GOOD FRIDAY SHARING

 

Once again we come to the end
of our retreat for today.

Thank you for joining us.

We invite you once again
to share one or two experiences,
insights, questions, or prayer.

 

Share-2

 

Sharing the graces that you have received
with your fellow online retreatants
is one way of saying “Thanks” to the Lord.
It can also help others who are on this same journey.

Do take time out to post on the COMMENTS section below.

We also invite you to check out
the sharing yesterday, Holy Thursday,
from members of our virtual community of retreatants.
You may learn something and may want to respond
to some sharing or pray for some of them.
Just click HERE.

If you want to avail of our online spiritual directors,
you may proceed to the chatroom by clicking HERE.

We hope to see you again tomorrow
for our final retreat this Holy Week.

Let us continue to pray for one another.

 

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80 thoughts on “GOOD FRIDAY SHARING”

  1. Hi,

    Thank you to all staff in doing this on line retreat. It’s alternative way , to do retreat at home.and on line advise as well.

    Luceat Zlux,

    arsenio

  2. Lord, thank you very much for leading me here. You have opened my eyes and heart to your ways. It surely is difficult to accept why nice guys finish last, which is why I am always tempted to be bad. I am sorry for the times I lost sight of what is right and just, for being too selfish and greedy. It has been a very meaningful few days for me, probably the most meaningful of my life so far. Having been able to see the beauty of our world as well as finding You in my life. Hope to mark this turning point in my life by continuing the good habits and getting rid of the bad ones. Much love to you Fr J for all the guidance since I started following you.

  3. I had never thought about the significance of the torn curtain before. Thank you O Lord Jesus Christ, because of your suffering and death, your redemptive love brought us back to the Father.

  4. Oh Lord,
    I am ashamed of myself as I look at You on the
    Cross. I have allowed myself to wallow up in the sea of pride, envy, greed and despair. I always forget that my troubles are nothing compared to what you havr suffered for us.
    Thank you dear Lord for this grace to be reminded that sometimes
    Your silence or seeming inaction is actually a reply that You are with us always.

  5. Just a thought: Perhaps this God’s will thing has been inculcated in us by the Spanish colonizers whenever they were confronted by questions about faith by the people. And down the line it’s been with us. It has served us in good stead though when we don’t know the answer anymore to the chaos in this world.
    But really come to think of it, if God is not a puppet master, then what is HE? did not save his cousin John, a blood relative. Why should HE save us, poor mortals?
    There are plenty of crooked people in the world why did He allow the poor Syrian kids to die in the latest chemical attack on Syria, thedrowning of refugees trying to escape the conditions in their country , the indescriminate mass killing in US schools and so on and so forth? The list is endless! We don’t know anymore who or what to pray for.

  6. Two things struck me in this Good Friday retreat.

    1) Jesus’ response to that question of John the Baptist:

    “Are you the One?
    I ask because for a Messiah,
    you don’t come to our rescue.”

    The answer is: “Yes, this is the Son of God,
    who, like you, was not rescued.”

    John the Baptist asked Jesus when he was in his moment of disenchantment. Jesus never failed to give an answer in His most perfect time. This has reminded me that in times of trials and unmet expectations, the Lord will never fail us. He may be silent but He always has the answer to our prayers. His silence was the answer. His silences asks us to be patient, have faith, to let go and let God. He may be silent but he is not far from us. He is with us. And in His most perfect time, He will enlighten us and we’ll just realize that all pain and suffering was worth it.

    2) We were given this one nagging–and disturbing–question at the start of this retreat:
    “Did Jesus really have to go that far?”

    The significance of the torn curtain really struck me. It was my first time to encounter this.
    “It was this veil of covering,
    the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies
    from the rest of the temple and the world,
    that was torn from top to bottom
    at the moment of Jesus’ death.

    It symbolized what Jesus accomplished:
    The end of any separation between God and us.”

    Jesus have to go that far so that He could embrace and eliminate this separation – for good. Jesus loves us that much. We are welcomed in His Kingdom through His suffering and death. Sometimes, in our moments of disenchantment, we have a lot of why’s. Why do we have to go through this? Why does it happen to us? There is always a reason. That is for us to get back to Christ, to come closer to Christ and be loved.

    Thank you for this online Holy Week retreat. I have come closer to Christ.

  7. Thankful today that my expectations go often unmet by one who created the heavens. Turning to the death of Christ and John, God does set them free. It’s not the temporal freedom, but the eternal. It is not just one man’s freedom, but the freedom of all men. Thus, God seems to plan in the big stages, while we are expecting the simple.

