PARAÑAQUE City, April 14, 2014—Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro C. Bacani, Jr. called on the Parañaque faithful Saturday to rejoice in being “children of God” by courageously proclaiming the Faith.
“Take heart. Be brave. I assure you that no worldly honor exceeds that most sacred one which comes with being God’s children. We are Christians! We are Catholics! Tell that from the rooftops! Shout it out loud,” said Bacani in Filipino amid the applause of the faithful.
Greatness in God
Drawing inspiration from St. Leo the Great, the fifth century pope who convinced Attila the Hun to spare Rome from his barbarity, the bishop urged that Christians should ceaselessly “acknowledge their God-given dignity”.
Bacani made this forceful appeal during the St. Andrew’s Cathedral Parish’s General Assembly, which had gathered parishioners of the Parañaque diocese in an effort to strengthen their spiritual well-being and prepare them for the upcoming holy days.
In his rousing sermon, which had sent members of the audience cheering, the charismatic prelate discussed how just being Christian makes each person equal before the eyes of the Heavenly Father.
“Our worth, our greatness consist in our being active members of the Divine family, in being citizens of heaven as St. Paul in his epistles made clear, not in any official position created by man,” Bacani explained.
He also cited Philippians 3:20-21, “We, however, are citizens of heaven, and we eagerly wait for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come from heaven. He will change our weak mortal bodies and make them like his own glorious body, using that power by which he is able to bring all things under his rule.”
Clergy not ‘superior’
Bacani said that even bishops, cardinals, and other church dignitaries are no good if they refuse to submit themselves readily to the will of God.
“The notion that the clergy is inherently superior to the laity is unfounded. It is a myth that has to be junked. For I tell you that a layperson who consistently strives to do what the Lord wills is more pleasing to Him than a churchman who does not,” he said.
“A good example would be San Lorenzo Ruíz de Manila who was one of you, a layman. Fear of death did not rattle his faith. In fact, he even had the courage to offer a thousand more lives for the Lord if these were enough to proclaim to the world His transcendent majesty,” Bacani shared.
“Like John Henry Cardinal Newman, the former Anglican who had found the truth of Catholicism, we must proudly declare that before anything else, we are Christians. Christians first! All other considerations come second, if not last,” the bishop added. (Raymond A. Sebastián)