WHILE THE CROWD that attended the recent assembly of PREX fanatics (the die-hard, faithful few; compared to my self-confessed addict) at the Holy Spirit Parish did not exceed expectations, the Priest of that Parish, Fr. Mar Sanchez, more than made up for the meager turnout. Not only did he make melodies with the animators but he also shook hands with the audience and stayed until the last joyful song was sung and the fellowship was done. He had to stay, not because of Kuya Noel’s introduction, which was worth anybody’s attention, but because, if he hadn’t, the crowd would have missed his timely message.
But let me mention the starter first before the speech. Kuya Noel described Fr. Mar as a blessing to the community, thanks be to God, for a Parish Priest so willing to journey with us on the difficult task of revival, a la Road to Emmaus.
Fr. Mar’s message: I’ve been all around the country and into the promised (Holy) land where I discovered where my foolishness came from. Fr. Mar was referring to the animators’ erstwhile rendition of the action song “Making Melodies in My Heart,” an indisputable “foolish” feature even by sacred standards. The necessary number, he continued, asks us to be foolish for the Lord, whose Spirit is enshrined in our hearts, which is why we are on a mission to spread foolishness to, with, in and for Christ (pardon my twif take, blame it on my Montfortian influence). Never mind if we have many vices, he said, as long as we go back to renew our faith (as in PREX) in the Lord, to Jerusalem, where it happened, before the road to Emmaus. We do not throw away the Temple, we do not just wear it, like when the Holy Spirit made us become one Church, one baptism. We do not stifle it, our aim should be in the true final end, Christ, not only Jerusalem but heavenly journey, to eternal and never-ending heaven. In PREX, we discover the true Church, we save on many good things, especially time, we don’t allow disturbance to escape the road to Jesus, the center of the Church tabernacle, the bosom which we adore and possess and enshrine in the family and the heart of each one of us. Sino ba aayaw sa vices and vanities. etc? Sa Pinoy kasi, he generalized, alisin ang simbahan, huwag lang ang trabaho at tulog (he did not even include the inevitable kain). Something in the Church tells us of the foolishness that is God, we learn in Church how it is to be churched, to join pilgrimages, anything that is Christ is in the Church, He gives us the keys to His heavenly kingdom. Other denominations deride us because of Peter who is known for his association with a rooster. He, too, learned from foolishness. PREX is bagong buhay sa Diyos, PREX is the Lord, not like Fr. Jigs’ “Good morning” which did not receive a response. There’s another possibility only if we want it, PREX is to animate you and your parish, heart, home, ministry, witnessing. I’m from HSP, he declared, the best parish in the world (applause). You can make it happen, we can’t be church if we are not whole, let’s shout, show sheen with all the elements. PREX starts the parish but why is it dying? Because, it is lit and then left. What should happen is that all ought to be children of the Church and faith, including the youth, so there are followers, because everything that is good is there if the youth are there. So it’s there, don’t abandon it anymore. Since the time of Cardinal Sin, he has always inculcated that a parish that has PREX is good, that’s what we’d like to see over and over again. Let’s hope that it doesn’t die through you, the family of Christ, let it be our conviction, ignite and receive the fire of the Holy Spirit. (My time is near but) I don’t want to go ahead, I want us to go together, bearing the flag of God, tears of joy and victory, to be shed as a cleansing agent, never to fall. On the cross is inner peace and joy, travel many more miles, until exhaustion. The Pope urges us to let it grow, not die, keep burning, through PREX, through community, through prayer. Amen.