sacrament in the life of the Church and how the sacraments are realities that continue in our lives as Catholics up till this very day.

The first talk was entitled “BLOOD and WATER” and was focused on the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. It was given by Javier Gomez, a lay theologian and instructor at Ateneo de Manila University. Following Pope Francis suggestion, he advised us all to “reawaken the memory of our Baptism and Confirmation.” We shouldn’t remember these two sacraments as merely events that took place in the past. Instead, to “remember” our Baptism and Confirmation means that we allow these sacraments to continue to affect our lives as followers of Christ today. Pope Francis says that is important for us to remember the day that we were immersed in the stream of God’s salvation – the day that we became a part of God’s family.

The second speakers were Tony and Dottie Pasya, a married couple who are the chapter heads of the Couples for Christ in Santuario de San Antonio. The title of the talk was “SACRAMENT” which focused on the sacrament of matrimony. Tony emphasized the power of the sacrament and how it gives husband and wife the supernatural grace to be loyal, loving and faithful to each other. Above all, Tony shared about the power of forgiveness and how it is essential to sustaining a marriage. Dottie offered many practical tips to developing not just a God-centered marriage, but a God-fearing family. In our times when the family is subject to so many opposing external forces, fostering a family centered on love is so key.

Our third talk was entitled “MERCY” and was centered on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. During this time of Lent, this theme is especially important to us. Lent is the time for us to return to God. Pope Francis himself has placed so much emphasis on this, designating this very weekend – March 29-30 – as a “24 hour period to come back to the Lord.” The talk was given by Jolly Gomez, who is involved with the parish prison outreach at Makati City Jail. In his talk, Jolly focused on the many ways that the seven deadly sins separate us from God’s love, and how each one can be remedied through the practice of particular virtues. Finally he invited everyone to return to God through the sacrament of reconciliation.

There is still one more yet to come. The fourth and final talk of the REDEEMED series will focus on the most important sacrament in the life of a disciple of Jesus today. This Saturday, the last talk – entitled “BREAD and WINE” will focus on the Eucharist. Our speaker will be Sister Marietta Vega, abbess of the Kidapawan monastery for the Poor Clares. These sisters are famous for their Eucharistic piety and she will share with us her experiences of the power of the Eucharist, both in their tradition and for each and every one of us today. This is definitely a talk you don’t want to miss.

So please join us for the last talk of REDEEMED – this Saturday, April 5 from 9am to 12noon at the Parish Center. It is a blessing and an opportunity that God has given us to deepen our faith and continue our lives of conversion.

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Javier teaches at the Ateneo de Manila University and is the head of the Evangelization Ministry at Santuario de San Antonio. He continues to work with young people both in and out of the parish.

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