December 16, 2019 – First Day of Misa de Gallo
Is 56:1-3a,6-8; John 5:33-36
Today, on this first day of Misa de Gallo, our Filipino Church also dedicates this day as the National Youth Day.
I would like to invite you now that we listen to personal faith story from one of our Youth Missionaries. He has served in our missions in a remote Mission Station in Davao Occidental and in the missions in Bukidnon. Let us welcome, Edgar Vladimir Tecson.
Good morning everyone! I am going to share with you the journey of my faith.
It all started in my elementary days when my father asked me to be an altar boy here in Redemptorist Church. I became an altar boy from grade 5 to grade 6. Every Holy Week, I actively joined the activities conducted by the RYM especially the “Passion Play” on Good Friday.
I officially joined Redemptorist Youth Ministry in the year 2011. In 2014, I was invited to join the “General Youth Mission” in Maramag, Bukidnon for two weeks. After that mission, I became an active participant in every youth activity here in our parish.
And then came 2016! During that year, I was invited by our Youth Coordinator to join the Mission Team and be a full member. I accepted the challenge and became part of the Davao Redemptorist Mission Team that was based in Nuing Mission Station, Jose Abad Santos, Davao Occidental for three years. In that mission experience in Nuing Mission Station, I have known God more.
When I arrived at the mission area, I have experienced that God is really alive. I’ve seen it through the locals in that area. I have encountered different types of people, especially our “lumad” brothers and sisters in the upland areas. Through them, I have really felt the presence of God since they were always calling His name in every situation that they would face in life. Their faith helped me a lot to strengthen my faith’s foundation because whatever problems they may have, they would always say, ‘Eleg se Ontong te Temenem’ (Thank You Lord!). Until this very moment I bring that attitude with me, to be always grateful to the Lord, no matter what.
As a youth missionary, I was able to understand deeply the goodness of God. I learned to be thankful in every blessing that comes.
I want to say thank you to all my co-missionaries in Davao Redemptorist Mission Team and the Redemptorist Youth Ministry because you have taught me so many things to deepen by faith journey as a young person. And also to my family, thank you for letting me know and experience God’s love from the very beginning.
Let me end this with a verse , TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING, IN ALL YOUR WAYS SUBMIT TO HIM, AND HE WILL MAKE YOUR PATH STRAIGHT ” (from the Book Proverbs 3:5-6)
Thank you so much and Good morning! God bless us all. Amen.
We commonly call Edgar Vladimir as Bhady. What we have heard from Bhady’s faith story was the wonder of having people and even recognizing events in life that have directed us towards Jesus.
The experiences of Bhady remind us of the readings we have heard today. The Book of Prophet Isaiah tells us of the presence of the foreigners. These foreigners have joined themselves to the Lord. They too have recognized the wonders of the Lord God. This tells us that the Hebrew people who have become their friends created a huge impact in their life because through them, they were led to the one True God.
Indeed, it was the joy that they have experienced from the believers of God that they too were assisted to know God. God even promised in the Book of Isaiah that through the presence of the many peoples, there will be joy in the house of prayer, in the community.
This is what we find also in the Gospel. Jesus recognized the person of John the Baptist, his cousin who became that person for others to know Jesus. John the Baptist led the people to recognize God in the person of Jesus by preparing their hearts and minds. This is how John had become a reflection of the True Light. John never assumed that he was the source of Light. John knew very well who the light was. That is why, through his preaching and way of life, he reflected the light that came from Jesus. John, indeed, is the burning and shining lamp for the people.
On this first day of Misa de Gallo, we are reminded too of the person of Mary who through her, God entered in our human history physically. Through her, Jesus was born for us. Mary too is the shining lamp that leads us to Jesus. This is the reason why we have this 9-day Misa de Gallo in honor of Mary because she leads us to Jesus.
With that, today our liturgy is also centered on the theme, “Entering into Dialogue with the World in which we live in.” This means that our encounter with the different people in our life is the dialogue that we have with the world.
Because in every encounter, we are also presented with a story.
Bhady’s story tells us of his many encounters with the world through the people who have become significant in his faith-journey. Those foreigners in the Book of Isaiah were able to dialogue with God also through their encounter with the Hebrews. The Jewish people who came to believe Jesus, had a dialogue first with John the Baptist that also paved the way for them to dialogue with others and with Jesus. This dialogue now became the very space of encounter between a person and Jesus.
This is the invitation for us today. Considering the way of life of the many young people today. The internet has become a space for encounter, though virtual. In fact, our country Philippines has been branded as the Social Media Capital of the World. There are about 76 millions of Filipinos spending as much as 4 hours a day on social media sites.
With this, let us maximize the gift of technology by bringing people closer to Jesus through the very gadget in our hands and through the media that we are very familiar with. Indeed, the Lord invites us today, especially the young to be “a Social Media Influencer” in our own group of friends in Facebook or Instagram.
Dialogue and create encounters with your friends and followers by sharing God experiences in your social media sites. This include also sharing on how God shows his goodness and generosity to you and your family. Preach to others how God changed your life. Share with others how you have experienced love and forgiveness. Share with your friends the Word of God that has struck you. Share the good news rather than your hatred and bitterness towards others, rather than fake news and misinformation.
Thus, even as young persons, we can be an instrument of hope and love, of transformation and peace by bringing people closer to Jesus. Let us flood the Social Media with love and hope by actively preaching our Christian faith.
May I also remind you, as we maximize the gift of technology, never forget also the gift of your presence in making physical and personal encounters with people around you, with your family and friends. With that, be present by being the present/gift to people.
Lastly, I would like to invite all of you who have your phones right now, after this mass, please take a selfie or grofie with your friends in this Church and share to others the good news that you have received and use these hashtags, #encounterwithjesus #nationalyouthday #omphdavao #SANAALL.
Jom Baring, CSsR