CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 22 September 2018

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Facing temptation constructively

HONG KONG (SE): Exploring ways to reestablish a relationship with God, which has been broken by sin, was the focus of the Lenten recollection for overseas Filipino workers organised by the Chaplaincy for Filipinos at Sing Yin Secondary School, New Clear Water Bay Road, on March 6.

The chaplain to Filipinos, Father Jay Flandez, led an opening prayer and Sister Vicky Ramos spoke on the theme of Reconciliation: Path to peace.

Sister Ramos said reconciliation restores the relationship of human beings with God. She invited people to reflect during Lent on how ready they are to be reconciled and allow the Lord the freedom to change their hearts.

She explained that she believes that as the Lord has first loved us, we are being called to love others and seek reconciliation with them too.

The guest speaker for the day, Father Edwin Semblante, from the PACEM Community, said that people need to seek reconciliation with God, because in the beginning there is a broken relationship which has been caused by sin.

Quoting from the temptation story in the book of Genesis, he spoke of how Adam and Eve yielded to temptation, emphasising that while sin is an act of human nature and emotions can be difficult to control, that does not mean that sin cannot be avoided.

He then suggested several ways to help deal with temptation in a positive manner: avoiding locations that can lead to weak moments, listening to the voice of our consciences and being conscious of making sacrifices for others, which can help us to stay close to God.

Father Semblante said that reconciliation with God means renewing our identity as a child of God, because “away from God, we lose our identity,” he said.

He quoted the beginning of the gospel of St. John as saying, “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” 

He told those present that if God is the word, then we have to be careful with the way we use words.

He stressed that words that come from our mouths must be words that inspire and give life, because God is the word.

Father Semblante added that we should avoid hurting people through our words, which is not pleasing to God, and that he believes that foul language and cursing can be compared with offering a prayer to the devil.

He encouraged people to see their trials as a means of participating in Jesus’ passion, saying that instead of complaining, we should try to bear our pain in the way of the example of Jesus Christ, which can then become a way of personal sanctification.

He said that he believes that the life of a Filipino migrant worker is a life of suffering, but it is in suffering that their mission can be discovered.

Father Semblante concluded by saying that Jesus’ suffering on the cross was his ultimate mission in revealing the mercy and love of God to humanity. 

He then added that because God is merciful, as his children, we should be merciful too.

 

The sacrament of reconciliation was available during the recollection day, which ended with a Mass celebrated by Father Semblante and Father Flandez. Around 400 people attended the whole day event.

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