Feast of Sta Rosa De Lima
The Rev. Leonard Oakes
August 24, 2014
Buenas dias la todos. Good morning all!
If I ask you the question, “Who do people say that I am,” what would be your answer? Would you say, “People say you need to learn more how to speak the spanish language?” I must admit that whenever I visit my spanish patients at home during my Nursing visits, there’s always been few words I can confidently ask and they are, “Kumustas seniora, senior? Dolor? Respira fuerta, no dolor la cabesa? Komer? and few more others. So today, Hermanas, hermanos, dispensar pa ra la poquito habla espanyol mi.
“Who do people say that I am?” Why is Jesus interested to know about what people say about him? Is he not aware that they know him to be the son of Joseph the carpenter? Others regard him as John the Baptist, Elijah or one of the Prophets? Jesus is aware that his disciples have gone through the villages and have gathered information about what people say about him. Jesus has been away for a while and the people might have forgotten about him, thus he asked the question, “Who do people say that I am?
Jesus is trying to determine about what people say who he is and what his disciples think he is and try to correct them. You see, Jesus wanted to make sure that he won’t have an identity crisis not only from the people that surround him but also among his followers. He asked, “But who do you say that I am?”
There were two old friends who met each other after a long time. Unable to remember the identity of his old friend, one of them said: “Gosh, I haven’t seen you in years. I can’t seem to remember – was it you or was it your brother who died?”
If identity were a matter of what others say, then there can be a lot of mistaken identity. That is why Jesus goes on to ask: “But who do you say that I am?” True identity is found not on what others say for that is hearsay, but on what the person say.
Jesus points out today that true identity is what or who God says we are. Jesus praises Peter for his personal knowledge of Him, but rebukes him for objecting to His true identity to the Father as the Messiah who will have to be rejected and killed and rise again. The bottom line of identity is who or what God says.
The story is told about a priest who advised an old man to start thinking about the hereafter. To which the old man replied: “Father, I do that all the time. Wherever I am – in the kitchen, in the laundry, in the living room – I ask myself: Now what is it that I’m here after?” Indeed, what is it that we are after in this world and in our lives?
And so we ask ourselves, who are we and why are we here in this specific place. Did we just find ourselves here out of the sudden, or were we sent here for a reason? Is it enough that we come here or is there a specific reason why we are here and we should listen deeply to our callings and discern to follow them and begin to flourish and bloom the love of Christ that is within us?
The beauty of Holy Child and St. Martin Church is that we come from different culture, traditions and faith. We respect each other and strive to know each other better before and after the service. We take time to sit and make conversation with someone whom we don’t know much and begin knowing each other. We have the time to sit over a cup of tea or coffee and share our own struggles in life and there we find strength and support.
That’s how Holy Child and St. Martin is introduced to the world, a place of worship, a place where all faith can come together and a place where respect and true identity are shared.
Today, we celebrate the feast of Sta. Rosa De Lima. Before I will introduce her to you. I would like to take you back to how we got into this celebration anyway in relation to the question of Jesus Christ to his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”
In the year 2002, Llana Hernandez with his son Elias, daughter Ela and mother, came to visit Holy Child and St. Martin. They said they were looking for a place of worship and where they could entrust their children in their moral and spiritual growth. Several months after, Llana invited Victorino Farfan and his brother. Then, another family came, the Pumacayo family and the Lara family. I was guessing it was borne out of personal invitations from the previous families and by word of mouth. I can only imagine the question being asked, “Who and how are the people at Holy Child and St. Martin?” “Who do people say that we are?” Fr. Bayani, who was the Vicar at the time, and the members of the Bishop Committee met and planned to start the Latino ministry by inviting these families and the congregation of El Buen Samaritano in San Francisco led by the Rev. Gloria Castillo. I was then the Music Director. I started to learn spanish songs and learned to love them. I love the food, but most of all, I love seeing my children and all the other children playing and laughing with each other.
Just like Pharaoh’s daughter who took Moses to be her child and nursed him, HCSM welcomed these families to be part of the whole family here at HCSM. Today, we have the family of Jessica joining us in this wonderful experience. We are all destined by God to be gathered together as one and travel the same road to where God wants us all to be.
So I ask you today to look around you, what is it that you can do in your simple but humble ways to make the love of God in Jesus Christ be visible in this Church. Look at the person next to you or around you, How much do you know about that person or persons and how would you plan to share your story with that person trusting that such sharing is just between you and that person alone? I encourage you all to continue sharing the love of Christ, the Messiah, to be our guide in our togetherness in this wonderful place, Holy Child and St. Martin Episcopal Church in Daly City.
And now, with St Rose of Lima as described by Catholic.org, is a Virgin, born at Lima, Peru 20 April, 1586; died there the 24 of August, 1617.
St. Rose of Lima is the patroness of Latin America and the Philippines. This South American Saint’s real name was Isabel, but she was such a beautiful baby that she was called Rose, and that name remained. As she grew older, she became more and more beautiful, and one day, her mother put a wreath of flowers on her head to show off her loveliness to friends. But Rose had no desire to be admired, for her heart had been given to Jesus. So she put a long pin into that wreath and it pierced her so deeply, that she had a hard time getting the wreath off afterward. Another time she became afraid that her beauty might be a temptation to someone, since people could not take their eyes off her. Therefore, she rubbed her face with pepper until it was all red and blistered.
St. Rose worked hard to support her poor parents and she humbly obeyed them, except when they tried to get her to marry. That she would not do. Her love of Jesus was so great that when she talked about Him, her face glowed and her eyes sparkled.
Rose had many temptations from the devil, and there were also many times when she had to suffer a feeling of terrible loneliness and sadness, for God seemed far away. Yet she cheerfully offered all these troubles to Him. In fact, in her last long, painful sickness, this heroic young woman use to pray: “Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Your love in my heart.”
Many miracles followed her death. She was beatified by Clement IX, in 1667, and canonized in 1671 by Clement X, the first American to be so honoured. Her feast is celebrated 23 of August. She is represented wearing a crown of roses.
Like St. Rose who wears her identity, may we all be crowned with the Rose of God, in our unity as a family, in our unique identities as people of God and in our being sent out to the world as God’s beautiful creation. Amen.