2013 (PHILSTAR) SHOOTING STRAIGHT By Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 28, 2013 - 12:00am

Today is Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday, the day that the Catholic Church considers as one of its holiest days, because this is the day when our Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist during the Last Supper, held in the upper room. If you didn’t notice, the Institution of the Holy Eucharist is the 5th decade of the Luminous Mysteries that was enacted by Blessed Pope John Paul II, thus making the Holy Rosary complete.

Christianity has been around for 2,000 years, and as prophesied by our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 16:19 “The gates of Gehenna shall not prevail against her.”

For your Holy Thursday reflection, why don’t you ask yourself, how many kingdoms, governments or religion that existed 2,000 years ago continue to exist today?

I only know of the Catholic Church where its first Pope, St. Peter, began a long line of popes all the way to the present time where we have Pope Francis as the 265th Pope after St. Peter.

When he resigned from the See of St. Peter, Pope Benedict XVI as he arrived to greet the people of Castel Gandolfo, his message was simply “I’m just an ordinary pilgrim.” Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is correct that this earth is not our permanent home… but with God in heaven.

Alas, too many Catholics have forgotten this truth as taught no less than by our Lord Jesus Christ when he said to his disciples in John 14:2, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, would I have told you; that I have come to prepare a place for you.”

This is a divine promise. Alas, so many Catholics have forgotten this truth. this is why I’m reminding you about this scripture passage today in the hope that it will bring you back to your spiritual track as a pilgrim on this earth.

Indeed, the Catholic Church has undergone so many problems, from the persecution of the Roman Emperors where martyrs shed their blood in the Roman Coliseum, to having those two Popes in the 14th century, the schism with the Orthodox Church, Protestantism, then to sex scandals by pedophile priests that rocked the Vatican in this decade.

But the Catholic Church remains firm and continuous to grow, even if many Catholics no longer practice their faith or even embrace all of the Ten Commandments. This is what is known as “Cafeteria Catholics,” where more often than not, the Ten Commandments are no longer considered God’s commands, but mere suggestions.

I guess this is due to the reality that God created an imperfect church, ran by imperfect men and women. But there is one side of the Catholic Church that has remained steadfast to the teachings of God from the beginning of time, and that is the invisible church that continues to love humankind, despite our iniquities and failures.

Like a human being, we see ourselves in a mirror, but we cannot see our soul… but we know that our soul exists within us.

If the Catholic Church is under attack today, it is due to the fact that we live in an era where atheists have spread their religion of relativism, modernism and liberalism as those people believe that God is no longer relevant in these times.

Now if you open your Bibles and seek out those who would try to destroy the Catholic Church you will get a clear answer… the devil himself! Yes, the very same evil one that we knew from Genesis who conned our first parents, Adam and Eve to disobey God. Thus, the first perfect family in Paradise had to be banished and experience death.

Man and woman were destined to live in Paradise, but the disobedience of Adam and Eve caused the downfall of humankind, away from our original home in Paradise. So mankind had to make a journey on this earth until they deserve to be brought to their original destination in Paradise.

The key to heaven of course is locked in our love of God and our belief in the very words of our Lord Jesus Christ written in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Tomorrow is Good Friday and at exactly 3 p.m., our Lord Jesus Christ gave up his ghost with the words, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

And as we Catholics have memorized in the Creed, “He was crucified, died and was buried, he descended into hell and on the third day he rose again from the dead according to the scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father… he will come in glory to judge the living and the dead.”

This is our Catholic faith, where we put our trust in God’s Divine Mercy… that God will bless our nation if we show him that we can love one another as God loves us. And above all, that we must love our neighbor like ourselves.

But God allows us our freewill and doesn’t impose himself upon us. It is up to us to embrace the truth that we can only attain eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ who is truly present in the Holy Eucharist.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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