    Like what is said, I am glad that God did not give me the wife of a 20 yr old expectations, but gave me a wife which has not met my expectfations. Looking over the years, I am happy always for her support and wisdom and freedom to choose her own path.

    Thankfully God still comforts us. He still shows the difference between my expectation and what is real.

  8. Dear Lord Jesus,

    i am very sorry and deeply saddened at what you had to go through. I am reminded of the deaths of people close to me. I ask why death in a painful way must come? Yours was the most painful of all, as it was more than just physical pain. I learn clearer now that your greatest suffering was the feeling of abandonment from the Father. Inspire of what you felt, you persevered. Let us be like you in times when disillusionment happens. Amen.

  9. Thank you Lord for all your sacrifices for us to bring us Peace.

    At that point in my life when I felt alone, You were actually there and listening to me. I was lost, couldn’t find my purpose, but You found me. You were listening to me after all.

    Thank you for these answered prayers. THank you for patiently showing me always the Way! Amen.

  10. A conversation today with my son upon my meditations with Pins of Light: So why does God not save us? Why does He not interfere to stop evil? I asked. He replied softly and simply: Free will. He gave us free will. Evil in this world happens because of the exercise of free will. So, why don’t we just give up that free will to God to do as He will. Then there should be no more evil. He replied, then you will be like the servant given by his master free will and returned the same to his master without increase (our Bishop spoke about this in connection with stewardship of our gifts from God to be used for the common good). The servant was chastised for not using/ increasing his gift. (Too, we are not puppets of God, my daughter intrerjected). So, if God will not interfere with free will, dioes this mean that God is just leaving us all to our own devices to create chaos in this world? So, what is His will for us? I do not know and we cannot know, my son said. So, it is only in the end, after life that we will be relieved of evil and pain? Even if we do good? He said simply: Isn’t that what it’s all about? That we do good for God, in the end to gain our resurrection from the dead? Beyond my pain and disillusionment (when I had asked the Lord many times why he had forsaken me) it was again clear to me: That we must choose to do good even if it be difficult, even if others are not. Our goal and our reward is an after life with God. That is what it is all about. Indeed, I was under the disillusionment that God will surely grant me my prayers. If only I knock and seek, I will find. But I forgot, that it is not what I will or what I want or even what I think I need that He grants or will grant. As Jesus said, God’s will be done. That will, we can only know in the end, trusting that if God loves us He will not do anything to harm us (this from my son too). My son had a soft smile on his face as he spoke, not proud, not boastful, not condescending amused or judgmental that I, his mother, waivered in her faith. It was a smile of someone who seemed to have been quietly watching my turmoil all this time waiting for me to come around to him for counsel and assurance. And when I asked all these questions, he kindly, yes, kindly and softly guided me back to where I should be, as if to say, I had just been here waiting for you. I felt and saw the smile of Jesus there. Today, God has spoken to me, through my son and His Son Jesus who Himself had asked the Father, why hast thou forsaken me? Jesus had been where I was, but trusting the Lord, He rose from the dead in glory after commending His spirit to God the Father. The answers I received today may seem so obvious, but not for one like me who had been lost in the miseries of life. I was lost and again found. The Lord is faithful. He has not forsaken me. I praise and thank God for His love and mercy. I look forward to Easter with profound joy and a renewed faith.

    1. What a lovely and blessed experience you have here! And what a blessing your son is to you. He is wise beyond his years. May you both nurture your Christian faith together, and grow in faith, hope and love.

  11. Dear Jesus,

    I just want to thank you for being courageous. courageous enough to stand for our sins and pay the price of it. Thank you that despite not fully understanding the plans of Your Father, You did it anyway, accepting death on the cross. Thank you for the humility, humility to accept the bashings and mockery of the people, the people you so loved, me included. I would like to believe that You were so frightened then, but I think what made You endure suffering until the end was the peace that came from the Father, that inner peace that told you that everything will be alright, just like a mother telling her son that I am there for you.

    Lord, thank you for clearing my misconception about You, especially the concept of God’s will. I am sorry for resembling You as a puppet master, that everything is some sort of a script already written way, way back. Thank you Jesus, for showing us on how to think and respond to God – to still do good anyway, and be confident of the peace God will give to us. Thank you so much my Lord! Lastly, kindly grant me the wisdom to know Your will into my life, and the strength and humility to do it. Amen.

