KA EDUARDO TURN’S 54: Turning 54 on October 31, 2009, Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo of the world’s fastest-growing and most robust and highly-disciplined religious group, the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC), has every reason to celebrate and thank God.
On top of all the usual reasons for celebrating one’s birthday, Ka Eduardo (as the Executive Minister is called by his flock) has just been called by God to become the undisputed leader of the INC, shortly after his father, the venerable former INC Executive Minister, Erano “Ka Erdy” Manalo, died last August.
This divine mandate to lead the INC would be very important for Ka Eduardo in particular, and for the INC in general, because it comes at a time when the world is experiencing great turmoil---economically, geologically and spiritually.
INC’S CHALLENGE UNDER KA EDUARDO: SPREAD ITS FAITH ALL THE MORE: There is indeed a need for a great spiritual leader like him who will blaze new trails in fearlessly proclaiming the Word of God everywhere, and evangelizing even the farthest ends of the earth with the brand of faith that has made the INC the undisputed number one religion not only in the Philippines but in the whole world as well at present.
I believe that the challenge that confronts Ka Eduardo now, and by which his term as “Tagapamahalang Pangkalahatan” is to be ultimately measured by history, is to replicate with greater vigor the zeal and fervor which Ka Erdy showed in sharing with the world the message given by God to His last Messenger, the highly loved and well-respected Mr. Felix Y. Manalo, Ka Eduardo’s grandfather and first executive minister of the INC.
I therefore join the INC, its members, and the whole Filipino nation as well, in praying to God that He will continue to bless, guide, protect and inspire Ka Eduardo as he leads the INC during his own watch as Executive Minister, in much the same way that Ka Felix and Ka Erdy before him were both richly blessed, guided, protected and inspired by God.
INC MEMBERS ACKNOWLEDGE KA EDUARDO AS THE CHURCH’S LEADER: The high esteem and great respect with which Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo is held by INC members---the group’s kapatids or brothers and sisters around the world---is shown by countless expressions of willingness by all of them to support and follow him, and place in his hands their spiritual well-being.
I logged on to one website belonging to the INC, the www.gemnet.tv.blog.php and one cannot help but be overwhelmed by the postings of its individual members from the Philippines and abroad which are professing love, respect, support and obedience to Ka Eduardo as their supreme leader.
Here are some of these postings: “KAMI PO NG AKING ASAWA AY BUMABATI SA INYO NG MALIGAYANG KAARAWAN…BAGAMAT PINAGPAHINGA NA PO NG AMA ANG KA ERDY, IPINAPANGAKO PO NAMIN ANG AMIN PONG PAGPAPASAKOP SA INYONG PAMAMAHALA SA IGLESIA TULAD PO NG PAGPAPASAKOP NAMIN SA KANYA! MAHAL NA MAHAL PO NAMIN KAYO AT ANG BUONG IGLESIA. BONINO's blog.”
“MULA PO SA LOKAL NG U.P. - 1, DISTRITO NG METRO MANILA SOUTH, KAMI PO AY BUONG KAGALAKAN NA BUMATI SA INYO SA NALALAPIT NA PAGSAPIT NG INYONG KAARAWAN. PANGAKO PO BUONG KATAPATAN KAMING TUTUPAD NG TUNGKULIN AT BUONG PUSONG MAGPAPASAKOP SA INYO. PURIHIN ANG PANGINOONG DIYOS AT ANG ATING PANGINOONG JESUS. KAPATID NA RAY M. SAGUN.”
“Pagbati po sa Mahal naming kapatid na Eduardo V. Manalo, mula po sa Townsville Group Worship Service, Queensland Australia. Sa inyo pong kaarawan maraming salamat po sa Panginoong Diyos sa pagkakaloob niya ng Lakas at Gabay upang patuloy nyo pang mapangunahan ang Banal na Iglesia. Sisikapin po naming makapamalagi sa karapatan na kaloob sa amin. Kapatid na Macquin Parungao, Townsville GWS, Australia…”
WEDDING AT CANA, AND MARY’S ROLE AS MEDIATOR BETWEEN MAN AND JESUS: The Bible’s account of the wedding in Cana, where Jesus turned the water into wine as narrated in John 2:1-11, now forms part of the Holy Rosary of the Roman Catholic Christians as its Second Luminous Mystery (or Second Mystery of Light).
Among many Christian believers, this part of Jesus’s life is often unknown or is little heard of, although it should occupy a place of importance because, as the Bible itself in John 2:11says: “This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana, in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.”
Being the very first miracle of Jesus, it is significant to note that the Bible appears to have portrayed Him as a little hesitant in performing it, considering His refusal to do anything when Mary, His mother, first approached Him when wine had run out during the wedding banquet. Jesus told Mary: “Dear woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come.”
But it was only because of Mary’s persistence---she told the servants, “do as He says” even when she was already rebuffed by her Son---that Jesus relented and, as the Bible itself emphasizes, this became His first ever recorded miracle, the very first revelation of His glory.
If anything at all, therefore, this wedding totally justifies the Roman Catholic Christians’ giving of importance to Mary and calling her, among others, as the “mediatrix of all grace”.
Indeed, it is conceded that the only mediator between God and man is Jesus Christ. But, as shown by the wedding at Cana and the turning of the water into wine, Mary is the most effective mediator between Jesus and man.