April 20, 2019 ~ St. Peregrine Laziosi Diocesan Shrine/ Jasper Christian Gambito. Rev. Fr. Albert Ma. Tulang OSM along with Rev. Fr. Alfredo Ma. Biong OSM, Rev. Fr. Dominador Ma. Javier OSM, Rev. Fr. Brian Ma. Eala OSM, Rev. Fr. Paul Martin Ma. Gapuz OSM, and Rev. Fr. Edgar Ma. Benedi-an OSM, presided the Veneration of the Cross this year at St. Peregrine Laziosi shrine. In his homily, Fr. Tulang told the faithful that the greatest love story ever told to mankind is not written on any books nor texts but rather on the cross.
Love story on the cross?
In ancient times, especially for the Romans, the cross symbolizes shame, sin, and death. Convicted rebels, murderers, and law offenders usually meet their fate on the cross. It is the way of the Romans to show to the Jews that anyone who will commit crime shall suffer grave consequences.
Jesus, who did not committed any crime at all, was crucified on the cross. He was mocked by the Romans and the Jews who He ought to save. However, Jesus’ death on the cross is not a shameful one, for it is through His suffering and death that He gave us new life. Thus, the cross which formerly symbolizes sin and death was transformed to become a symbol of grace and life.
Jesus’ death on the cross is the way of our Lord to tell us that He loves us and that He is ready to suffer just to save us from sin. No greater love story could match this.
A Suffering God
Although the cross symbolizes Jesus’ love for mankind, it is also a reminder that the love which our Lord bought for us is paid at a dear price – to a point that He suffered and sacrificed His own life in order to give us new life.
Yes. Our God suffered. He died on the cross. He experienced human frailty. He experienced human weaknesses. It is through these experiences that God has been able to relate to mankind’s suffering, thus it is worthy to say that He understands our ups and downs.
Sadly, Fr. Tulang lamented that we humans were expecting for a God that will ease all of our sufferings. Of course God could easily to that. He is omnipotent. He can do everything. But we must also remember that He, although God, did suffered and died on the cross. He did not escaped suffering but rather accepted suffering as a way of redeeming the mankind.
Jesus was sent here on earth to become our savior. He came here to take away our sins and weakness so that through this act, we may be freed from our sufferings. We are reminded that suffering is an intricate part of our Christian life for it is through suffering that we can attain salvation.
Fr. Tulang emphasized that we will be saved by Jesus through suffering, not in suffering. We should be brave enough to accept suffering because in the end, we are comforted with the fact that Jesus is with us in carrying our daily crosses.
The Veneration of the Cross was followed by the procession of the Santo Entierro along the National Road.