Fr. Sergio Shoiti Matumoto, SCJ – the main celebrant
On April 2, 2018, Fr.Sergio Shoiti Matumoto, SCJ, member of the Philippine Region, has defended his MA Thesis entitled “Shema Israel! An Investigation into the Meanings and Significance of ‘Ehad in Deuteronomy 6:4-5” The Board of Examiners was composed of Fr. Mariano Cisco, C.S., S.T.L., S.T.D. and., Fr. Rogel Anecito Abais, S.J., S.T.D. and., and Fr. Manuel Montesclaros, S.J., S.S.L The MA Thesis Adviser was Sr. Helen Graham, M.M., Ph.D. The defense was held in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Arts in Theological Studies with field of specialization in Biblical Theology.
The Shemaʿ Yisrael (Deut.6:4-5) is an important verse of the Old Testament. It is recited by the religious Jews twice daily and even Jesus quoted this passage in Mark 12:29-30. It states that God is One and also the commandment to Love the Lord. This thesis investigates the meaning of ’ehad in the context of the Shemaʿ since there is no consensus among the translators if it should be translated as “one” or “alone”. The study notes grammatical as well as theological and historical arguments of the possible translations. It is considered that a more appropriate translation for today’s reader is “the Lord is One”. Also, the study discusses the meaning of Love in Deuteronomy and its significance since “Love the Lord” is a consequence of believing that “the Lord is One”. Moreover, it gives some meanings for the “Lord is One” and its relevance for today’s believers. This thesis also proposes a spirituality of unity and tolerance through the Shemaʿ and through the belief in One God because for believers in the past and for some in the present belief in One God leads to violent attitude towards those who who have other beliefs.
The Holy Cross Parish (Parokya ng Banal na Krus) in Tandang Kutyo, Tanay, Rizal (Diocese of Antipolo) was officialy erected on June 26, 2016, and was entrusted to the Priests of the Sacred Heart. As of now, the parish is run by three SCJs: Fr. Marcial Aguirre, SCJ, Fr. Sergio Matumoto, SCJ and Fra. Justreel Tuburan, SCJ. The parish has a long history of the devotion to the Holy Cross, the symbol of our salvation. Every second Monday of May many people would gather there to celebrate the titular feast of the chapel, not exluding the National Election held on this day. The particular date has a special meaning for the local people as it commemorates the date of finding again the cross after it disappeared from the chapel in mysterious circumstances.
This year, on May 8, 2017, the celebration of the Parish Feast was graced with the presence of the Bishop of the Diocese of Antipolo, Most Rev. Francisco M. De Leon, DD, who presided the concelebrated Holy Eucharist. The celebration was attended by the SCJs from the Manila area and some diocesan priests.
On August 19, 2016, Fr. Sergio Matumoto, SCJ, celebrated his second Thanksgiving Mass with the Formation Community in Cagayan de Oro City .
In his homily, using the artwork of the late Filipino artist Joey Velasco, “Hapag ng Pag-Asa” (Table of Hope), a local depiction of Da Vinci’s Last Supper that shows Filipino street children dining with Jesus, Fr. Sergio presented Jesus as a good shepherd with a heart full of love and compassion, who is close to all the poor and suffering, and as such is the source of hope and model to imitate.
The Holy Eucharist was followed by the one-by-one personal blessing of all participants and a common meal after.