  12. A wonderfull home retreat for those who cannot go out for retreat. I salute for Fr. J, sharing this on line retreat free for all interested . Sharing my experience here….., it will cost a lot, cause here the clergy or laymen, preaching or sharing catholic religion is not “free”.

  13. In today’s session, I tried to feel all the emotions of several characters: the apostles who watched Jesus on the cross, the centurion, John the Baptist, even Jesus.

    It was a painful, uncomfortable feeling to be a disciple who can’t do anything but watch Jesus die. In my own life, I’ve learned to set aside my own feelings as I watch my formerly independent relative turn into a shell of her old self. It’s hard to feel helpless and unable to change the inevitable. There’s so much anger and resentment – why am I stuck being the caregiver, why isn’t anyone among my relatives around now that my ward is frail, sick and unable to care fir them anymore, why can’t I do more, etc., etc.

    The word that screamed itself into my head was BETRAYAL as I read about John the Baptist and watched the videos as Jesus carried the cross and soon died on it. What made me cry was seeing only one person in a sea of people with compassion for Jesus. Ironically, it was the centurion who had a pained look on his face as Jesus was being scourged. Why did everyone betray Jesus that way?

    I am no stranger to betrayal, and I know what it’s like to be betrayed by friends, co-workers, my own family. It’s nothing new but I still find it hard to swallow. I read the messages on the comments section and I agree. It’s having expectations that partly lead to disappointment and disenchantment.

    Thinking about John the Baptist, I realize that this is an example of how God operates. Unpredictable. I admit I place God in my box of expectations. I also admit I have expectations about myself and other people. But nothing is linear or predictable.

    I said the other day I was disenchanted with a lot of people and things. I realize that hasn’t changed, but I still believe in God’s goodness. Even if I am pained at work, even if I feel sad about the state of my heart, I know God will never change. I remember that one time when I heard mass after work, and He said to me that He will wait for me, no matter how long it takes. That is how faithful He is.

    I will never be able to match that level of fidelity. But I want to return at least part of that love by trusting that my own journey will be good, that I will not inflict on other people what I’ve experienced. No corporate bullying, no mind games to make other people doubt their own value.

    I have to stay focused on the prayer I made that led me to my present line of work, one that was focused on serving God and others. Maybe then everything would be easier to bear.

    I have to learn how to pray more and better for those who have hurt me, impossible to do on my own. But I know I’ll be able to do that with God.

    As for the man who has awakened my heart, I leave it up to God whether or not this will progress. In a way, I am thankful my heart still knows how to feel. I thought life had made me asexual.

    Dear Lord, thank you for loving me, a worthless sinner. Please teach me to love the way you love, through the pain, and may they begin to love you as a result. I just want to be obedient, Lord. Please do not let me stray from your sight. Let’s finish this journey together.

  14. Dear God and dear Jesus,

    I do not have anything else to say but just to thank you for everything. Thank you for always staying on even when I sin everyday. Thank you for the many thousands of chances you have given and are giving for me to come back to You. Thank you for the disenchatment, disillusionment, discourage and failures, for these give make me hold on more to you and to your grace and providence. Thank you for loving me even when most of the time I do not love you back. Thank you dear Jesus, for taking my place on the cross. With all the pain ive caused you through my sins, i shouldve been the one crucified and that would be fair and justified. But you, the most sinless of all took the cross, felt the pain. Thank you for this opportunity you have given me in this retreat, to always remind me that You are with me, every step of the way. In every happiness, pain, bliss, confusion, discouragement, fear, You are always with me, because You have felt the same long before. Father God, I am so sorry for those times I forget to say thank you. I hope one day, when You finally take back the life You have given me, You will remember me, forgive me, and invite me into Your home with Jesus, Mama Mary, all the angels, all the saints, my friends who have gone before me, my relatives, and my papa. Thank you Father God. Thank you Jesus. I love you.

  15. I remember a priest said, “God’s silence always brings us to His grace.” He is the God of the eleventh hour. Whenever we feel abandoned or his presence is not felt, there’s one thing left in us.. FAITH. Whatever happens, we just have to believe.

    Or, if we don’t usually see Him during times of suffering, always remember that he is taking it along with us.

  16. Dear Lord,

    Help me find peace in my life today… Despite my doubts and my illusions, help me get through them – and understand You and know You. If you cannot take away the pain in my heart, help me find comfort in You – who is with me, always, as I go through life, and carry my own cross. Open my heart, make Yourself known, and help me be with You.

