Bishop Honesto Ongtioco stressed the need for genuine love for the Lord in observing religious piety during the celebration of the Holy Mass at the Nativity of Our Lady Chapel this Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion.
In his homily, Bishop Ongtioco of the Diocese of Cubao emphasized that rituals, penances and other form of sacrifices would be worthless without authentic love. He also encouraged everyone to go back to the story of true love, where in the symbol that was used is a cross that brought salvation for the world.
“Rituals, even the sacrifices that we do, they mean nothing if we do not do them with love. Christ’s crucifixion, Christ’s death on the cross became salvific because there was love. So the real symbol of love is not a heart it is the cross… Muli balikan natin yung narinig nating passion story, the story of genuine love, the story of a love that gives salvation to the world.” Bishop Ongtioco said in his homily.
The prelate also emphasized, that true security and protection will only be found in the Lord amid the Coronavirus pandemic. He said, even Cardinals, Bishops, priests and presidents are not exempted in contracting the virus, and anyone can be a victim regardless of their social status.
Yet, this pandemic is not a judgement but a way for us to discover a deeper connection with God and to recognize that He is the only protector and the one who gives assurance despite the uncertainties of life.
“We are reminded that only God can give us true security and protection. Lahat walang exemption, Cardinal, Obispo, Pari, almost 70 of them died in Italy. Presidente, anu man yon, you can be affected of this virus, and yet we are reminded only God is our sure protection.” Bishop Ongtioco said.
As of writing there are about 3,600 cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines. The government has yet to decide whether to extend the extreme community quarantine or to modify its implementation.
Liturgical celebrations and other activities for the Week will proceed and be aired through different forms of communication platforms to keep the faithful up to date with the common religious traditions during Holy Week.