The Word, The Truth

HOMILY His Eminence Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle PCNE Thanksgiving Mass


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His Eminence Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle
PCNE Thanksgiving Mass @ Arzobispado Chapel, Arzobispado Manila
-August 28, 2018

My dear brothers and sisters, we thank God for bringing us together in this Eucharistic celebration though every Eucharist is a thanksgiving. It is the supreme hearts of attitude and thanksgiving at this hour to give thanks. This celebration is made more special because of our memory of 5th edition of PCNE.

So, we thank God for all the people who have made PCNE 5 an experience of Christ, an encounter with the Lord, an encounter with the Church and an encounter with the voice that calls us and sends us forth on mission, ever new mission in the ever changing world.

And as we thank all of you, we have to especially, Bishop Ben (San Pablo Bishop Buenaventura Famadico), thank you for coming. We thank all the benefactors, especially your support to the priest who came in the first 2 or 3 days. , we thank the religious communities and Fr. Angel who represents the whole Association (looking at Fr. Angel Cortes). And the PCNE Office and of Archdiocese of Manila, those who were in media, those who were hidden, those who were seen, those were not mention so lahat po ang Panginoon na ang nagpapasalamat din sa ating lahat.

I think it is not insignificant that we are holding this thanksgiving mass on the Feast of St. Augustine who is one of the great Evangelizers; his Theology came from his homilies, much of his Theology were came from his homilies and also in his biography, the confessions unlike today Theological words are very sudendific na minsan hindi mo talaga maintindihan. Noon the source of Theology was the exposition of the word as food for daily living, so spirituality, Letio Devina, Theologizing them all like to the level of St. Augustine.

And thank you it was instrumental on choosing this day for our thanksgiving for the New Evangelization, he who was an inspiration to us.
Let me start with the readings, in the Gospel we hear about the one of the most painful labels that any human being could get “hypocrite”. Wala sigurong taong kapag sinabihan ng “Hipokrito. Hipokrita” (ay ang isasagot ay) “Thank you”, isa ito sa pinakamasasakit na masabihan ka. But Jesus uses this word Hypocrite deliberately and unfortunately he uses this very often to Scribes and Pharisees he uses it often to religious leaders, kaya minsan nakakalungkot ang mga batikos ni Hesus kalimitan sa mga religious leaders, end of Homily (Audience Laughs)

Baliktad ngayon ang batikos natin sa labas, kapag tayo binabatikos defensive, pero si Hesus ang unang binabatikos yung mga leaders of the temple and the experts in the law and there are many many many manifestations of hypocrisy but with the Gospel today, it is a neglect of what is more important to God and substituting for the more important of human beings consider as important to God.

Parang the people will pretends to know God through and through and the people will pretend to defend God but be thank that it is God the true God that the people could face it and prove it, but it is this over caricature of God or his or her creation of God.

And ito the two examples given is the Scribes and the Pharisees were very particular about the law, the kind who make details of the law, tinitimbang nila yung (inaudible). Napaka-minor details and for them that is the weightier thing if I want to be pure before baptize, if I want to be considered as a follower of God.

But, the Scribes and Pharisees by being too meticulous with the law have forgotten the weightier things of the law justice, mercy, fidelity. Jesus is not saying that the details of the law should be directive but He says, “you should have pay attention to the weightier, the more important aspects of the law of God” instead of parang reinventing God’s law and they make people to believe that for God, this is the weightier thing. Parang ganon telling people, for God no washing of hands is more important than being merciful or for God, observing the son of law na, “Do not work” is more important than healing a person who has been possessed by evil spirit.

And so, instead of teaching people about God and God’s law, they’re really misleading and presenting as God’s will what is really human interpretation. And the other thing is, you are so, so particular the external of rituals, of purity, and they forget to clean the heart. But it is not the external purity that really pleases God, it is the interior cleansing.
Sabi nga dito, “You’ve cleansed the outside of your cup and dish but inside, full of corruption, of plunder and self indulgence. Why don’t you clean the inside first?” So hypocrisy is yun nga, pakitang tao, dito yung mga mayroong panlabas and then the inside which only God sees is not appealing.

But, this is a good reminder to us, again it is not calling for neglect of the external, mahalaga yun especially in a world, in a faith, the mission that uses a lot of symbols, of signs, sacraments. So, external manifestations are important but without the grounding and a pure heart they lose their significance. Ako lagi kong sinasabi, ito ano ito yan (pointing at his ring) yang singsing ng Obispo is an external sign but it must be connected to the heart. That I am a committed person, I am committed with the gospel, I am committed to the kingdom of God.
If that connection is lost, then this stops becoming a symbol, magiging jewelry lang yan at mamimili ka na (pointing at his ring) “Napaka-simple naman nito para sa Cardinal dapat meron namang diyamante, dapat naman may ano, ganyan” wala na kasi nahiwalay na doon sa interior commitment.

O yung aming cross – Pectoral Cross di ba pectoral malapit sa puso. Kapag ang Cross of Christ malayo na sa puso mo at ang puso mo wala nang tatak ng Krus at ang puso mo indigence na hindi na Krus kundi ano na puro convenient, Ano ba ang madali? Ano ba ang mga ganoon? then, the Pectoral Cross will become again another piece of jewelry rather than a living sign.

