WHILE the Catholic faithful gathered for the dawn Easter Sunday mass, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma urged them to intensify their trust and faith in God.
Palma reminded them that the risen Lord remained faithful to His Father throughout His ordeal.
“Among all our problems, among all the obstacles we have encountered, our trust in the Lord brings change, new hope and new beginnings,” he said in Cebuano.
In his homily, Palma cited a graduate of a drug rehabilitation program, who, in his testimony, thanked the Lord for helping him achieve the change he wanted for himself.
“Maybe we can’t overcome all the problems and the hardships if we only relied on ourselves,” Palma said in Cebuano.
The prelate said Easter is an important celebration because it denotes the culmination of all Lenten practices, such as the Last Supper, Visita Iglesia, Stations of the Cross and the Seven Last Words, which devotees observe during Holy Week.
“But these practices are nothing if we don’t celebration the resurrection of Christ. His resurrection is a testimony to all of His teachings, His deeds. That these are good news, not fake news, and it’s what the faithful hope for,” Palma said in Cebuano.
In an interview after the mass, Palma condemned the spate of killings in the city and called on the authorities to conduct an honest and fair investigation.
“If there is joy in His resurrection, there is also sadness in the rash of killings. It’s as if life has of little value. I just hope that somehow, they (authorities) will prove true to their calling,” he said in Cebuano.
Despite allegations that some members of the police are behind these extra-judicial killings (EJKs), Palma clarified that the Church is not condemning anyone.
He said they just wanted honest investigations that would lead to the solution of these EJK-related cases.
“Where are these coming from? Impunity? But we do not judge them. We hope that there are still many (police officials) who will try to be true to their calling,” he said.
Palma also challenged the faithful to become conscientious voters in the upcoming national elections on May 13.
“We do believe that our people have the power; the power does not so much consist of the power of hands that were raised by powerful people or endorsed even by the present administration or whoever endorses them. It is supposed to be on the hand that is dictated by right conscience,” he said.
The 69-year-old Palma, who will cast his vote in Cebu City, said the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) remains a non-partisan body.
“As a principle, the CBCP does not endorse any electoral candidate. Ang amo is ang paghatag og (Our role is to come up with) guidelines ra. I trust the people. Good votes will appear on the ballot,” he added.