VOICE FROM THE SOUTH
By FR. EMETERIO BARCELON, SJ
On the feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, the readings and the message are clear. Proclaim the love of Jesus for his flock and the need to avoid sin in order to be saved from the fires of hell. When I was a child, we had a Vincentian priest who came around and he told us of his experience in Iloilo where he witnessed beds flying and howling sounds. It was a newly Christianized area and the devil was fighting to preserve his authority.
We need to proclaim the love of God for us and avoid sin and hell. We proclaim it in words and in our lives that we lead. Each one of us — not only the priests and religious but every Christian — is asked by our Lord and Savior to proclaim His love. This is the new evangelization that we have to preach this love and the guidance of the Church in our families. We have many who are losing their faith because we expect to develop our faith only in church. We have to preach this faith in our families, at home and among our intimates especially our children. This is the problem of Catholic America and the Philippines. Our children are losing the faith to heretical Christians because they were not taught their faith at home.
For the feast of St. Mark we are required to preach and proclaim the love of God and the avoidance of sin to avoid the fires of hell. We need to proclaim the love of God and the avoidance of sin. God so loves us that He wants us to avoid the sufferings of hell. All that He wants is for us to love Him back. Our mission is not only to distant lands but more so to our own families and the people we come in contact with. This is the preaching that Gospel reading wants us to do — to preach the love of God in words and in the way we live. We are all commanded to preach, to teach God’s love and the dread of the fires of hell. Again all that what God wants is to love Him back. Our mission is not only to distant lands but to our families and the people around us. Thiis is the new evangelization: Proclaim God’s love to our children.
Preaching is a gift of the Holy Spirit. What do we preach and proclaim? We proclaim that God hove us individually and wants us to avoid the fires of hell. There are famous preachers among the Protestant Christians like Billy Graham who moved people to love God. But preaching is not enough. We also have to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass. This is what we declare in the creeds that we profess. Preaching is necessary but the offering of the Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary which we continue in the Mass is also essential to our faith. But going to Mass of Sundays is also not enough; we have to tell our families what we live for. We live to adore and love God above all things.