So, a good reminder of the interior of cleansing and worship that God wants us to render to Him and this is in a way follow that in the first reading when in the time when people were confused, Darating na ba si Hesus? Is it already the end na? Is it the coming of the Lord. Ang daming kumakalat na mga bali-balita, hindi lang ngayon nagsimula ang fake news, noong panahon pa ni Saint Paul mayroon nang fake news. Some people pretending to be Saint Paul even through a letter or through a verbal communication invoking his name and authority.

Ang sinasabi ni Saint Paul dito, huwag kayong magpadala sa ganyan, huwag kayong magpadala sa mga sabi-sabi, huwag kayong don’t let your minds be shaken. Ang gulo-gulo na nga sa labas pati sa loob ang gulo. Habang magulo ang labas dapat ang loob mo matatag kasi kung ang loob mo magulo rin, dumagdag ka pa sa gulo sa labas. At iyon ang ayaw na ayaw nung mga nanggugulo sa labas, kapag nakakita sila na mayroong loob na hindi nagugulo pero tuwang tuwa sila kapag lahat ng loob nagugulo rin nila, kakampi ka na nila sa panggugulo.

So, Saint Paul is saying hold fast to the truth, hold fast and encourage your hearts, strengthen your heart by every good deed. So, balik na naman doon sa puso hindi pu-pwedeng maganda lang ang puso kapag maganda ang nangyayari sa kapaligiran, hindi. Mas pangit ang nangyayari sa kapaligiran, dapat mas payapa ang puso mo. Kapag nadala na ang puso mo, kakampi ka na nila sa panggugulo. Ang hirap nito ano, ang hirap hirap pero it is part of Christian dispensation to really offers to us and challenges us to be.

It is not an exterior cosmetic type of change or renewal of transformation. It is in that sacred heart of the human being that only God sees and only God could touch directly. It’s one of the rules of discernment coming from Saint Ignatius that “by other persons” meaning mediations, in order to enter our hearts, to touch our hearts, only God can touch it direct and so we open this to God so that the heart would be evangelized. It is the heart that will be touch by the good news. It is the heart that must be touch by the spirit who is the agent, the primary agent of our evangelization.

That’s why we need the memory of the Saints, they were people whose hearts, whose persons, whose lives have been really transformed by their encounter with the Lord. And that make them that make them really effective bearers of the good news than that hypocrites.

Hindi tayo nagkakaroon ng seremonya sa loob para (inaudible) opo ililista natin ang mga bagong hypocrites (inaudible) ang ano ng Simbahan ay canonization, to call on people, to come together in order to see how the power of the spirit and the word of God can transform and repair into sanctity, holiness and mission to become missionaries, to become real evangelizers in the world.

So, humihingi tayo ng tulong kay San Agustin, si San Agustin – Saint Agustin was a person who was in touched with his heart. He was a restless heart, his heart was restless. But maybe one of his virtues was he follow the restlessness of his heart. Go forth, parang by trying to pursue that restlessness he ended up in not so pleasant company but he was sincere in following the resting place of his restless heart. Where will he find rest? Until he found Jesus and it was not an external encounter. My, our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.

So it begins with the heart resting in Jesus and from there all the good words, all the good shepherd, all of the teachings comes from the heart finding its rest in Jesus and we cannot discard the role of his mother, Monica. Who was just like the first reading was bombarded by so many concerns yung asawa niya philander, yung anak niya parang (inaudible) but the heart of Santa Monica found strength and stability in God, in prayer. All that 30 years of praying with tears led to that glorious day. Sabi nga nila, Santa Monica prayed hard and long for Saint Augustine and as the conversion of Saint Augustine it was his turn to pray hard and long for Monica.

One of my unforgettable experiences was when I went to Milan as a student to do research. And out of curiosity I went to the Duomo or the Cathedral, and join wala naman akong pambayad doon sa mga tourist guides eh may nakita akong grupo, hindi naman nila ako sinita edi nakangiti naman ako hanggang pumunta kami doon sa “The Place for Saint Ambrose” the Bishop of Milan baptized Saint Agustin. Naku, parang ayaw ko nang umalis parang gusto kong basahin lahat nung mga ano ni Augustine, parang natagpuan ko dito yung “Where this heart found rest?” And while there were external symbols of the water, salt, oil, the light – exterior, but what really matter was the heart of Augustine, washed clean by Jesus.

And as we thank God for PCNE 5, siguro this is a good reminder that all of us who worked for evangelization and we, who worked for the new evangelization let us also look into our hearts, the renewal of our hearts. Marami ngayon humihingi ng tulong sa akin (inaudible) Philippine Apostolic Congress of Mercy and the Secretary asked if the good people of PCNE could help them kasi sabi nila simple lang sa inyo yun eh, ano na kayo magaling na kayo dyan. Ako naman sabi ko, “Salamat naman at nakita niyong magaling sila.” But, hindi lang yoon ganoon ang evangelization na, we have the skills, we have organizational templates and coaches. In the end it is the heart, it is the heart that is evangelized and will evangelize such that, even in a person and even Father Hontiveros who wrote during his mayday. So many kinds of liturgical songs that enable many Filipinos up to know to praise God in our own language, he had a stroke and the gift of speech is taken away from him. Sabi ko nga, imagine the person who opened the minds of many Filipinos who say now… who only say, “Okay. Okay. Okay.” “Kumusta ka na?” “Okay.” “Gusto mo bang kumain?” “Okay.” Puro okay, okay ‘no. But it was in that moment, in those years of parang disability that we saw his heart.

