Holy Week should lead to conversion – priest

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Vicar General Msgr. Higino Velarde, Parochial Vicar Fr Mark Lester Senina, and other priests concelebrating (Photo: Russel Palmares)

JARO, Iloilo City, March 23, 2016 – As the Church started Holy Week with commemoration of the Triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the faithful in this city were reminded that following the Lord in his humility ought to lead to personal conversion.

“Jesus, King of Israel, entered Jerusalem riding on a mere donkey,” Fr. Mark Lester B. Senina, Parochial Vicar of the Jaro Cathedral Parish, pointed out in the homily at the blessing of the palm branches.

To underline our Lord’s act of humility the priest asked the people “If you are a king, shouldn’t you be mounted on a horse or a chariot? Or, if we set it in our times, shouldn’t you be riding in a Mercedes Benz or another luxurious vehicle?”
“But, instead of a horse, Jesus rode on a donkey!” stressed Senina.

Everyone called to conversion

To help discover one’s particular point of conversion, the priest called upon each to examine himself, “You might be a king, but you are greedy. Do you think you are a true king? You might be a queen but you look down on the poor. Do you think you are a true queen? You are a king but you cheat on the salaries of your employees. Do you think you are a true king? You might be an emperor but you are corrupt. Do you think you are a true emperor? You are a king but, at the same time, a drug lord. Do you think you are a true king? You won in the elections but you engaged in vote-buying. Do you think you deserve your position?”

Jaro Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo celebrates Palm Sunday Mass in the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles. (Photo: Russell Palmares)

For the Jubilee of Mercy Pope Francis issued fervent calls for justice and conversion. He even appealed to those involved in corruption and members of criminal syndicates to change their lives and to embrace God’s mercy (Misericordiae Vultus, 19).

True greatness in service

Senina explained to the faithful that to aspire for true greatness is to follow Jesus in his humility and spirit of service.

“I know that everyone would like to be somebody, would like to be a king, would like to occupy a high position in society, to be respected. But, if you really desire it, then it is not shown in the enormous amount of money that you have but in the number of persons you have helped. It is not shown in the size of your mansion but in the magnitude of your love for your neighbour. It is not shown in the jewels that you display but in the people you have served. It is not shown in luxurious living but in a simple lifestyle. True kingship is shown in your dispositions, in the way you love, in the way you help others.”

“This is the way Our Lord entered Jerusalem. That is why kingship is not in the display of honors but in helping the needy, in feeding the multitude of the hungry, in healing the sick, in raising the dead, in his love for his disciples and the rest of the people. That is why, for Jesus, it’s ok whether it’s a donkey or a horse. He shows by his own life what it is to be a true king,” the priest concluded.

On his part, Jaro Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, in his Lenten Message, called on his flock “to actively participate in the liturgy of Holy Week, in catecheses, and in the performance of works of mercy”. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas / CBCP News)

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