POLITICIANS and celebrities become “people of the past” but saints like Pope St. John Paul II will remain and continue to make Jesus Christ present in our lives.

This was the message of former UST rector Fr. Rolando de la Rosa O.P. during the Eucharistic celebration for the arrival of the blood relic of Pope St. John Paul II at the University last May 15.

“Show to others the unconditional love of God and feel how much God loves you,” he said in his homily. “We don’t just remember [Pope St. John Paul II], we bring him to our deepest pain, our request for healing. Our praises to God, we send through him.”

De la Rosa stressed that popularity transcends the legacy of the life of a saint.

“‘Yong mga politiko, lalo na ‘yong mga nanalo, they are very famous, although some say they are notorious. ‘Yong mga pictures nila, nakapaskil sa mga poste. Nakakita na ba kayo ng taong tumitingin sa mga pictures ng mga senador na ‘to o mga tumatakbong senador at kinakausap sila? Addressing them? Wala,” he said.

The Eucharist is not a God but it is the presence of Jesus Christ that the faithful celebrate, which St. John Paul II taught, he added.

Calling for the end of self-demotion, de la Rosa reminded the youth of St. John Paul II’s message that God loves them unconditionally.

“Nobody is perfect until he is loved. So, especially the young people who are here, you are loved unconditionally by God. Don’t [try] to value yourself in terms of the opinions of other people. Kung tinitingnan niyo sa ilan na ba ang likes niyo at kaunti lang, ang baba ng tingin niyo sa sarili niyo,” he said.

The blood relic stayed in the University until May 16. The visitation is part of the year-long pilgrimage of the relic in celebration of the Year of the Youth.

De la Rosa also described his “resurrection experience” during the pope’s visit to UST in 1995.

“[Reurrection experience] is when you are able to tell yourself, ‘I am never the same again.’ Why? Because the presence of a saint brings a transforming grace,” de la Rosa, who was UST rector during the 1995 papal visit, said.

Pope St. John Paul II visited the country twice — in 1981 and during the World Youth Day festivities in 1995. He was canonized by Pope Francis on April 27, 2014. M. C. Serquina


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