CEBU CITY, Philippines — As the Catholic community celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday, April 9, 2023, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, in his homily during the Easter Sunday Mass at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, encouraged the faithful to choose faith over fear and uncertainties.
The prelate acknowledged the many situations and challenges in the past years that may have cast fear and doubts in the hearts of the faithful, but he has emphasized that if there is one important lesson in the story of Christ’s resurrection, it is having faith and believing despite troubles and fears.
“Tingali, sa atong mga eksperiensya, tungod sa daghang pagsulay, tungod sa daghang kalamidad, tungod sa daghang mga kabalaka, [sa mga] nanglabay nga mga tuig, posible nga dunay kahadlok sa atong kasing-kasing tungod kay dili kita sayod sa umaabot. Tungod kay wa kitay kontrol sa kinabuhi, tungod kay di man ta kasabot kung unsay kahulogan sa mga mysteryo [nga] usahay nga nahitabo sa atong kinabuhi. Di malikayan dunay kabalaka, dunay kahadlok,” Palma told the faithful.
(Perhaps, in our experience, because of the many challenges, because of the many calamities, because of the many worries, [in the] past years, it is possible that we have fear in our hearts because we cannot see what is to come. Because we cannot control life, because we cannot understand if there is a meaning in the mystery [that] sometimes things that happen in our life. We cannot avoid that there are worries, there are fears.)
“Unta, una nga bunga sa pagkabanhaw ni Kristo mao nga mawa ang atong kahadlok. Matud pa, tungod sa pagtuo, may our faith be stronger than our fear. Unta ang atong pagtuo mas kusog kaysa atong mga kahadlok,” he added.
(Hopefully, the first fruit of the resurrection of Christ is that the fear will go away. According to them, because of one’s belief, may our faith be stronger than our fear. Hopefully, our faith will be stronger than our fear.)
Moreover, Palma also invited the faithful to renew their baptism vows and accept that despite them giving in to temptations and committing sins, out of their weaknesses as human beings, there is no need to be afraid or ashamed of, for the resurrection of the Lord brings new grace and new life.
Palma then encouraged the faithful to reflect on the previous years and to praise God for making possible the massive initiatives of the Catholic church, such as the 500 Years of Christianity celebration, despite several obstacles, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.