  17. Peace is not the absence of pain, Prayers is the answer to our peace… Disenchantment and disillusioned we all are, but truly God finds us.

  18. Dearest Lord,

    Thank you for teaching us what it means to have peace, the one unperturbed by anything, even the most painful experience, because it is dwelling from deep within. You are doing God’s will, your Father’s will, but I am entirely aware that You are also moved by your immeasurable love for me. It is your love that made you go through things that try to break every aspect of your physicality, humanity and soul. While you are receiving pain, while I am causing you hurt, you continued to give love. This must be one of your sources of peace – your giving of love.

    Lord, sometimes, I feel undeserving of the love that you shower me with. There are moments when I am not able to reciprocate it. I do things that seem to waste the love you bestow me. However, even if I am not honoring the love you give, you continue to love me. You constantly love me because you know I would not exist without it. My heart overflows with gratitude for this.

    As you continue to lavish me with your love, I pray that it moves me to give back by showing others how much love you give us. May my thoughts, words and actions carry the message of how much love you give. There are times when this will be difficult and challenging. I pray that peace comes to me, too the way peace embraces you when you give out love and the response you get brings sorrow. May my heart overflow with love that anything happens to me will only be dealt with love. May your love for me, brings me peace as well.

    Amen.

  19. My disillusionment once again is something that is embarrassing because lately I have been focused on what I see in others or what I expect my loved one to contribute. I should feel blessed and privileged with everything the Lord has allowed me to have or provided me. I should continue to serve Him whenever and wherever I can. What happened to John and Jesus is something I have been thinking of. Why did it need to happen? They both loved and persevered. In the end, this is also what we must do. God bless.

  20. I.am most struck with the realization of how disillusionment leads to wisdom and deeper faith in the Lord. God’s inaction in my life does become so puzzling at times that my faith seems to just plateau; but now I am comforted of the fact that Jesus knows how I feel because He’s been through it Himself and that He is there to intercede for me. His sacrifice and death is a reminder that I should just keep on marching on. If I do not yet know where to go, I should just keep marching in place and wait for God to give me that direction.

    John the Baptist’s experience was also very insightful. Him being a cousin of Jesus was not excluded from suffering. Jesus did not save him but he didn’t turn heel. He kept marching, until his last breath.

  21. Dear Lord. Thank You so much for loving us…for loving us so much that Jesus gave up His life to save us from our sins. With each stripe that Jesus got, we are healed…. but Lord, i don’t want to add any more to the stripes that Jesus is bearing. Pls give me the strength to do Your will. To follow You more closely. I may be willing to follow you but my body is very weak. However i know and believe that with Your grace NOTHING is impossible. I pray for that grace Lord. I trust You.

  22. In the many instances I have been undergoing this Online Retreat, this is probably the first time I have a reflection that struck me real close to home:


    “ ‘Are you the One? I ask because for a Messiah, you don’t come to our rescue.’

    “The answer is: ‘Yes, this is the Son of God, who, like you, was not rescued.’ ”

    In my line of work, I am always confronted by my powerlessness and inability to effect meaningful change and hope to the people/communities I try to help. Sometimes I am also confronted by my own frustration and resentment for not being listened to–and then I am left helpless in watching them remain trapped in their miseries.

    Today, I realize that maybe, this should not be about me. In fact, it was never about me. It is about the people I wish to work and share lives with–with me amongst them. It is not about me, but about “we”. That if we suffer, we suffer together, trying to heal each other as best as we can while we wait for the storms to pass. And, if it is willed that we survive the storm, we survive, rebuild and triumph together. In this way, even the biggest burdens become light–or at the very least, acceptable.

    1. Thank you for sharing this. I find myself in a similar situation and thank for providing such a beautiful insight – a reminder to think of ‘we’ and not just ‘me’.

  23. i have to admit I’ve been disillusioned with God recently due to
    things that have not been working out in my current situation. I felt he was distant and seemingly silent. Then I realized that it was I who kept myself separated from him all this time. I also had a lot of disillusionments about myself and who I am.

    So now with him accompanying me, I’ve stripped off all my disillusionment about him as a God who just willingly gives me the outcomes that I desire and know. Ive also stripped off some about myself, and have never felt more in communion with him as he leads me to this inner journey. I still don’t know what the future holds, I’ve already let go of the outcome I wanted but remain in full trust of this journey with him. Maybe like with John the Baptist, the wisdom will come eventually and it will all make sense.

