Msgr. John VargasViva la Virgen, Viva Our Lady of Penafrancia, Viva el Divino Rostro.

Mary was asked by God through the angel Gabriel to be the mother of His Son Jesus. Mary responded, “Fiat. Be it done to me as You will.”

Mary knew that God is Love! And what love is and what it bears on our lives: An awesome responsibility and a great sacrifice!

For Mary, love is not what she feels or what she said but what she did. And that is unconditional obedience to God, our Creator and Loving Father.

Jesus taught the same teaching as his loving mother. “If you love me,” Jesus said to His disciples, “you will keep the commandments I have given you.” He repeatedly emphasize to them that “love is not what we feel or what we say but what we do.”

We must openly declare our love for one another. Love is a redemptive force that can alleviate the human heart of divine emptiness. It helps us grow in caring for our poor brothers and sisters.

Jesus says, Love God with all your heart; Love your neighbor as you love yourself. And to those whom we dislike, He commands us, “Love even your enemies.”

The real test of love is what we do every day. Every one of us will have problems that will shake our faith in God. We shall get discouraged and experience distress, then we begin to think … less and less – of our life with God.

But there is always hope because there is life. Mary’s heart is linked to God. And she gives that life to Him unconditionally.

Like what Mary did, everyone of us should respond to the needs of our brothers and sisters, who are experiencing great distress because of the recent strong typhoons that devastated Texas and Florida. Many have lost their homes and loved ones. They need our help.

Like what St. Mother Teresa did in Calcutta, we must be generous dispenser of divine mercy; we must defend human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded. For us, mercy must be the “salt” which gives flavor to our work, it must be the light which shines in the darkness of the many who longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering. We must be shining example of love in action.

Here is a story of a Japanese man who lived in a splendid home on the top of a mountain. Each day he would go out for a walk in his garden and look at the sea below. One day he looked out and saw on the horizon a large tsunami rising towards the shore. And then he noticed a group of his neighbors down on the beach having a picnic. He began to shout and wave his arms, but they were too far away to see or hear him. Do you know what that man did? He went into his own beautiful home and set it on fire. When his neighbors down on the beach saw the flames and smoke, some of them said, “Let’s climb the mountain and help our neighbor to save his home. And the others said, “Oh that mountain is so steep and we’re having much fun, you go.”

The one who climbed the mountain were saved. The others who stayed on the beach having fun when the tidal wave hit the shore all vanished and died.

God’s love is beckoning you to climb that mountain. There you discover who God is; you discover too who you are, why you are here and you must do with your lives.

The witness of love concerns everyone. It is not a solitary endeavor, but a commitment to be shared by the whole community, by each one of us. Do it – remembering Jesus and Mary! Our Lady of Penafrancia loves you!