Not anymore the things that he could do and accomplish. We saw the purity of the heart of this man, I saw him most as a religious and (inaudible) but he could not teach anymore, where he could not play the organ anymore, where he could not sing anymore. That’s when I saw him poor, obedient and chased with joy and beating from the heart kaya sana hindi tayo masabihan, “You hypocrites.”

So, bago pa tayo masabihan, linisin na natin yung loob. Let us return to the weightier things of God’s command and God’s law, justice, mercy, fidelity and the inner strength that in the midst of sins, in the midst of fake news, in the midst of all corruption, blessed are the pure of heart. Jesus would always (inaudible) We see God from the heart and if the heart is not pure, sorry hindi mo makikita ang Diyos. So, as we thank you. We challenge ourselves to obey God’s word to evangelize us.

And for the final note, let us pray uh, for the church, nanggalin lang ako sa Dublin, the home land of Tita Beth (one of the benefactors) Pero parang nalulungkot ako kasi I became part of the preparatory committee here for the Pope’s visit 3 years ago, pagdating ko dun parang walang sign that the Pope was coming except for the few banderitas, wala. Parang they were not excited at all that this event The World Meeting of Families which will culminate in the visit of the Pope parang wala ang mga nakapaskil pa doon sa mga LED was traffic advisory, ganoon “kasi darating ang Pope, ito may traffic” So, parang it was a veiled way of saying, “kung hindi niyo gustong maabala kayo, huwag na kayong lumabas ng bahay”. It was a very veiled way of discouraging people from coming out, from welcoming and participating in the events, yung ganoon. Tapos sabi nila baka mga 500,000 ang a-attend doon sa final mass pero hindi naman, 300,000 lang yung dumating. So, there was a young former seminarian who I met 3 years ago, he was looking for me kasi medyo hindi, medyo nagkagulo doon sa isang event and I was the next speaker. Sabi niya, “Pinagalitan ako kanina, pinagalitan ako nung isang Cardinal, pinagalitan ako nung isang organizer” Sabi ko, “eh bakit ako ang hinahanap mo?” Sabi niya, “Gusto kong ngumiti. Gusto kong ngumiti kasi matatapos na yung event ito pa ang nangyari.” Sabi ko, “o ito mag-ngitiantayo.” (laughs) tuwang tuwa ako hinahanap niya dahil sabi niya, “Gusto kong ngumiti.” Sabi ko, “Wow. I didn’t have to do and I didn’t have to say anything pwede mo palang mapangiti ang isang tao.” Sabi ko, “Ayan kilala ko yan, talagang mainitin ang ulo niyan, eh anong gagawin ko? Tapos nagsumbong ka pa sa akin eh may talk pa ako baka masira pa yung talk ko, kaya kalmado lang tayo, halika magkape tayo, ganyan” And in the evening I send him a text (inaudible) sabi niya “this is not an exaggeration after our conversation on the coffee break I really smiled the whole day”. Sabi ko, “Yun lang pala ang kailangan ng Irish people, pangitiin sila pero parang ayaw na nilang humanap ng dahilan para makangiti.”

But the very vision coverage of the World Meeting of Families did not even present the many workshops about the families. Paulit-ulit sexual abuse, sexual abuse, what will the Pope say, what did the Pope say. As though that’s the only thing (inaudible) so while it’s a grave matter that must be address but it becomes a fixation and then fake news na making it worse than what it really is.

So we pray and then tapos sabi nila hanggang ngayon daw yung ibang dioceses who were visited by the Pope hanggang ngayon nagbabayad pa ng expenses. Nagulat ako kasi when Pope Francis came (to the Philippines), we had an excess (fund). Sabi ko, “sinong nagsabing third world tayo ano?” Third-world people could be more generous. Hindi makapaniwala yung isang Cardinal sabi niya “So what did you do to the excess?” sabi ko “We offered it to the Pope, for the Pope’s charity but the Pope said, “Leave it there in the Philippines and use it for charity.” So ang dami pa nating natulungan but it said, “Gift of Pope Francis” pati sa Myanmar nakapagpadala tayo.

So, alagaan natin ang ating puso para may generosity, may ngiti, mayroong calm in the midst of storms and there is purity when there is dirt and corruption.

Let that purity, that cleanliness come from the inside and that will not, hopefully not be touched by the dirt of fault in the corruption.

Tama na, baka hindi na kayo sumimba sa Linggo sabihin niyo nag-homily na. (laughs) Maraming salamat po ano and let us help each other tayo who all it this project.

Let us help each other be pure of heart, so that we could render to God a fitting service in the area of new evangelization.

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