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EASTER MESSAGE of Bishop Leonardo Yuzon Medroso

By CHITO DELA TORRE
April 4, 2010

For today’s Easter Message, I take liberty in sharing with all readers this piece which 71-year old Bishop Leonardo Yuzon Medroso wrote in year 2008 ---

As the light of the Paschal Candle pierces through the murky night of Holy Saturday, ushering on its break the lilting mood of the Easter Vigil that exudes in the song of the “Exsultet”, the people of faith plunges once again into the deep darkness of the Liturgy of the Word to carefully listen to the words of promise and of hope. It is in this holy darkness that the word of God starts again dispelling the chilling fear of death that has for so long terrorized the heart of man, slowly filling it up in an ever increasing intensity with the message of ‘God cares’ and ‘God saves His people’, that soon would blare into the proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus, bursting into songs of jubilation and “alleluia”. For Christ is Risen! Christ is truly risen! HAPPY EASTER.

But back to reality. Is it really possible to celebrate a happy Easter in the midst of all these social turmoil and political mess? At times we begin to wonder if it remains reasonable to be optimistic about this country. The fact is that many of us have become cynical, refusing to believe that change can still take place, refusing to hold that a better life is still possible. In fact, some people have long given up – they chose to look for greener pasture elsewhere. Can the citizens of a morally shaken country such as ours capable of genuinely greeting each other with greetings of “Alleluias” and “Rejoice, for Christ is risen”?

The answer is why not? After all the Church sincerely believes that the answer to our sad plight goes beyond socio-economic analysis and political maneuverings. For the start our Church believes that this deep Easter experience of the risen Christ would give us the stubborn hope that blossoms best in moments of darkness and ambiguity; that it would give us the needed courage to pick up again the communal problem of searching for the truth that we have temporarily left off; that we can readily face up to the moral problems, political ambiguities, and social illusions, that have through these years tightly gripped the soul of our country. The experience of Easter could give us the hope to extricate ourselves from the sad situation that we are in, the time when work is scarce, when families are so poor they can no longer live with dignity and little pride, when the greed of those in the corridors of power has drowned away all their shame and decency, when corruption has become “our greatest shame as a people” (CBCP, “Reform Yourselves and Believe in the Gospel”).

This hope is dynamic, alive, vigorous. It pushes us to action. It is alien for people of hope to say that the event of our times is inevitable. A Filipino Christian, whose spirit is soaked with the Easter experience, plunges himself into action, for he knows that at the heart of this topsy-turvy nation of ours rests the love of God. Easter has taught him that God has overcome the world. As Jesus said: “In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world” (Jn 16:33).

By action here is meant concrete involvement in the unfolding of our history.

Christians who possess the seed of hope in their hearts cannot be passive or indifferent bystanders in the drama which we call “everyday life”. “We can open ourselves and the world and allow God to enter: we can open ourselves to truth, to love, to what is good” (Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi, 35). “Even when we are fully aware that Heaven far exceeds what we can merit”, the Pope says, “it will always be true that our behavior is not indifferent before God and therefore is not indifferent for the unfolding of history” (35). Even when we seem powerless before the enemy, “our actions engender hope for us and for others…” (35). In other words, the more we engage actively and constructively in the efforts to improve society, the more we make alive the hope that is in us. Conversely, the more indifferent we are, the more cynicism destroys our capacity to dream for a better, renewed life.

And when we act, when we actively involve ourselves in the unfolding of history, the element of suffering becomes all the more unavoidable. Being a consequence of our finitude, suffering is already inevitable, but it can swell into horrifying levels when we labor for truth and justice. We can perhaps minimize it by leading a life of utter indifference. We can close our eyes from falsehood and tyranny, and spare ourselves from hostility.

But is this the Christian option? The Holy Father says, “It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love” (37). And with a rather stunning emphasis, he repeats at least three (3) times in the encyclical that the capacity to suffer for truth and justice is an essential criterion, the very measure, of humanity (cf. 38 and 39). To abandon this capacity would destroy man himself. “Truth and justice must stand above my comfort and physical well-being, or else my life itself becomes a lie” (38).

HAPPY EASTER! ---

That’s the full text of the bishop’s article.

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Bishop Leonardo Y. Medroso
Bishop Medroso

Born in Ormoc City, Leyte on November 6, 1938, bishop Medroso was ordained priest on March 30, 1963 with Palo, Leyte as his first assignment.  At age 48 years and 1 month on December 18, 1986, he was appointed bishop of Borongan, Eastern Samar although his ordination as bishop thereat would come four months later, on March 17, 1987.  On October 17, 2006, he was appointed bishop of Tagbilaran, and on December 14 of the same year, he was installed as such church authority in that city of Bohol, an island province in the center of the Philippine archipelago.  A priest for 46.9946.9 years and bishop for 23.0322.9 years as of the last entry on a website that features him, he is very much a pride of the Yuzon and Medroso families in Ormoc, in Leyte and around the Philippines where he has been of service to the Filipino community, for the glory and kingdom of God.

The bishop from Ormoc, a few days after the death of President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, had commented that Cory deserves to be canonized as a saint.  His comment was featured on a national television.

Ah, yes, some had asked why my own family “became” close to the good bishop, as noticed when he solemnized the wedding of my elder son, Engr. Pacifico Niño Medroso Dela Torre, to Mercury Drug-Rizal Avenue branch (Tacloban) pharmacist Gay Casimero Oliva on September 20, 2003.  The bishop is the first cousin of my wife, Cione.  He gave his big picture that was taken upon his assumption as Bishop of Borongan to his other first cousin, Alexander Paune Medroso, younger brother of Cione.  That picture had been on display at the home of the mother of Alex until her death on May 27, 2007.  Cione now keeps that color photograph.  The bishop had visited his uncle, retired master sergeant Timoteo Parilla Medroso, Cione’s father, once, when he was then living at Paterno Extension, on part of what many years later on became the RTR or “freedom” plaza in Tacloban.  We used to visit the bishop in Palo when he was yet priest there.  When he became bishop of Borongan, Alex frequently visited him there.  (Mercury Drug would remember him for long.  He endorsed the necessity for that corporation to open a drug store in Borongan, years before it became a city.)

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Today, April 4, 2010, the Deloria families in Basey will celebrate the Easter Sunday in barrio Roxas (known erstwhile as Shamrock”).  The affair will be marked by the organization of a new Deloria Clan and adoption of programs – such as livelihood and scholarship – for the benefit of its members.  Organizer Jun Deloria Distrajo, formerly a very active and well-traveled band player and singer, will also invite the members, of whom 750 are voters, to join the Deloria reunion at the U.P. in Diliman, Quezon City come May 15, 2010.  Other Delorias who are living abroad and those from other parts of the Philippine Islands will be attending the May 15 reunion.