Mission accomplished

Published May 23, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin



Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD
Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

Today, ASCENSION Sunday, we commemorate the end of the Lord’s public ministry in this world. “Mission accomplished,” Jesus would say. It does not mean that he is no longer with us or went into “retirement.” The evangelist Matthew writes Jesus’ declaration: “I am with you always until the end of the world.”

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He is referring to the Lord’s invisible presence in our midst–his sacramental presence in the Mass as opposed to the visible presence when he was still in the world.

Jesus has gone away but, in another sense, he is still with us on earth.

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OUR FINAL DESTINATION. Our Lord’s Ascension teaches us that our final destination is not in this world but in the next life. Where he went, we will follow.

Once a devout lay minister died and off he went to the next life. There, one either goes to the top floor — Heaven,  where the righteous are rewarded with eternal bliss.

Those who have venial sins go to  the second floor — Purgatory, and the damned are herded to the basement — Hell, where they are tormented for eternity.

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Now the lay minister found himself in Purgatory.  As he roamed about his new home, to his surprise he met his former parish priest.

“Father, I didn’t expect you to be here,” the excited parishioner exclaimed.  “Why aren’t you up there?” pointing to heaven.

“Ssshhhh, quiet, brod. I saw our congressman down below us!” said the priest. (The congressman was involved in a multi-million bribery deal).

When we follow the Lord in the next life, we will make a personal accounting of our life.

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There’s a noteworthy insight from the “Acts of the Apostles” (first reading of the Mass). The “the two men in white,” presumably angels, tell the disciples:  “Why are  you looking up to heaven? Jesus who has been taken  up  will come back just as you have seen him go” (Acts 1,11).

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In  the “interim (meantime) period,” the time between his  Ascension and his return in the Last Judgment, we are told not to fix our concern solely on the afterlife but to establish  “colonies  of heaven” ALREADY here on  earth.

Establishing “colonies  of heaven” means that we must work continuously to make God’s Kingdom on earth a kingdom that is characterized by justice, love, truth, and peace.

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Some friends related to me recently about four women from a barangay in Mayamot, Antipolo. They were so happy even if they had to get up early in the  morning to get their much-awaited social amelioration pay amounting to P6,000 each.  After a long wait lasting till 7 in the evening, they were overjoyed.

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But here’s the saddest part. When they were getting into their rides, four men suddenly jumped at them. They grabbed their cash donations and their cell phones and ran away! What a heart-rending experience!

We condemn the dastardly act. But don’t we sometimes do such evil when, for instance, government officials and businessmen run away with bigger ill-gotten wealth? But what’s so heinous about the women’s heist is that the victims were extremely poor.

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On the flip side, here’s something beautiful. A man went to his barangay to collect his amelioration pay. But when he saw that some were unable to receive their pay. He told the officer in-charge he would forego his pay and donate it instead to them. He said, “I can manage to give away since I am getting a pension from the SSS.”

When Jesus will return in the Last Judgment, he will judge us  by our good or evil deeds. The good will be rewarded but the evil will be condemned to eternal torment (Mt 25, 35ff.)

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Do  you still remember the American actress Whoopi  Goldberg who delighted millions of viewers in the highly acclaimed  movies “Ghost”  and  “Sister  Act”?

Every year Goldberg  co-hosts  a  TV program to raise funds to aid her country’s numerous homeless. Asked in an interview why she was doing her charitable projects, she said, “I fear waking  up  one morning and finding out that my life was for nothing. We’re here for a reason and that is to throw little  torches out to lead people through the dark.”

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ALS-COVID FORUM. Free WEBINAR Alternative Learning System (ALS) COVID Forum set on May 27, 8 am-12 noon. Follow FB live stream of Arnold Janssen Catholic Mission Foundation, Inc. Speakers include Sen. Win Gatchalian, DepEd Asec GHS Ambat, Prof. Ched Arzadon, Bryan Vargas, with Fr. Jerome Marquez, SVD as moderator. CPD credits from Saint Jude Catholic School. Register online.