  24. Thank you Lord God for sending us your Son to die on the cross for our sins. Please continue to send your holy angels and Hoy Spirit to look after us everyday of our life. We lift up to you our hearts and our mind. Grant us to have a heart and mind of love only to you.

  25. They say God draws straight with crooked lines. It is only at the end that we realize that God’s plan is always the best plan for us. I love this prayer: Lord, let your servant go in peace, for your Word has been fulfilled. It is a daily reminder that God loves us so much. We are human and err, but throughout it all, God will be with us.

    Thank you Jesus for you supreme sacrifice. We are so undeserving of such a blessing and a gift. May Peace reign in all your hearts during Holy Week and through all your trials and tribulations.

  26. Lord, in disillusioning me, you have affirmed and shown me the path. Thank you. I need You more than ever to take up my yoke as Jesus did His.

  27. There is no greater love than one who lays down his life…. I, in turn must love Him, the one who was crucified and abandoned, in my everyday sufferings and trials.

  28. Today’s retreat made me remember a trip to the Manila Cathedral last year. There, I saw a series of stained glass images which narrated the story of St. John the Baptist. I remember staring at the image of his beheading and asking him, “Was it worth it?” The answer that came to me was, “The answer is in your heart.”

    Oftentimes, we go through pain and wonder if it was all worth it. But deep inside we know that, yes, despite the difficulties and suffering, there are some decisions we make that are worth it, especially if they arise out of love. Understanding this lessened the bitterness in my heart and made me bear my difficulties with joy, because I knew the ultimate value they contained.

    I also read once that as we walk through life with our problems and pain, Jesus does not always “rescue” us. But He always walks with us and wants to accompany us in our journey every step of the way.

  29. I personally was struck by the following passages:

    1. “Are you the one who is to come? Or shall we look for another?” (Matthew 11:3)

    John the Baptist’s restlessness, or apparent hopelessness from his suffering, made him doubt if Jesus’ is the real deal. He seemed to be losing faith in this situation

    I’m reminded of a takeaway from my college Theology class, which is: One sign of a healthy faith is we constantly question it.

    Faith is said to always inhabited by unfaith. The more we question or challenge it, the more it gets stronger.

    The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty.

    John’s questioning strengthened his whole being as he was about to die for his faith. As I realized yesterday: Faith does not eradicate suffering, but sets us up to overcome it.

    2. “Lord let Your servant be in peace.” – Simeon, the old prophet

    We get disappointed with God (or with other people!) because we are too results-oriented. We always expect certain outcomes. (Should we blame capitalism on this one? But this would be another topic.)

    To be happy, letting go of the things we can’t control is one of the ancient truths we should always live by. This is what faith can help us on.

    Faith keeps us humble, faith keeps our feet on the ground.

    Faith enables us to discover our purpose: to be our authentic selves, and to do things we ought to do.

    Faith reminds us that we are mere servants of the greater good. We are not masters of this world.

    Faith enables us to be better workers of God’s kingdom here on earth.

    That’s why this canticle is so humbling to me. It reminds me that amidst suffering (that remains to be an enigma for us all), God wants us to carry on and continue fulfilling our respective vocations in life.

    May we, as God’s servants, be in peace.

  30. I’ve been vacillating over a decision I have to make for over 2 weeks now. After contemplating on the prayer points, His will for me is clear – to accompany some individuals despite the pain it can bring me – just what Christ did for me and continues to do for me. This was the grace I was given today. I continue to ask for His love and His many graces because I cannot do this on my own. Thank you for Your intimate love and thank you Fr Johnny for being God’s instrument. This humble servant is at peace.

  31. I was so struck by Simeon’s Canticle and couldn’t hold back my tears as I contemplated Jesus on the cross and my prayer over and over was “Let your servant go in peace, for the Word has been fulfilled”

  32. Maybe during difficult moments in my life, God’s will is not to rescue me but to keep me company. Maybe what I need most is not a miracle but the reassuring presence of God who walks with me. I pray to have the faith of John the Baptist, open to the truth even when it hurts the most.

  33. Since God respects both natural laws and human freedom,
    He allows both to shape the events in the world. My first reaction to this is, “Then what’s the use of praying for His intervention when there’s an impending disaster?” My second reaction is, “What the heck…there’s really no harm in praying. Praying is hoping. God may surprise me yet!”

