CHAPEL SERVICE SERMON
by Lorena C. Bauto, IV
Bachelor of Arts in Christian Education
Have you had an experience or experiences with the best teachers in your life? Or had you been sick and was healed by a great doctor or by a traditional healer in your place. What did you feel? How did you deal with it?
Bayaning Pilipino Award is an annual search for ordinary folks who have done heroic and extraordinary deeds. It gives tribute to fine Filipino values of humanitarianism, industry, determination and dedication to public service. Among the 32 finalists of the National Capital Region, the deserving Fe Lustanas, Teacher III in La Huerta Elementary School in Parañaque, was awarded the Gawad Geny Lopez, Jr. Bayaning Gurong Pilipino Award. Fe shared of her experience, “Sari- sari ang mga taong tinuturuan ko diyan, mga nagtitinda ng yosi, taga walis sa lansangan, naglalako ng kung anu- ano at mga dating tambay.” She taught her learners the tools of self reliance and cooperation.
It is written in Luke 6:17-19, “When Jesus had come down from the hill with the apostles, he stood on a level place with a large number of disciples. A large crowd of people was there from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from the coast cities of Tyre and Sidon, they had come to hear him to be healed of their diseases. Those who have troubled by evil spirits also came and were healed. All the people tried to touch him for power was going out from him and healing them.”
This text shows one of the responsive ministries of Jesus Christ in his time. Let us now see how the gospel of Luke has been a witnessing gospel. In verse 17, we can see that a large crowd of people come to hear the teachings of Christ and be healed. This people travel from different place just to meet a very famous person. This crowd is composed of farmers, fish folks, housewives, fathers, children, youth, widows, Pharisees and even Gentiles.
In Chapter 5 of Luke, there is a story about a man with a paralyzed hand, a man who patiently waited to be healed. Probably this man felt to be different among the normal people in his surroundings. He felt rejected and discriminate by his situation. Gustuhin man nyang igalaw ang kamay nya ay alam nyang hindi nya kaya. Sino nga ba naman ang magiging masaya kung ganun ang nararanasan nya?
One of the main issues that we are facing nowadays is the increasing population of people who became the victims of HIV/AIDS. It is the reality that reveals the situation of people living with HIV/AIDS. Maybe we can say, “So what?” Or, “Do I need to care about that problem?” Or, It’s just a waste of time listening to their stories.” Just like the paralyzed man, people living with HIV/AIDS are always labeled and misunderstood by their social status. I think, they never wish or dream to be in that position. But what is sad about it is that they were pushed to hide themselves, knowing the feeling that they are not acceptable in the community where they ought to belong – in their home, school, workplace, and most specially, in the church. The church that follows the teaching of Christ has pushed them away. They have been crying out to be respected just like the other human beings.
When Jesus saw the needs of this paralyzed man, he already knew it. That’s why he commanded the man to stand and stretch his arms. Jesus knows the thoughts of his opposition against him, but he ignores them and reveals the things that he could do to save someone’s life. He gave the paralyzed man a new life.
Jesus Christ also sympathizes to the situation of the people living with HIV/AIDS. He doesn’t blame them about their fault, but instead he comforts them. One African woman says, “PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS ONLY LOSE THEIR IMMUNITY BUT NOT THEIR HUMANITY”. Since the beginning of creation, God taught us many things about life and during the time of Jesus. He created us and gave life to understand, accept, comfort, encourage, strengthen, inspire, respect and love our fellow creation, our fellow human beings.
It is clear in the gospel of Luke that God’s salvation is not limited to a specific race or social group. It is not just for the Israelite only. It is for all who are lost. God’s salvation includes the Gentiles, the poor, and even the notorious sinners and non-Israelite alike. Even the rebels and the rich and famous persons are included. Incredibly, it also includes people who were considered enemies such as the Samaritans.
God has demonstrated how wide the extent of his mercy and salvation. He created the church, to be a caring and a loving church; to be an open church in helping and accepting different kinds of people in the society. God doesn’t want us to discriminate one another but rather to strengthens each other.
Let us be thankful that God’s salvation does not depend on nationality, gender, age or social status. God teaches, heals, and saves those who are hostile to him. If God is so kind to us , we must also be forgiving and accepting of others and not judge people based on their nationality, gender, age or social status. Let us proclaim this good news that God through Jesus Christ has come to teach, to heal, and to save the lost. The God who loved the paralyzed man is the same God who love us and who heals our broken hearts. He is the God of true social justice that we need to proclaim. In Christ’s name, Amen.