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‘Love is its own reward’ ~Bishop Famadico
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

HOMILY delivered by the Most Rev. Buenaventura Famadico, D.D., Bishop, Diocese of San Pablo, during the Clergy-Lay Congress, June 21, 2017.


My dear fellow children of God,

As you gather together as members of Couples for Christ, you are exhorted to live according to your theme: Stand Firm in the Faith. Let us reflect on this theme in the light of the readings of the Mass today.


The husband and wife consecrated to Christ in the sacrament of marriage enter into a highly potential environment for the development of faith. In the wedding ceremony, as they seal their bond of mutual love, they are making an act of faith.


They believe that God has joined them together and nobody can set them apart throughout their lifetime. And many among you here continue to persist in that faith in spite of all the difficulties. You believe that God continues to be with you at all moments of your married life.


We may wonder how the families in Mindanao who fled from the war zone could keep their faith. We pray that they hold on to the presence of God in their midst, as they wait indefinitely for the signal to return safely to their homes.


We may wonder how a widow of a slain soldier, a widow of a victim of the drug campaign, a widow of a cancer victim, could cope, now that she is alone in carrying the burden of sustaining the family.


We pray that they stand firm in faith.


We are indeed fortunate that we are given the grace to gather in this comfortable, airconditioned, and safe venue. That means we have received much in contrast with those who are staying in the evacuation areas. And that is where the readings of today could help us reflect about our life.


The first reading tells us that God loves a cheerful giver and we give because we are being enriched in every way. God reminds us through this reading of who we really are: created according to the image of God; adopted children of God through Jesus Christ. We are being asked by God to look at ourselves not merely from the human perspective but from the perspective of God who created us. We always fall short of God’s expectation from us because we are using a very limited yardstick. We tend to water down our own identity and dignity. Let us embrace our own identity as children and image of God who received from him the capacity to act like him. Instead of looking at our own limitations, let us look at our own goodness and say, “Wow! How wonderfully has God made me.”


We can be generous in a lot of ways. There are corporal works of mercy. There are spiritual works of mercy. We are all recipients of both works of mercy. We have in fact received abundantly because that is how God gives to us. We just have taken a lot for granted.


We have received a lot from God. We just need to let God be God in our lives. We only need to believe because it really is so. Stand firm in the faith that God loves us tremendously, and then we could do wondrous things.


Stand firm in faith that you are loved by God, feel that love and let it flow towards your spouse. It is not your own, it is something you received from God abundantly so share it with your family bountifully. Stand firm in faith that you have received the gift of faith and hope from God. Share it with those in doubt, those who are afraid, those in need of forgiveness.


We have also received a certain kind of predisposition. Some are naturally predisposed to being kind. It comes out naturally and effortlessly. That means it is something you received from God.God has given it to you abundantly, share it with others bountifully. 


What are the other characteristics of love that you have received from God? The first letter of Corinthians chapter 13 enumerates this: patience, kindness, not being envious nor boastful nor arrogant, nor rude. Other characteristics of love that you have received from God and which you may let other experience are, not insisting on your own way; not being irritable nor resentful, not rejoicing in wrongdoing, rejoicing in the truth. You may have been given the capacity to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endure all things.


We are invited to stand firm in the faith that God loves us tremendously. We are invited to share that love bountifully. We need not do it for people to see. Love is its own reward.




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