  34. To this day, one of the hardest questions my then 6 years old daughter asked me was “If God is good, why does He let bad things happen?” I almost did not respond fearing that what I say might not help in building her budding faith. But I realized that a no-comment would just be as detrimental. So I gave it my best shot, telling her that God has given us everything that we needed including our heart and brains and the freedom to choose. The bad things that happen to people are not from God but brought about by people who do not think about what they are doing and are choosing that which will make their lives unhappy in the long run. God can’t just take away the bad things people do because that will not help us at all. It would just make us think that we did well, even if we really did not, and that we will repeat the mistakes all over again. God wants us to have a good life by letting us choose to have that life, and work on it. If by going through tough times is the way we realize that there is a better way and that we deserve a better life, then the bad things can be a source of good things too.

  35. Truly, God allows nature to take its course, and for us humans, to have our free will. It’s not all about God’s will, it’s about how we allow God to be a part of us. Thank you, Lord. May I always be enlightened by your teaching and guiding light. Amen.

  36. Thank you Lord Jesus Christ for dying for us to save us from our sins. We may not forget that You and John the Baptist who are good people suffer a cruel death…And reflect and contemplate on them when we are suffering as well for doing good…Or we need help from God and seems no help is coming to us…For God knows everything even if we think there are things are somewhat confusing/disturbing but in the end God’s goodness will prevail…

  37. It truly takes faith to understand that sometimes, we have to experience the disillusionment to come out stronger. It has happened often enough in my life, and I have to say it has made my faith stronger. It is not the “idle” option of just leaving things to God with no understanding or effort, but doing our part, as well. It’s an active faith. May I always have the strength to make the right choices, Lord — even if they are painful.

  38. Some of my personal reflections:

    John the Baptist represented what a lot of us feel in certain parts of our life. A sense of doubt, uncertainty, and disillusionment. Madalas maraming tanong naiiwan kesa sagot. But despite it, he continued his mission. Not blindly, but with acknowledging his innermost feelings.

    I was struck by the torn curtain. In a way, it impacted me as a form of oneness and transparency. In that God is with us through the dirt, and the search to do good. By being on the cross and crying to the heavens, he identified with the struggle of humanity by experiencing such. Minsan, di malinaw saan patungo buhay natin o bakit nangyayari ang mga bagay bagay o kaya nasaan ang hustisya. Bakit kung sino pa ang nasa kapangyarihan, sila pa ang nangnanakaw? Bakit nagkakasakit ang tao na inaalagaan ang katawan? But in the process, I believe God is with us as we go through the disturbances in our hearts. He joins us in the process.

  39. I am struck by the mention of our definition of God’s Will. While I understand that He only Wills what is good for us, He can’t prevent bad things from happening because they are the effects of our free will. Let us strive to be more discerning in our decisions and actions so that others will not suffer from them. Thank you making me realize this, Father!

  40. I had a blessed opportunity to have the 2nd day of the online retreat in the chapel of the Benedictine Sisters. They have kept in a glass case the charred remains of the image of Christ crucified without the wooden cross. A caption states that the charred remains was what was left when their former chapel had been burned some years back. I was not at ease while looking at the image. The entire image was burnt. The face was beyond recognition. The arms were missing but the shape of the burnt image resembled that of the crucified Christ. But a part of me, despite the uneasy feeling, wanted me to stay and invited me to have my prayers near the image. The image reminded me that Christ stayed on despite the pain and suffering that he had to endure. He could have abandoned the Father ‘s plan altogether to avoid the pain, but he chose to remain come “hell or high water”. The sisters must have kept the charred remains as a remembrance of their struggle after the fire and their desire to rebuild their place of prayer after clearing the debris and ashes. The fire might have destroyed their chapel but their faith in Christ was “fire-proof”…a faith that has weathered the most tough times. Such was Christ’s faith to His Father…such was the faith of the sisters in Christ. The charred remains become a holy image of their faith. I pray that through the Paschal Mystery of Christ which we commemorate this Holy Week allow our Faith in God to grow and be transformed where no fire can consume.

  41. Jesus’ willingness to accept His suffering and death for the love of us is a reminder for me that my burden and worries are nothing compared to Jesus. But I can do all things and accept my own worries because He is with me until the end of it all because Jesus loves me.

  42. ‘Lord let your servant go in peace’ is my prayer for my deceased dad. He suffered with his sickness for the last 5yrs like Jesus he needed to carry his cross. And we his family witnessed it. We are like Jesus’s disciple who can only watch and pray while he endure his pain. I pray for my dad and all my family members who recently departed this word also battling their sickness carrying their cross. May the give them peace.

