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Homily of Manila Abp. Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle – 70th Anniversary of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Sta. Mesa, Manila – July 15, 2018


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My Dear Brothers and sisters of Christ, we give thanks to God for bringing us together as one community, as one family of faith and today… in a special way to thank God for the a mission of this venerable institution Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and as we thank God for sowing this
seeds of mission here in this part of our country and the archdiocese through the hospital—the hospital ministry this is part of the proclamation of the kingdom of God.

In the gospel, Jesus called the twelve but when Jesus calls be ready, those who he calls he will send. It is a calling that will entail friendship with Jesus relationship with him but it is not in order to keep those whom he had called, the relationship with Jesus leads to mission and the twelve were first called and trained and sent.

These two must come together; the calling and the sending just like Amos in the first reading, he was called from his life as a shepherd; he was called from his life of being a farmer but having been called he was sent. The malady ‘no… the anomaly in our time ‘no some people are called but do not want to be sent. They would rather choose where to go; they are not sent, they determine their destination. Maling-mali ‘yong iba naman hindi pa tinatawag lumalarga na.

Some it is not mission you call it in any other name because their going did not originate from a call, a summon so it is not to preach the kingdom of God but one’s own kingdom. This is the dynamic of the Christian calling towards mission and true mission originates not from me, not from my profession, not from my career, not from my project but from God.

Imagine Amos, he must have been very secure already as a shepherd and as a dresser of Sycamore trees but God called and sent, he was called and sent to place that he would rather not go, but that’s the type of mission that we have.

So we have here sisters some priests, were you sent or did you choose where to go? Ngayon kanya-kanya na ng pili, kaya di mo na alam kung mission ba? The married people here why did you get married to your spouse? Was it because of a call of God or your choosing? If it is just your choice marriage is not a mission it becomes a burden and then you ask yourself “bakit ito pa ang pinakasalan ko? Kasi yung ibinibigay sa iyona ng Diyos di mo pinakinggan o ngayon hirap na hirap ka. So in all the stage of life there must be a discernment of the call of God and the sending to mission and the mission is very simple, go, preach the good news—the good news that God is here in Jesus The gospel that we hold in the second reading, Jesus sent from the father and in his blood; in his death because of love he wiped out our transgressions and he is the source of all spiritual blessings; grace upon grace; blessing upon blessing.

The missionary has only one thing to carry, with her or with him, the good news. It is centered on Jesus and what God has done and will continue to do through Jesus, but in the gospel the proclamation of the coming of the kingdom of God is accompanied by signs. The twelve proclaimed the good news with words but they also proclaimed by driving out demons by anointing with oil those who were sick and they cured them.

The preaching is accompanied by signs, gestures telling the people that the kingdom of God is here and if it is the kingdom of God and it is God’s authority then demons could be driven away. We cannot drive away demons without the kingdom of God it is only the goodness, the love, the power of the kingdom of God that can drive demons away.

Kaya siguro hindi makaalis yong ibang mga evil spirits kasi ‘di naman ata kingdom of God. Love that is being used to drive these evil spirits away baka other evil spirit ang kumakausap doon sa evil spirit, magkakampi pa sila, dumami pa. Cause only the kingdom of God, the power of the blood of Jesus temple giving for no other reason but love that’s the spirit that makes evil spirits tremble and they go out—they go out.

So the kingdom of God the message incarnated in action again the confluence of the message and lived. Tamang-tama sa Lourdes hospital ano? You are prolonging the mission of the twelve curing the sick, providing healing; driving out evil spirits, part of healing, the spirit of bitterness, the spirit of hatred, the spirit of callousness, the spirit of indifference.

Here in the hospital, I should share with you a very sad experience of me when I was a graduate student in the U.S. while writing my dissertation, I did some volunteer work in a hostel administered by the missionaries of charity of Mother Theresa and we took care of the homeless, the sick, specially the H.I.V. AIDS patients abandoned by their families.

