St Joseph Church, Pinole - Pastor's Messages

Pastor's Messages from Father Geoffrey Baraan

 

My dear friends in Christ,

I am writing this from my hotel room in Manila where I have been quarantined for the last 6 days. Tomorrow someone is coming here to swab me for my Covid test. As you know I have been vaccinated but .........????

I have another three days to go by the time you read this—— before the Philippine government will allow me to go back to my hometown in Dasol, Pangasinan which about 5 hours away from Manila.

But don’t feel bad for me! Being quarantined has been the greatest thing in the world for me. I am turning this into a very positive and fruitful experience. The room is really nice and clean. Not fancy but just perfect for something like this. The food is delivered outside my room. There is no room service. Garbage is taken outside to be picked up by one of the hotel workers. There is no human contact. Food delivery from the outside the hotel is not allowed. What I meant by this is that no friends or family members can bring any food to me. With that, you might think this is really terrible. Not really! Actually I don’t eat a lot anyway. So I am okay with it. For my diet every day, I requested no pork or beef but to have chicken and seafood. I asked for lobsters but I was DECLINED. Just kidding! I am glad the staff here are really nice. Very polite!

This Sunday is the Solemnity of the Body and the Blood of Christ or Corpus Christi! In many parts of the Catholic world, this a big celebration. Here in the Philippines, there is a big procession around the town even when it is a 100 degrees outside. No one can stop them. Catholics here are crazy about their faith and about God!

This Sunday is also a great opportunity for us to reflect on the meaning of this feast and who Christ is.

The feast is about Jesus reminding us what about he said in the gospel of John: “I am the BREAD OF LIFE! And on the Last Supper he said to his Apostles, “ Take it; this is my body. This is my blood of the covenant!”

Every time we come to the Lord’s Table in the Eucharistic celebration, we make the PAST EVENT a PRESENT Reality remembering the sign of God’s great LOVE FOR US in the body and the blood of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. God’s Love is UNLIMITED AND UNCONDITIONAL.

That’s why the Sunday gathering is so important. It is not only an obligation but a celebration of God’s abundance and love! We should not take it for granted. When we gather with our friends, we become part of the body of Christ, no longer an individual participant but belonging to a community of believers nourished and blessed. How we participate is so important. The church requires that there must be an “active and conscious” participation in the celebration! That means that I am aware of what is going on in the celebration!

I am going to say that something changed during the Coronavirus pandemic. People are engaged and active in their participation. And no one is rushing out to their car. We have become a very prayerful community! Thank you so much!

As I said at the beginning of this letter, I am on a 10-day quarantine that started on the 31st of May.

I will be productive. I will make this into a beautiful spiritual experience. This will be my RETREAT, away from the noises of the world. As I am writing this, it is raining heavily with thunder and lightnings all over the city. I like it! God is really good. This will be a great experience for me! I will be doing lots of readings, writing, reflecting and praying with Mass. And I hope I can continue to do love(live)stream masses. God made it happen for a BIG REASON!

Please continue to pray for my eldest brother, Rafael! The new update is that he will undergo another procedure tomorrow. Thank you for all your prayers! They rained down in the heart of God!

Again thank you for being a “CHEERFUL GIVER!”

In Christ,

Fr. Geoffrey

 
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