Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Holy Life

Saint Andrew Düng-Lac and Companion Martyrs

Priest and Martyr, Martyrs of Vietnam

Feast day – November 24

St. Andrew was one of 117 martyrs who met death in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. Members of this group were beatified on four different occasions between 1900 and 1951. Now all have been canonized by Pope John Paul II. Christianity came to Vietnam (then three separate kingdoms) through the Portuguese. Jesuits opened the first permanent mission at Da Nang in 1615. They ministered to Japanese Catholics who had been driven from Japan. The king of one of the kingdoms banned all foreign missionaries and tried to make all Vietnamese apostatize by trampling on a crucifix. Like the priest-holes in Ireland during English persecution, many hiding places were offered in homes of the faithful. Severe persecutions were again launched three times in the 19th century. During the six decades after 1820, between 100,000 and 300,000 Catholics were killed or subjected to great hardship.


Foreign missionaries martyred in the first wave included priests of the Paris Mission Society, and Spanish Dominican priests and tertiaries. Persecution broke out again in 1847 when the emperor suspected foreign missionaries and Vietnamese Christians of sympathizing with the rebellion of one of his sons. The last of the martyrs were 17 laypersons, one of them a 9-year-old, executed in 1862. That year a treaty with France guaranteed religious freedom to Catholics, but it did not stop all persecution. By 1954 there were over a million and a half Catholics—about seven percent of the population — in the north. Buddhists represented about 60 percent. Persistent persecution forced some 670,000 Catholics to abandon lands, homes and possessions and flee to the south. In 1964, there were still 833,000 Catholics in the north, but many were in prison. In the south, Catholics were enjoying the first decade of religious freedom in centuries, their numbers swelled by refugees. During the Vietnamese war, Catholics again suffered in the north, and again moved to the south in great numbers. Now the whole country is under Communist rule.


It may help a people who associate Vietnam only with a recent war to realize that the cross has long been a part of the lives of the people of that country. Even as we ask again the unanswered questions about United States involvement and disengagement, the faith rooted in Vietnam's soil proves hardier than the forces which would destroy it.


“The Church in Vietnam is alive and vigorous, blessed with strong and faithful bishops, dedicated religious, and courageous and committed laypeople.... The Church in Vietnam is living out the gospel in a difficult and complex situation with remarkable persistence and strength” (statement of three U.S. archbishops returning from Vietnam in January 1989).


Sources for this article were taken from:



O God,
the source and origin of all fatherhood,
you kept the Martyrs Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions
faithful to the cross of your Son
even to the shedding of their blood,
grant, through their intercession,
that, spreading your love among our brothers and sisters,
we may be your children both in name and in truth.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, you Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Saint Andrew Düng-Lac and Companion Martyrs

– Pray for us



Gospel Reflection

November 24, 2012
Saturday – Year of Faith
Memorial of Saint Andrew Düng-Lac, Priest and Martyr
And his 116 companions, martyrs
by Rev. Fr. Paul Marquez (St. Paul Church and Seminary, Bagtikan Street, Makati)
Lunch Mass at Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel, Greenbelt, Makati

Reading 1 Rv 11:4-12

I, John, heard a voice from heaven speak to me: Here are my two witnesses: These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone wants to harm them, fire comes out of their mouths and devours their enemies. In this way, anyone wanting to harm them is sure to be slain. They have the power to close up the sky so that no rain can fall during the time of their prophesying. They also have power to turn water into blood and to afflict the earth with any plague as often as they wish.

