The Passion of God

Mass of the Holy Spirit.

The theme for our Mass of the Holy Spirit is: “Shared Passion, Shared Mission.”

Have you ever met anyone with a passion for photography? The one who has a passion for photography is one who goes out of his way to get the “perfect shot.” There is a Jesuit in Naga who is passionate about photography named Fr. Jun Embile. He goes out of his way to go to the Camsur Watersports Center in order to get the perfect shot of wake-boarders – even if he doesn’t know them. Fr. Ritche Elot is also passionate about photography. He does not balk at climbing a mountain in order to get the perfect shot. I knew some photographers of churches. They would study the way natural light falls on a church days before the shot, then shoot the church at precisely the right moment. The passionate photographer is one who goes out of his way to get the shot just at the right time, just with the right expression, just with the right texture or mood.

There is a lady I know whom you may also know. Her name is Gina Lopez of the ABS-CBN Foundation. She is passionate about the environment. She addressed our graduating class at ADNU and urged our graduates not to use their education, their energy, their resources to harm the environment. Her passion was also not confined to words. She saw the garbage and filth in the Pasig River, and she worked hard to clean it up. She saw the dying watershed of La Mesa Dam, and she worked to reverse the destruction. Recently, after the murder of her colleague, Dr. Jerry, she got passionately involved in protecting the forests of Palawan from destruction due to mining. Her passion is contagious.

Of course other people have other passions. There are some whose passion is: to sleep. It is incredible: whenever they have a free hour, or a free day, bliss is going to sleep! There are others whose passion is watching movies, or reading books, or shopping. Some people love to go into the malls and department stores to taken in the infinite possibilities of what there is to buy! Some are passionate about Facebook. Others about running. Yet others, among iPad users, about “Angry Bird”!

In the context of many distinguishable passions, one can ask today: Where is my passion? Where is for me the feeling, the fervor, the zeal, the ardor that centrates my energy and my activities? For some who’ve never thought of this before, it may be rather indistinguishable. Some may think they have no passion, and find their life rather drab, dry, and boring. For others, passion is a strong, amorous feeling, and an enduring, compelling drive to love and to be loved. For others, passion is a compulsion to give a command, and know the command obeyed, a compulsion for power. Whatever it is, it is good to be in touch with your passion.

Then, at such a Mass as this, it is good to step back and ask: Is this passion worthy of you. Or is there a jarring “disjoint” between your current passion and what or who you really know yourself to be. I know a lawyer.  As a student he worked passionately to learn his law and pass the bar. Now he is working in one of the best law firms of the country. Yet, even as he has arrived at the best of the legal worlds, he asks, “Is this really all that there is? Is there not something I am about that is more than this?”

This is the Mass of the Holy Spirit. There are many ways in which you can look at the Holy Spirit. One way of looking at the Holy Spirit is as Love. Or as Wisdom. Another way is as the Passion of God. The Holy Spirit is the Passion of the Father looking at humanity in suffering and confusion, not turning his back on it, but saying yes to it. The Holy Spirit is the Compassion of the Father expressing itself, incarnating itself in our world. It is the Passion of Jesus Christ facing the selfishness, superficiality and suffering in the world and proclaiming: the Kingdom of God, insisting on: the God of Love. He did this so effectively, that he called forth opposition from those who were selfish, superficial, violent and Godless – causing his passion and death. But he was raised up, we know. God is still passionately loves us in our world.

Where is your passion? You were baptized into the life of God, into the Spirit of God. You were confirmed in the Spirit of Christ. The Spirit of Christ descended on the Church in the form of tongues of fire. Have you been set aflame by this fire? Does this fire burn within you? Does the Passion of God affect you, rub off on you, become part of you, even becomen a driving force within you? Does the Spirit of God become your passion so that you care for people with the care of God? Or that you care for creation with the creativity and delight of the Creator? Or that you care for justice with the truth and power of the merciful Lord?

We pray that it does. To share in God’s passion is to share in his mission – in his involvement and engagement in our world.

As we get in touch with our passion, we pray that your education at the Ateneo de Davao help you to share in God’s Passion, to receive the Holy Spirit and to experience his Peace.

[ADDU, 16 June 2011]

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About Joel Tabora, S.J.

Jesuit. Educator
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