By Oliver Samson
July 4, 2018
A true disciple knows the true value of the Eucharist and is always yearning and happy to receive Christ’s Body and Blood, a priest reminded the faithful during a recent Mass at Mary Mother of Hope chapel, Trinoma.
Fr. Jay-R Sumayop noted how the Catholic faithful make up 82 percent of the Philippine population today, but barely 10 percent go to Sunday Mass in Metro Manila where the transportation is faster and more efficient.
The meaning of the Eucharist is more than the value of diamond, he stressed.
Some Catholics in Metro Manila come to the church only as a matter of habit without grasping its true sense, the priest pointed out. Some hear the Mass in shorts, he added, others in sleeveless shirts.
5-8 hour walk
“They even don’t know how to respond,” he said. “And sometimes they receive communion but do not know the value of what they receive.”
Describing his Masses in remote barangays outside Metro Manila, the priest said it was delightful when the faithful would wait at the chapel until nearly noon because the usual walk from the parish would take 5 to 8 hours.
“They are very happy when a priest visits to say a Mass,” he said in Filipino.
Chapel full of people
Taking a boat to those barangays would take more time since it would mean going against the river current, he recalled.
“They long for the Eucharist,” noted the priest. “The chapel is filled with people.”
According to Sumayop, as a gesture of gratitude for having a Mass celebrated for them, the locals would offer their crops – banana, cassava, vegetables, and chickens.
“These people exchange their chickens for cans of sardines because they seldom find fish to eat,” he said.
He would return to the parish with gifts he and his companions could hardly carry.
“A sack of banana, a sack of root crops, like camote and cassava,” he said in Filipino. “They treat you like a king.”
Those faithful in remote barangays probably celebrate Mass and receive communion about 4 times only in a year, he noted.