Parañaque City, the Philippines, April 11, 2021 -- Mercy Sunday: presided by our very own Archbishop Francesco Panfilo, SDB, and I was one of the privileged people who had the opportunity to witness and be present physically on that day since up until today, we still struggle as a community to have religious gatherings following the policies of our local government due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country. I personally felt the grace and mercy of the Lord flowed into me as it was also the Divine Mercy Sunday.
The Gospel of that day talks about how Jesus visited His disciples; bringing peace to them and how to believe even without seeing. Archbishop’s homily was at the same time meaningful as he gave it a title of “unlocking our doors to receive the mercy of God. As we just opened the jubilee door we are also the same as the disciples who were at that time ashamed seeing the risen Christ and giving peace to each one of them as a sign of forgiveness which is also the first sign of absolution. The risen Lord is unlocking the hearts of His failed disciples and giving them the gift of peace.”
These first lines of his homily really struck me as we can receive the plenary indulgence as we enter the Holy door under the grace of the Lord. We have been blessed to have it in our parish as if the Lord is telling me to go back to His grace as I am forgiven and loved by Him.
The National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians was chosen as one of the pilgrim churches for the year of St. Joseph at the same time is also a Jubilee church in the Diocese of Parañaque as part of the 500 Years of Christianity in the country.
It was indeed a great blessing and opportunity especially to us the youth of the parish because we will experience this as once in a lifetime event. We might never know when will be the next time we could be chosen as a jubilee church. Also as we know not many Filipino people knew about this title of Mary, and this is one way of evangelizing and spreading the devotion to Mary Help of Christians. We can have this as an opportunity to let the people know how Mary as a help of Christians be a good intercessor not only in our struggles and trial but also in our daily lives.