Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Some Lenten thoughts from Fr. Arevalo

We went to SJB Parish last night upon the invitation of Fr. Joe Fernandez who wanted to attend the lecture of Fr. Catalino Arevalo, SJ in connection with the Crib and Cross Benedict XVI Reflection Series spearheaded by the Don Bosco Center of Studies.

It was out of the scheduled. But when Fr, Mike tossed to us the idea that going to the St. John Bosco Parish is a possibility and followed up with a question as to who among us might want to join. I caught myself raising my hand. Br. Eric also made a head motion that he wanted to attend it.

We left Canlubang at 5:30 allotting a good 1.5 hours to travel all the way to the venue. The travel time was all consumed since there were some choke points in several potions of the SLEX. Fr. Arevalo was there. Fr. Mike told us that we have to leave earlier. Fr. Arevalo has the reputation to be a stickler on time. If he is asked to speak for thirty minutes, he could speak less, but not more.

But luck was on our side that evening. When we arrived, Fr. Francis Gustilo was just about to introduce the speaker.

Upon taking the floor, Fr. Arevalo was quick to point out that the talk that evening would be more of a reflection on the meaning of the theology of redemption, and a “strictly spiritual” talk would have to wait until next week (more of this below).

Noting that there were a fair number of lay people around, he clarified that the meaning of Paschal Mystery ought to include the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He added that “We are reminded by the Church that the Paschal mystery is the center of all the Christian faith mysteries: Dying You destroyed our death, rising You restored our life, Lord Jesus come in glory.”

Here is a healthy dose of direct quotes from him:

“There is only one mystery, not mysteries... Hence, a Christian who knows his theology cannot separate any of the elements of this mystery. Since if we separate the elements (that is passion, death, resurrection and ascension) it would be incomplete and if it happens it is a defective and wrong Christian understanding of the Redemption. The cross must never be separated from resurrection.

He emphasized that in Holy Week, "We have the Easter triduum (three days): the Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Black Saturday. It is important that we all attend all three. But then, sadly, after the Good Friday rite, after the people have had their confessions, heard the siete palabras (seven last words), they go back to the beach, missing the most important which is the Easter Vigil on Black Saturday. The Holy Thursday and Good Friday are only for the sake of Easter. They have no meaning outside the Easter, just as Easter loses its full meaning without Holy Thursday and Good Friday.”

I’d like to upload the audio file of the talk here, but I don’t know how. If there’s an opportunity in the proximate future, I’ll share it with you. Now, if you're living within the St. John Bosco Parish in Makati. Or if you have some time to spare on Wednesday evenings (7:00 PM), then, you might want to join in the recollection series that they're having. The recollection series started last March 5 and will end on April 1. The theme of the recollection is on family.