REMEMBERING SIS. ELLA PENNINGTON July 01, 1958 - June 20, 2017 Sis. Ella was born in Masbate, Philippines. She lived her Cursillo at the St. Francis Retreat Center in Aptos, California, in August 2010, Cursillo #81. Her Decuria was Our Lady of Fatima.
Deacon Noe Tuason
Homily, July 7,2017, Matthew 5:3-12 (Beatitudes): The resurrection and ascension of Jesus, as well as the descent of the Holy Spirit shattered whatever separates heaven and earth. Even before these three extraordinary events, there was another event, a pivotal moment in our earthly journey, perhaps one the greatest miracles ever witnessed by humans. The setting was on the mountain when Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John. His face shone like the sun and His clothes became white as light. And then a bright cloud cast a shadow over them. From the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.” It was a moment where the temporal met the eternal, the natural met the mystical, the human met the divine, with Jesus Himself as the connecting point, acting as the bridge in the coming together, the convergence of heaven and earth.
We too are witnesses to this convergence whenever we participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The liturgy of the Eucharist is not a reenactment of some past events. The liturgy is the NOW of God. God is here, present, at this very moment. When we sing “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts, heaven and earth are filled with your glory, hosanna in the highest,” we hear the oneness of our voices, in perfect harmony, with the host of angels in heaven. Following that, the Holy Spirit descends upon us, pouring the love of God into our hearts, as the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. Glimpses of heaven on earth are also seen everywhere, in our homes, in our workplace, in the streets, everywhere when we bring peace, mercy, love to everyone that we encounter.
Today, we come together as Cursillistas, in this Mass, the NOW of God, to remember our sister Ella. She had no family but we came together today to be her family—brothers and sisters in Christ. We’ve got your back, so to speak. If this is not love, if this is not heaven on earth, then what is? Sis. Ella for her part, even though she had passed on to another life, brought us together here, to show our kinship, our love for each other as Cursillistas. You are all so marvelous. If that is not heaven on earth, then what is?
As I close this homily, let us bid our Sis. Ella farewell but not goodbye. Sis. Ella believed in Jesus. As Jesus promised “Whoever believes in me, even if she dies, will live. If she lives and believes in me, she will never die.” Sis. Ella is not dead but passed on to another life. She will never die again, and never alone ever. We will meet her again, I am sure, another moment, another lifetime. We will remember her at least once a year at the memorial of our brothers and sisters who have gone before us. We remember them all. We honor them. We love them. We are not only the Filipino Cursillo community in the Diocese of Oakland, we are also, part of the community of saints in heaven—not after we die, but today. I see you brothers and sisters. If you are not a glimpse of heaven on earth, then what is?