One of the patients that I was helping was near death and the procedure at the hostel is when the patient is near death we call the family. So I called the family of this man, when they arrived I left the room so they could be together by themselves. The person was dying because he had HIV AIDS, I left the room and in less than two minutes the family opened the door and was ready to leave and they raised their voice to me, they shouted at me, they said why did you call us? He is not yet dead; call us when he is dead.

In the hospital you see a lot of spirits of brokenness; of broken relationships and families; of the lack of forgiveness; of shame, guilt; condemnation if the hospital incarnates the kingdom of God the power of the love that offers one’s self for others, the kindness of the doctors; the kindness of the nurses; the welcome of the staff with administration.

The power of the kingdom will drive out evil spirits and healing starts even if there is no cure there could be healing many patients are not cured of their maladies but when the evil spirits are gone they are healed in mind and in heart but it is not only because of expertise but because the kingdom of God is here.

Do we allow God to wave? Do we allow God to rule? If God rules puro healing ‘yan at magtatakbuhan ang mga evil spirits magta-traffic jam. But we need people summoned by Christ and sent by Christ to be bearers of the power and authority of the message of the gospel. I’m sure that many of would you say yes,yes,yes we will do it” yes pero may requirement si Jesus, bring nothing for the journey; no food, no sack, no money, not even a second shoe lace kasi tayo kung minsan we bring all of these things and we forget to bring the one that is essential the gospel.

Lahat naihanda, tayong mga Filipino kapag naghanda nang picnic kahit di nga overnight, pupunta sa Tagaytay dala lahat kutsra, tinidor, platito, lahat dala pati tabo. Naalala ba natin ang ebanghelyo? Jesus is pushing us, go do not bring anything but do not forget, bring the gospel and the power of the reign of God, when you have that then you have everything.
Magdala naman kayo nang stethoscope hindi naman bawal yan. Our value system is being challenge by the gospel and how appropriate the gospel is about the healing power of the word of God and we are celebrating the 70th anniversary this not just a hospital this is a place where missionaries proclaim Jesus and the power of his kingdom that only he can exercise but he shares that power and that message to those whom he had called and summoned.

So baka for the coming centenary and coming anniversary that could be the focus every institution related to health services especially if it is connect to the church it must have that clear identity. We are on a mission; we bring the good news to everyone. In words and in action specially healing and driving out spirits so as we find God and we find the many people who have been part of this missionary? Institution we welcome the coming years with a renewed sense of mission.

I would like to end on personal note when were Seminarians, I was a seminarian at San Jose seminary within the Ateneo de Manila campus. This was our hospital when we were seminarians I was even confined hear kasi I was running a high fever and the director said go to the hospital and here on the second day lumabas na ako, measles so I was required to have a special nurse kasi baka mahawa daw. For the first time in my life so far na nagkaroon ako ng special nurse dahil sa tigdas. Sabi ‘ko “tigdas lang pala nagpa-confine pa ako rito sa Lourdes hospital, and we had the mother here si Sister Tarsilla tama ba? Tarsilla ano ho? Ang ganda-ganda nang buhok nun, talagang kahit naka veil kitang-kita mo. Everyday ata nagpapakulot si Sister. Kaya kapag pupunta kami magpa-check-up inaayos rin naming mga buhok namin baka magalit and I should tell you, I still keep in my prayer book a small card that she sent me on February 27, 1982.

The date of my ordination as a priest and it still in my brevet she wished me well and assured me of her prayers but the card said “not much would be achieved by force but by silent patience” not by force but by silent patience. It has not left my prayer book for the past thirty six years and I want to believe in a hospital setting what heals is not force but the patience that is silent because it is the kingdom, the mustard seed, the yeast drop into the dough that rises quietly.

So Sister Tarsilla, salamat and to the many sisters, chaplains, doctors, nurses and non-medical staff that has part of the seventy years we’d like to thank you and we wish that you all be missionaries of Jesus; missionaries of his kingdom as the whole world needs healing; as the whole world needs powerful testimonies of the kingdom even in silent patience.

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Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

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