ILOILO CITY, Feb. 27, 2015 – With a few days into the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Sheep, a Catholic priest reminds the faithful that the best all-year-round protection comes from Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
“The timeless message of Jesus is that he is with us and we need not be afraid. When we are tempted to rely on all kinds of customs and superstitions to attract good luck, Jesus tells us that our best protection comes from him, the Good Shepherd. We are called to have faith, not fear.”
This was the encouraging hope-filled message of Fr. Aristotle C. Dy, SJ, as he presided the Eucharistic celebration to augur the Lunar New Year in Sta. Maria Parish, or Our Lady of China, a personal parish for the Chinese-Filipino community in Iloilo City.
Stressing his point through experience the priest said, “A year ago we all wished that success would come with the Year of the Horse; that the horse would bring with it ‘galloping success’.
But, he remembered “It has been a difficult year for the country and the region. Planes crashed; typhoons raged and wrought major damage; forty-four members of the Philippine National Police force died in an encounter with terrorists.”
As president of a Catholic School, that has one of its important missions of evangelizing the local Chinese, Dy also recalled the challenges some members of his community had to endure in the year that just has passed: personal tragedies of families who dealt with suicide and other mental health issues.
Turn to God
In the face of such difficult situations, the priest observed that some well-meaning people started urging him to seek solutions based mainly on superstitious beliefs.
Nevertheless, the priest recalled, “After some moments of prayer, I realized that we have to turn to God.”
Filled with faith, he proclaimed, “We hope for the best as each New Year begins. At this time of the year we realize that good luck charms and other practices cannot prevent tragedies.”
The priest then invited the faithful to see God’s providence behind every event, even in the Year of the Sheep and in the Year of the Poor, “Perhaps, we are being invited to direct our attention away from seeking luck and protection only for ourselves, and towards reaching out to others like shepherds to sheep.” (Fr. Mickey Cardenas/CBCPNews)