When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the abyss will wage war against them and conquer them and kill them. Their corpses will lie in the main street of the great city, which has the symbolic names 'Sodom' and 'Egypt,' where indeed their Lord was crucified. Those from every people, tribe, tongue, and nation will gaze on their corpses for three and a half days, and they will not allow their corpses to be buried. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and be glad and exchange gifts because these two prophets tormented the inhabitants of the earth. But after the three and a half days, a breath of life from God entered them. When they stood on their feet, great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, "Come up here." So they went up to heaven in a cloud as their enemies looked on.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 144:1, 2, 9-10

R. (1b) Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
My mercy and my fortress,
my stronghold, my deliverer,
My shield, in whom I trust,
who subdues my people under me.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
O God, I will sing a new song to you;
with a ten stringed lyre I will chant your praise,
You who give victory to kings,
and deliver David, your servant from the evil sword.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

Gospel Lk 20:27-40

Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us, If someone's brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married a woman but died childless. Then the second and the third married her, and likewise all the seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been married to her." Jesus said to them, "The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise. That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called 'Lord' the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive." Some of the scribes said in reply, "Teacher, you have answered well." And they no longer dared to ask him anything.


Napakinggan po natin sa ating mga pagbasa at sa atin pong Ebanghelyo na mayroon pong namamatay, ngunit mayroon din pong nabubuhay. Sabi po sa First Reading, namatay ang dalawang alagad ng Diyos. Bagamat hindi ho sila pinangalanan at sila ay sinabing dalawang punong olibo (two olive trees), ang sabi po ng mga iskolar sa Bibliya, sila ay wala pong iba kundi si Moses at si Elijah, with Moses representing the law, and Elijah representing the prophets. Sila po ang naghanda sa pagdating ng Panginoong Hesukristo, ng Manunubos. Sinabing sila ay mamamatay nang tatlo't kalahating araw at pagkatapos noon, sila ay muling mabubuhay.

Samakatuwid, ang ipinapangako po ng Unang Pagbasa at ng Ebanghelyo ay ang muling pagkabuhay - ang resurrection. Kaya sa lesson plan po ng Simbahan, 'yon pong itinuturo po namin kada Linggo, mayroon pong 33 Sundays in a Liturgical Year, kasi 'yon po ang edad ni Hesus noong Siya po ay ipinako sa Krus. 30 years na nanahimik lang si Hesus kasama ni Maria at ni Jose, tumutulong sa Kanyang mga magulang, at nagpapagabay sa Kanyang mga magulang. Pagtungtong po ni Hesus mula edad 30 hanggang 33, siya po ay nagsimulang mangaral sa mga tao, nagpagaling ng mga maysakit, bumuhay ng mga yumao, nagpatawad sa mga may kasalanan, nagbigay ng pag-asa sa mga taong bigung-bigo at dapang dapa na sa buhay. Three years lang po 'yon. Pero hindi po natin sinasabing sa 33 Sundays lang nagtatapos ang kalendaryo ng Simbahan, sapagkat hindi ho nagtatapos ang kamatayan ni Hesus, kundi ito ay nagpapatuloy sa Gloria, sa kaluwalhatian.

Bukas, araw ng Linggo ay ang dakilang kapistahan o Solemnity of Jesus Christ as King of the universe - heaven and earth. Diyan po ang patutunguhan ng buhay ni Hesus - hindi lamang po hanggang krus, di lang hanggang kamatayan, kundi hanggang sa muling pagkabuhay. Siya ngayon ay nakaluklok sa kanan ng Ama. 'Yan po ang ating sinasampalatayanan.

Dito po sa Ebanghelyo ngayon, ang mga kontrapelo ni Hesus (ang mga Saduccees) ay lumapit sa Kanya at tinawag Siya, at nagpapanggap na tinawag si Hesus na guro. Di ba pag sinabi mong guro, ibig sabihin ay gusto mong matuto? Pero ang mga Saduccees ay wala talagang balak matuto. Ang gusto nila ay siluhin - i-trap si Hesus. Siguro habang nagtatanong sila ukol sa balong nakapangasawa ng pitong lalaking magkakapatid, nagsisikuhan pa sila at nagkikindatan. Mayroon kasi silang batas na matuloy ang lahi ng isang pamilya ng isang lalaki, kaya kinakailangang kapag namatay ang mister, pakakasalan ng sumunod na kapatid na lalaki ang nabalong babae. Ang kwentong ito syempre ay gawa-gawa lamang nila. Ang mga Saduccees ay mga aristokrato, may-ari ng malalawak na lupa, ngunit hindi naniniwala sa muling pagkabuhay. Kaya't ang motto po nila ay 'eat and live, for tomorrow, we will die'. At pag namatay ka, doon na natatapos, wala nang resurrection. Kaya para sa kanila, life is one big party. Wala na silang iniisip tungkol sa pagmamalasakit at pagtulong sa kapwa.

