December 23, 2018 ~ St. Peregrine Laziosi Diocesan Shrine/ Jasper Christian Gambito. An advent recollection was held at St. Peregrine Laziosi Parish Hall on December 22, 2018 which was led by the Vicar-General of the Order of Servants of Mary, Rev. Fr. Rhett Ma. Sarabia, OSM. This year’s advent recollection focused on the story of the woman caught in adultery (Jn 8: 1-11). The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines adultery as marital infidelity (CCC 2380), however in his talk, Fr. Sarabia highlighted that adultery is not only confined on the relationship between men and women, but also on the relationship between man and his creator. Adultery happens most of the time when we shift our allegiance, our love, and our affection from the person whom we made commitment, and from God whom we are supposed to love with all our heart. The latter kind of adultery – is not only a violation of the sixth commandment, but also of the first commandment, as this is considered as a form of idolatry.
Although the story being highlighted in his talk is usually being given during the Lenten season, Fr. Sarabia said that it is also timely in preparation to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ because we were being challenged not to easily condemn and judge others since we too are full of blemishes before the eyes of God. The challenge of the story is to conquer our inner Pharisees since most of the time, we tend to see the errors of others, without considering that we too are committing mistakes.
Another point given by Fr. Sarabia is that as we receive God’s forgiveness through absolution given to us by the priest whenever we confess our sins, we are challenged to sin no more. He mentioned that as we were being freed from the bondage of sin through confession, we must challenge ourselves to abstain from sinning again in the future – thus giving us a chance for a new life. However, it doesn’t mean that because we made a confession once, we are not going to commit sin again. Being human beings, weakness and frailty is part of our human nature, but that should not become an excuse for us to make habitual sins. Without the will to let go of past transgressions, we will always become subjected to the bonds of sin.
Lastly, Fr. Sarabia said that we should never forget the real reason why we have the advent season and why we celebrate Christmas. Highlighting that Christmas is the Lord’s homecoming, the advent season then serves as the preparation period for that big event. And how will we able to prepare? Fr. Sarabia tells us that “we should clean ourselves so that we may become worthy to let the Lord to enter our hearts.”