  43. Jess, thank you for dying for us. You died to bring us closer to the Father. A lot of times, we find ourselves closer to someone, more accepting of reality, more sure of our faith, after having been left alone, abandoned, disenchanted and disillusioned. We need to be disenchanted to face, accept and grow in reality. Jess, give us the strength and the courage to face more disenchantments in the future. We will never fully understand You but provide us woth the faith to follow You despite of…

  44. Thank You Lord for reminding me to never give-up on your mission for me. For reminding me that what truly pleases you is our for those who have experienced more disillusionments than we have. Especially those that have all their lives have been left behind. Those that have because of their poverty have lost their freedom to choose to follow your way because of their desperation to just follow those who promise to rescue them from their plight and in the end even take advantage of them and leave them even more desperate and disillusioned. Please give me the grace to be always mindful of my own failures and indifference to the least and the lost. Please give me the courage and faith to remain faithful to your call to love others as you have loved us.

  45. Sometimes, my worry is strange. When I was small, we were financially hard up. But because my parents were good in budgeting and we received support through scholarships and from relatives, all of us successfully graduated from university. But now, that I have some savings and investments, I find myself worrying that I do not have enough for old age because I have to support a sister and her daughter who is in a financial crisis and I contribute the most for my aging parents. Why am i worried when before we did not have a surplus but we received all the help we needed to be where we are now? It is strange, when faith is shaken or trust is lost due to mere worry or fear of things that are not there yet or events that we predict may happen. While fear serves a good purpose to help us prepare for old age or sickness, we must not let it overcome us to the point of making ourselves be ruled by our fears. It is good to challenge my sister to re-build her career so she will be financially independent again. Help me Lord and help my sister to realize that she cannot be dependent on me forever because she has the capacity to earn income. I am not concerned about my contributions to my parents because they have very little pension. I am more concerned when my sisters are in need of help. Each one of us where given a chance to make choices in life. But I also did not expect myself to be the most financially capable of all of us. I can only say thank you to the universe, to god almighty, to the persons who have paved the way for me to be where I am. May i ever be grateful and generous without counting the cost……

  46. Truly, God is with us in every season of our lives. Thank you for Your unconditional love, Lord. May we always have the grace to trust You more especially in times of despair and disappointments. Please continue to strengthen us to follow Your Will and become faithful stewards in our spiritual journey.

  47. Lord, you are truly the one. For all the pain & sufferings I have caused you, thank you for bearing it all with me, for loving me all the way even if I don’t deserve it. Thank you for giving meaning to a life that was once lost, confused & disenchanted, for giving me the opportunity to love you again, for making life beautiful and meaningful.
    Heavenly Father, I thank you for the gift of your son. It is through the cross of Jesus (knowing that He too wasn’t exempted from the pain and sufferings of this world and how his life had to end) that I get my consolation, strength & trust in you when seeing two people very dear to me (who a few years ago & one just months ago) had to undergo much pain & suffering in the last moments of their lives. It hurts so much to see them go that way as it hurts to see your son suffer for our sake. Help me to love you more each day & entrust everything to you.

  48. Thank you Lord God for accepting your passion to save us all. Your love to us is greater than any man can give. Help us to be like you Lord God that we may be able to love not only to our family and friends but even for those who forsake and hurt us. Let us be like You that would also be willing to take all the difficulties and trials and would still be thankful. Help us to have patience, endurance, perseverance and to be more compassionate to others. Thank you so much Lord Jesus. You are the only God we worship and our only savior.

  49. I’m deeply moved today and my tears won’t stop falling while contemplating on how John the Baptist and Christ must have felt when God didn’t come when they needed Him most. It must have been so heart breaking! The thought makes me feel embarrassed for those times I complained and threw tantrums whenever I didn’t feel the presence of God during what I perceived, difficult times. There were even days when I would totally and intentionally neglect my prayer time because I thought God was not listening anyways. The cause of my disillusionment is not even an inch close to what Jesus and John’s.
    Today, I feel so blessed to feel God’s presence through this online retreat. It’s only my second year to join the Holy Week online retreat, yet I feel comfortable sharing here. Thank you for all the work you put on this retreat, we truly appreciate it. I shared this to my friends in the community and they all feel the same. God bless you all!

  50. He did not spare His Son because His love for us is greater than His love for Himself. Truly, Emmanuel is God with us until the end of time.

