“The Word Exposed”, Jesuit Communication Foundation’s (JesCom) acclaimed Sunday Scripture reflection and Catechism program, hosted its Advent Recollection and Thanksgiving Mass before a spirited gathering last Sunday, December 2 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Cubao, Quezon City.
The festive celebration marked The Word Exposed’s 10th anniversary milestone- an impressive total of 42 seasons and 540 episodes since its national TV premiere on the very same First Sunday of Advent.
In his opening remarks, JesCom Executive Director, Fr.Nono Alfonso SJ, marveled at the program’s remarkable journey that has garnered a number of prestigious awards, including the 7th USTv Student Choice Awards for Catholic Program, the 32nd Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) for Best Religious TV Program, and the 2010 Anak TV Seal.
“The past 10 years have been full of blessings. Since we first aired on Dec.2, 2008, the rest has been blessed history. The Word Exposed has exponentially grown its followers on social media and is now seen by millions across the United States, Canada and Australia.”
“You have all kept it alive through your financial support, though big or small. Our mustard seed has grown into a tree. TWE has benefitted millions, inspiring and enlightening people. Let us continue to take care of our tree. Let us continue to help our beloved Cardinal expose the good news of our Lord,” encouraged Fr.Nono.
Warmly received by the Coliseum gallery was TWE’s beloved host and esteemed Manila Archbishop, Cardinal Luis Antonio G.Tagle, who shared his personal stories, from OFW’s to foreign bishops, of lives deeply touched by his renowned TV program.
“The Word Exposed focuses on how God’s word could be accessible. The Word is with us, in us. The living, spoken word is Jesus himself. Our mission is to make him known. These are more than just ideas and concepts. This is He himself.”
In reminding the faithful to search for the true ‘Joy’ and ‘Peace’ that only the newborn Christ may bring, Cardinal Tagle recalled his recent dialogue with Pope Francis.
“When I asked the Holy Father how he felt amidst the many crises in the world, he replied ‘I am tired but I am at peace’. There is a joy and peace that the world cannot give. Joy can come even when the world is broken. Peace can open up space in a broken world.”
“It is God Himself who guards and protects our hearts and thoughts. When we let what is just, true, honorable and lovely fill our minds, we find true joy and peace in Christ. This is how Pope Francis feels peace and tranquility. This is how those without luxuries still have joy,” continued Cardinal Tagle as he expounded on St.Paul’s Letter to the Philippians.
Inviting the gallery to join in singing the favorite Christmas carol “Joy to the World”, Cardinal Tagle spoke of the ‘Joy’ that comes when one focuses on Jesus and His reign.
“Though there may be many causes of despair and trouble, the Gospel of today says He will come. His rule brings truth, grace, love and righteousness- this is the secret of Joy. Are we prepared to allow the Lord who has come, to rule our hearts and minds?”
Cardinal Tagle also underscored the “confidence, stability and inner strength” brought about by welcoming the reign of Jesus. “We see today that there is false confidence or pride. These are signs of insecurity. One who finds true Joy in the Lord trusts, finds strength and possesses humble confidence. We must not use our mission or position as excuses to see ourselves as ‘bigger’. True ‘Joy’ comes from confidence in God alone.”
Reflecting on the gift of ‘Peace’, Cardinal Tagle focused on the contrast between ‘darkness’ and ‘light’, in reference to another Christmas carol, the timeless “Silent Night”.
“Let us make the darkness of our lives-crime, dehumanization, poverty-transform into Holiness. Where there is true pure love, darkness will be lit. When we sow peace, this is how darkness can become bright.”
Referring to the Book of James, Cardinal Tagle reminded how patience is key to achieving lasting peace. “Reconcillation, unity, conversion require determined but patient work. Pure love will patiently shed its light. Jesus is our Joy and our Peace. Allow Him to rule with truth, grace and righteousness- the rule of love’s pure light.”
Joining in the grand celebration of The Word Exposed’s landmark anniversary were The Voice Philippines contestant Tim Pavino and all-male vocal group Opus One, who captivated the program’s ardent followers with powerful ballads. Harmonizing their splendid voices for soulful medley performances were Toto Sorioso, Carlo Santos, Elliot Estacio, Ryza Martinez, Mariel de Jesus, Kim Bernardino, Geraldine Millena, Laarni Lozada, Marielle Tuason and Jayson Caimol.
Another welcome addition to the anniversary’s festive atmosphere was the launch of The Word Exposed’s new look and brand-new segment, “Psalm”. Featuring the works of young composers, the responsorial psalms for Sunday mass are to be sung by choirs, accompanied by invited singers. Downloadable musical compositions will be also available every Thursday, on Cardinal Tagle’s Facebook page.
Feted with plaques of appreciation for their consistent assistance in staging the bi-annual The Word Exposed Recollections at the Araneta Coliseum for the past four years were the J.Amado Araneta Foundation, Megaforce Security, Sisters of the Holy Face of Jesus, Mother Butlers Guild-Diocese of Cubao and Mother Butler Mission Guilds-Christ the King Parish Greenmeadows.
Following the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, Fr.Nono acknowledged the JesCom production staff, headed by Ms.Ernestine Tamana, for their commendable effort in organizing the recollection despite time constraints, as well as TWE’s major media partner ABS-CBN.
“Thank you for the past 10 years, this truly is a big accomplishment. To our devoted viewers, donors and generous benefactors we wouldn’t be here without you and without the generosity of our beloved Cardinal.”
In his concluding message to The Word Exposed faithful, Cardinal Tagle expressed his sincere gratitude for the grace provided by the Lord.
“Salamat sa Diyos. Kung wala ang Salita, wala rin ang TWE. We hope that Advent will be a spiritual event for you. In longing for Jesus, our hearts will be ready- searching, looking and responding even beyond the season- to encounter the poor, lonely and abandoned where there is the special presence of Jesus.”
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