Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pono, Living the Aloha Spirit


What you will read are the last paragraphs of Fr. Daren J. Zehnle's blogpost and homily. This homily was delivered at the 6:00 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace on the 2nd of September, the day before Fr. Daren left for his present home Springfield, Illinois. Fr. Daren has been a regular visitor to the Islands -- mostly Oahu for about seven years now -- and he hopes to one day become a kama'aina. He already is to many of us, who have known him for many years now, and even to those who had just met him when he was here on Oahu for a 17-day visit. His spirit embodies aloha as we Islanders know it. He blends in -- perfectly! Perhaps, if you didn't know that he was a visitor, you might have thought that he is a local.

The homily below touches my heart in a special way. I have always regarded Communion of Saints as one of God's most beautiful inventions. Pono most certainly gives communion of God's saints a definitive message that we love each other in the spirit of righteousness -- always with God's spirit -- and letting that spirit live on as we encounter more brothers and sisters -- even those who are not so like us -- and always, with an ultimate loving and natural gesture and desire to walk hand in hand towards our heavenly home, as brothers and sisters in Christ would! Our brother and sister saints in heaven would agree, as they pray for pono to become more and more a reality in our daily life here in our earthly home.

Praise our Lord and Master for Pono!

A few days ago I walked past a young man wearing a t-shirt that read, “Keep Calm and Live Pono.”  That simple phrase stuck with me.  It is taken, in part, from that poster of the Ministry of Information and, of course, from the motto of the Kingdom and State of Hawai‘i: “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ‘Aina i ka Pono,” “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness”. 
Pono is generally translated as either “righteous” or “righteousness.”  Biblically speaking, to be righteous is to live in right relationship with God and in right relationship with man, it is to live as one should be living.  As you know, pono can also mean goodness and morality and duty and virtue and proper.  In short, we might well say that to live pono is to live justly and we know that the “one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.”  So it is that we could paraphrase the motto of Hawai‘i: “The life of the Christian is perpetuated in righteousness” because the one who lives justly will make their way to the Father’s house. 
To live pono is to live a life of love, a life of aloha; it is to conform ourselves always to Christ crucified, to love as he has loved.  It is this law that has been placed within us and that we must observe carefully because it will save our souls.  May the Lord strengthen us in this holy endeavor and bring us safely into his presence.  Amen.