Ang mga Phariseo naman ay kalabang matalik ng mga Saduccees, sapagkat ang mga Phariseo ay naniniwala sa mga spirits, sa angels at sa resurrection. Ngunit sila ay biglang naging magkakampi sapagkat mayroon silang maitim at masamang balak laban kay Hesus, at iyon ay ang siluhin Siya. At sa katanungan ng mga Saduccees kung kaninong asawa mapupunta ang balong babae, simple lang ang sagot ni Hesus. Dahil naniniwala ang mga Saducees sa batas ni Moses, ginamit ni Hesus na entry point si Moses. Sinabi ni Hesus na natatandaan ninyo si Moses, during the burning bush, habang nagliliyab 'yong mababang punong-kahoy, ano ang sinabi ng Diyos sa kanya, "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob". At dahil Ako ay kanilang Diyos, ako ay buhay na Diyos, at buhay pa rin sila. Ang Diyos ay ang Diyos ng buhay, at hindi ng mga patay. Siya ang Diyos ng muling pagkabuhay.

Simple lamang po ang aral na nais iwanan sa atin ng mga pagbasa ngayon, habang tayo ay naghahanda sa dakilang kapistahan ni Kristong Hari. Na ang buhay dito sa lupa, puno man ng mga pagsubok at mga paghihirap, ay ipinapangako sa atin ng Diyos na hindi ito ang huling salita. Life on earth is not God's final word for us. Hindi ho hanggang dito lang ang buhay. Iniisip natin na sa ating muling pagkabuhay ay wala na tayong sakit, wala na tayong pagtangis, ngunit sigurado po ako na higit pa roon ang buhay sa kabila. Sabi nga ni St. Paul, no eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor has it dawned on man, kung ano ang naghihintay sa atin sa kabila. Hindi po maliit ang langit; hindi po iyon kasing liit ng imahinasyon ng tao. Palaging lampas at lampas pa doon ang naghihintay sa atin. Kaya nga iyon ay misteryo. Kaya nga sabi ng mga santo, oras na malaman mo ang hitsura ng langit, mamamatay ka. Hindi mo kakayanin, kasi napakaganda, ubod nang ganda, at ubod nang sarap manitili doon.

'Yon ang pangako sa atin ng Panginoon. Ang importante lang, habang tayo ay buhay pa, sana makita natin ang koneksiyon ng buhay natin dito sa lupa, sa buhay natin sa kabila. Kung ang buhay sa kabila ay totoong banal dahil naroroon ang Diyos, at ang buhay naman natin dito ay isang pagsisikap tungo sa buhay na banal, may koneksiyon. Ngunit kung ang buhay natin ay nananatili sa buhay ng pagkakasala, ating isipin - babagay ba tayo doon sa buhay sa kabila?

Ang pangako ng Panginoon ay nariyan Siya upang laging magpatawad. Ngunit kinakailangang hingin natin ang Kanyang kapatawaran. Tanggapin natin, hangarin natin ang Kanyang kapatawaran at biyaya. Kaya't sa misang ito, tayo ay magpasalamat sa Kanya sa pagbigay Niya sa atin ng biyaya ng muling pagkabuhay. Sinasabi ng Diyos na nais Niyang magkaroon ng ugnayan sa atin. Hindi tayo kagaya ng karaniwang nilikha gaya ng halaman at hayop na nariyan ngayon, bukas wala na, at hanggang doon na lang sila. Tayo ay tao, at mayroon tayong tinitingalang muling pagkabuhay. Salamat po, Panginoon, at nawa'y turuan Mo kaming maging karapat-dapat sa Iyong paghahari sa langit. Amen.


Saint Andrew Düng-Lac and Companion Martyr
Pray for us