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Mass going not enough

By Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

A few years back a student of a Catholic college was being initiated into a Catholic organization. He was asked:

“What are the most important requirements of our faith?”

Without batting an eyelash, he replied, “Going to Mass on Sunday and receiving Holy Communion.”

Well, these are, indeed, required of every Catholic but definitely that is not enough.

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In this 5th Sunday of Easter, Jesus compares a true follower of his to a plant. A plant does not only grow but should also bear fruit. “He who abides in Me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit…By this my Father is glorified, and so prove to be my disciples” (Jn 15,5-8).

What does Christ mean by “not only grow but should also bear fruit”? He means that our faith must be productive in acts of love and a life that reflects moral integrity.

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During his time, John the Baptist expressed this concretely, saying: “Whoever has two shirts must give one to the man who has none, and whoever has food must share it.” He adds: “To the tax collectors: ‘Don’t collect more than what is legal.’ To the soldiers: ‘No extortion; do not bully, no false charges’. (read Lk 3,11).
Hence, Christian faith should not be content with merely receiving the Sacraments but also reaching out to the “least of Christ’s brethren.”

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“Bearing fruits” can take the form of caring for the emotional needs of others, like offering help to the sick and lonely; showing acceptance and giving recognition to the efforts of others. Another form might be getting involved in some religious and parish work.

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Not so long ago, when I was in San Leandro, California, USA, the parish priest, Fr. Tom Snyder, confided to me, “My Filipino parishioners not only come to church regularly but also volunteer their services, like an accountant doing the bookkeeping after her office hours gratis et amore. The men volunteer as lectors and eucharistic lay ministers and their kids serve at Mass or in the choir.”

“I am really blest for having many Filipinos in my parish,” Fr. Tom said.

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In the Parable of the Last Judgment, Jesus says that only those who faithfully carry out their Christian ministry of helping, caring and sharing will achieve eternal life. In that awesome moment, we shall not be asked such questions as: How often have you been to Mass, or how many prayers have you recited?

That does not mean that Sunday Mass going and prayers are unimportant. But the fruit of all our prayers, our worship, and Bible studies should flow to the ministry of loving service.

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ASK YOURSELF: How much good works am I doing, particularly for my less privileged brethren? Am I a Sunday mass goer but am harsh, unkind and inconsiderate with my fellowmen?

Do I take to heart Jesus words: “Every tree, therefore, that is not bearing good fruit is to be cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matt. 3,10)?

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INDIGENT SICK. I am appealing on behalf of some indigent sick we are helping like Dante Cabansag, who is undergoing hemodialysis, a cancer patient, Stage 4; also M. Maranga, J. Lopez, R. Cayunda sick of pulmonary ailments.

For inquiries, e-mail me at: belsvd@gmail.com.