San Pedro Calungsod: Life Offered, Faith Proclaimed
Feast of San Pedro Calungsod
As Catholic Christians, we are very familiar with the Cross. At the beginning and end of our every prayer we make the Sign of the Cross. Many of us make also the Sign of the Cross upon waking up and before going to sleep (to mark the beginning and end of each day). Others would make the Sign of the Cross whenever they pass by in front of the church or chapel (whether walking or riding a vehicle). Among students, many would make the Sign of the Cross before answering an exam or a quiz or in situations where they find themselves needing God’s guidance and protection. Some of us also wear a crucifix as a medal, necklace, ring, or even bracelet. In our homes, offices, and even in our vehicles and means of transportation we place a crucifix, rosary, or any religious article or image. Here in the Philippines, we are very familiar with the Cross because we see it all around us in many places, worn by different persons, and in many circumstances of our day to day living.
Jesus said, “Whoever wishes to come be my follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in my footsteps.” The idea of a suffering and humiliated Messiah was simply inconceivable for the Israelites. Why is it so? Because the Israelites expected a Messiah to be a victorious king or leader who would establish peace and justice on earth. Many of them were expecting that this Messiah is our Lord Jesus for they see and hear him preach, perform deeds of power and miracles, and going around towns and villages doing a lot of good. Yet Jesus set out to correct this wrong expectation and prepared his disciples for the passion that He will endure which will lead Him to crucifixion and death. Jesus knows that a consequence of His mission is persecution, especially from those in authority who were challenged by His preaching. He too faced these with a firm conviction that He is doing the will of His Father. What is my attitude in carrying the cross and following Jesus? How willing am I to face suffering and persecution in living out my Christian identity?
Today we celebrate the feast of our 2nd Filipino Saint, San Pedro Calungsod. We can learn a lot from the life of our katagilungsod. Pedro was a young man and learned the faith in his place in the Visayas. Later he volunteered to become one of the catechists in the mission place at Guam. He joined in the missionary priests and brothers in teaching the faith to the children. Later on in their mission they were able to convert and baptize the natives. Their mission was threatened because of a tribe leader who was tricked by a foreigner about the water used in baptism. He was then attacked by some men and was killed together with a priest. Pedro Calungsod offered his life for the faith that he not only learned but also taught and lived. During his canonization, the theme given by the Archdiocese of Cebu was, “Life that is offered, faith that is proclaimed.”
Brothers and sisters, as we celebrate the 5th centenary of Christianity here in the country, the life of San Pedro Calungsod is an example of how it is to live as Catholic Christians in our time. Not all of us are called to martyrdom like San Pedro but we can live and teach our faith like him. Let us be messengers of hope in this trying time. Let us be messengers of faith in this doubting generation. Let us be messengers of love in a world ruled by pride and selfishness. As we begin the celebration of Holy Week tomorrow, today’s feast of our blessed San Pedro Calungsod ushers us into the mystery of our Lord’s passion and death. Let this be our prayer taken from a song in honor of the Visayan saint, “O bulahang Pedro Calungsod, tabangi kami sa among kalisud. Sa panig-ingnan mo kami mosunod aron sa langit usab makasulod” (O Blessed Pedro Calungsod, help us in our difficulties. We will follow your example so that heaven will also be our home).
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