PARAÑAQUE City, April 9, 2014—With the Holy Week a week away, a priest urges the faithful to immerse themselves in God to gain new life.
“When we are immersed in [the] water [of baptism], we are immersed in sin… When we come out of the water, Christ lives in us, granting us new life,” explained Saint Andrew’s Cathedral Parish rector Rolando R. Agustín in a homily.
“Let us live a new life, a life lived in the grace of the Lord, a life in holiness, a life in the Spirit,” he said in Filipino.
Using the sacrament of baptism to illustrate his point, Agustín likened sinners to those who “drown themselves to death” in the water of sinfulness only to come out of it alive anew and filled with God’s grace.
He explained that through this immersion, believers become “children of God.” This is also the reason why,Fr. Agustin added, the faithful should live their every day life as God’s children.
Expounding on the Gospel of St. John 11:1-45, the priest urged his congregation to reflect on the passage,which details how Lazarus of Bethany, the brother of Martha and Mary, died, and how Jesus raised him back from the dead.
Agustín shared that the “Raising of Lazarus” raises three significant points for Christians to meditate on.
First, it reveals in full God’s glory and how all life comes from Him, the All-Powerful Creator. Second, it teaches that death does not end in death, and how with physical death eternal life may be acquired. Third, it affirms the Lord’s humanity when He wept (John 11:35) in grief for the death of his friend, Fr. Agustin said.
The Lazarus story overall presages Christ’s own impending demise and how on the third day, like his friend, “he rose again”, the priest stressed.
“As the Creed proclaims, Our Lord’s death and resurrection are life-giving. Dying and rising from the dead, Christ brings hope of eternal life to all who, like Lazarus, must die. That hope finds fulfillment in the sacrament of baptism,” Agustín added.(Raymond A. Sebastián)