  51. Thanks again Jesus of Nazareth for this second day of online retreat. I feel so blessed together with my wife and daughter. Lord help me as being your servant to lead my brothers andsister’s family to make Jesus Christ the center of their lives. Amen.

  52. To live life to the fullest according to God’s will is the very essence of our existence. The prayer : ” Lord, let your servant go in peace. For Your Word has been fulfilled.” is such a powerful prayer and struck me the most in today’s retreat.

    Thank you Fr. J and your team for this wonderful experience online . God bless you more. Looking forward for tomorrow.

  53. It is truly heartbreaking for JBap to ask the question…and you are right: At the outset of his ministry (in Lk 4) Jesus proclaimed the Jubilee…freedom of captives…I can imagine how hurt JBap was..and maybe how painful it is also for Jesus to say that? To shatter people’s hopes…or illusions…nevertheless, at the end of the Lukan gospel, another captive, another criminal asked Jesus a question..and at that moment – also hanging on the cross – Jesus answered: Today you will be with me in paradise..once again, it is this theological laden word TODAY in Luke…today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing..at the end of the Gospel, Jesus truly fulfilled his ministry..it is GOOD friday.

  54. It is very tempting to think every time that God is silent and does not act to relieve or stop the negative events or situations in our lives. But when I contemplate The Passion and Death of Jesus , and see God’s non- intervention for his beloved Son, then I see and believe that pain and sorrow in my life does not and cannot be because God does not love me. From pain and suffering , please God ,my Father , give me your Peace.

  55. I was struck by the insight that God is eternal and that He can respond to our prayers now in the past. So I offer my thanks to Him and Jesus for their love which has redeemed me and my loved ones. I ask God to let Jesus I hear my thanks and those of others like me in the midst of all the insults and jeers from the crowd that wants to see Him crucified on Calvary.

    Being eternal, God can also respond to our prayers today in the future. One of my favorite movie lines comes from “Saving Private Ryan” where the Captain (played by Tom Hanks) tells Private Ryan (played by Matt Damon) with his dying breath to “earn this” meaning the sacrifice of all the men who died to save him. Lord, please help me to “earn” my salvation and not waste Your death on the cross by following You.

  56. The significance of the torn curtain is one of the greatest truths I learned today. Emmanuel “God is with us” has been there since the conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb…but its fulfillment happened on Good Friday when Jesus gave his human life for us. Now really God is with us…

  57. Lord, how can I complain about my sufferings compared to what You endured this Good Friday? I pray for the strength & grace to carry my crosses & do good according to Your teachings. I know that I am not alone. That you are there for us. We just need to open our hearts to You.

    1. Thank you for your sharing VicB. It opened my heart and mind that whatever worries and concerns I have cannot compare with the Lord’s Suffering on the cross. The more I realize how much He loves us to suffer and give His life for us.

  58. Like John the Baptist, He was not saved from death. This hit me hardest the most, being reminded that Jesus’s cousin John, though heartbroken, had finally understood in the end what the Messiah’s mission was. John’s own expectation of being saved from the evils of humanity was stripped away because Jesus will also die the same way. Very powerful reminder of the God who wanted to be us, be with us. The distinction between God and human was torn like the curtain.

    He was indeed one with us, and that is more than humbling and overwhelming.

  59. I am a servant. A servant.
    My Master’s will is best…for all.
    I am a servant.
    I move on His command, at His pace.
    I may live and die in the triumph of sin or evil, in spite of my mission’s fulfillment. But I am only a servant. My focus is on loving and obeying His will. Because it is best.

  60. The curtain being torn has a very strong image for me, that of separating myself from the hurts of the past and living with a stronger, more faithful self, and moving on to a more peaceful future….with God’s grace !!!

  61. God sometimes violently tears apart our images of Him, which causes pain and disillusionment. But perhaps much like the veil, the tearing apart of these images reveals a more awesome reality.

  62. Peace is not the absence of pain or trouble, but in doing the right thing in the midst of all. It is doing God”s will.

  63. Very beautiful indeed, God’s love is. There certainly are times that I feel separated from God, unloved and alone. However, this here is a wonderful reminder that God is always there, never leaving us behind, always loving and forgiving.

  64. Lord, let your servant go in peace, for your Word has been fulfilled. – That is such a beautiful prayer! It means one has lived, not a good life, but a FULL life, with all its ups & downs, but always with the realization that God was with you all throughout your journey! A lifetime spent discerning & trying to do God’s will! I hope & pray that my family & I are able to achieve that full life.

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