PARAÑAQUE City, April 18, 2014—As a fitting introduction to the Easter Triduum, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Teodoro J. Buhain, Jr. enjoined the assembled Catholics of Parañaque Wednesday, April 16 to start afresh and believe in the Gospel.
“Magbagong-buhay ka, at sa Mabuting Balita sumampalataya. (Start anew and believe in the Good News).What other commandment could sound more beautiful?” Buhain, who hails from Cavite, asked the faithful at the Cathedral Parish of St. Andrew in his sonorous Tagalog.
Look at the heart
Asking the faithful to “look deep into their conscience”, and “mend their ways,” the bishop encouraged them to go to the heart of the matter.
“Go full circle. And more than your exterior, always strive hard to change what goes inside you, because how you appear before God should be more of a concern to you than how you appear to others,” Buhain said.
“Repent and believe. These words, told to each faithful during “Ash Wednesday”, set the tone of as well as sum up the whole Lent,” he added.
Expounding on this message, the bishop, who was also the former rector of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo Church), pointed out that true Christians are duty-bound by virtue of their being “adopted sons and daughters of the Heavenly Father” to affirm and carry it out.
But just as important for Christians is faith in the Gospel which, the bishop explained, contains the path to salvation.
‘Not passive recipients of grace’
Drawing from St. John’s famous verse (3:16), Buhain proclaimed, “For God so loved the world that He gave us His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
But the bishop stressed that it is not repentance alone or faith alone that all Christians must uphold. Rather it is repentance and faith together.
“This sees to it that Christ’s redeeming grace does not, in any way, make believers into passive recipients,” Buhain shared.
According to 1 Peter 2:21-24 which he quoted, “It was to this that God called you, for Christ himself suffered for you and left you an example, so that you would follow in his steps. He committed no sin, and no one ever heard a lie come from his lips. When he was insulted, he did not answer back with an insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but placed his hopes in God, the righteous Judge. Christ himself carried our sins in his body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. It is by his wounds that you have been healed.”
In conclusion, Buhain told the participants in the annual recollection for the laity, “In taking this message of repentance and faith to heart, you will glorify the Lord. So be it. Siya nawa,” (Raymond A. Sebastián)