Cardinal Homily

His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle Mass for PCNE Volunteers and Organizers at the Sto. Rosario Parish

His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle
Mass for PCNE Volunteers and Organizers at the Sto. Rosario Parish, UST, España, Manila
July 16, 2018

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in this beginning of the PCNE, our goal is to thank the Lord for the Eucharist. Yes, we have gone through many steps in preparing for this edition, the fifth edition of PCNE but it is a good tradition that before we even open our processions, the organizers, the volunteers gather to pray, gather to adore, and to Worship for Evangelization means nothing if we do not get rooted again and again to the placing in the person of everything Jesus, He is the Gospel in person. And our readings teach us valuable lessons and prepare us for becoming Servants of the PCNE event.

From the prophet Isaiah in the first reading, we seek for beautiful lesson on Adoration, what does it mean to adore God? Not only our true God but true adoration, there is always a tendency in a temptation to get caught up in rich worlds and ceremonies and think that being able to perform the rituals and the ceremonies automatically—automatically gives to God fitting praise.

While we do not dispense with ceremonies and rituals we cannot do that, we cannot survive daily without rituals. Isipin natin yon, ‘yong paggising niyo ‘yong sunod-sunod na ginagawa niyo everyday ‘yung lima—the first five things that you do every day upon waking up that’s your daily ritual at hindi niyo binabago ‘yon o huwag niyo ng i-enumerate.

We cannot live life without rituals, in a big university like UST imagine if the rituals are removed like, “anong oras ba ang first period? Aba bahala kayo kung kailan, magkakagulo dito. ‘Yong mga teahcers kung kailan nila gusto magturo. Iyong mga estudaynte kung kailan nila gustong pumasok. Iyon bang opening ng school year, let us leave it to the freedom of everyone. Magkano ba ang tuition this year? Naku bahala na lang kayo. Ganyan, we need these rituals, but as far as religious rituals are concerned they are supposed to be expressions of something deeper and if they are reduced simply to a performance and not rooted in the deeper reality it does not please God.

And God might say, as God had said already to Israel, I have had enough of your old burnt rams and fat of offerings in the blood of cows, lambs and goats I find no pleasure,” kung ang Diyos—kung si Isaias ay Filipino ang magandang translation nito ay sasabihin nang Diyos “sawang-sawa na ako sa inyong mga lechon, sa inyong mga bulalo, sa inyong mga pansit palabok na iniaalok sa akin hindi na ako mapapakain… suyang-suya na ako!

But God did not stop them from offering those sacrifices however God said “please do not forget these things, wash yourselves clean because your hands are full of blood, put away your misdeeds before my comings, learn to do good, make justice your aim, regress the wrong, hear before you speak, defend the weeper and we are transported from rich one to life. How easy it is to prevail what the men all call rich one predictable, manageable, measurable.

When we were seminarians our liturgy teachers told us that during their time before Vatican II when you say “Let us praaaay. Biglang hampas sa shoulder, kapag hinampas mo ‘yan venial sin na yan. Kapag gumanyan ka lang mortal sin nay an. Sukat na sukat sila “Let us pray.” E ngayon naman ganto na, “Let us Pray?” sumosobra naman ano? Hindi mo na alam ang ano, nawalan naman ng appreciation for ritual, but minsan naiiwan nga sa ritual. But, Isaiah is telling us a ritual daily life should not be separated from home. And this is a good reminder to us, PCNE is full of rituals and in its fifth edition we are learning, there are some portions, themes that are already ritualized and had become the some sort of identity of the PCNE and we need that, a reminder, it should bring us back to life—it should bring us back to life. Let the rituals express life and let the rituals equip us, prepare us to face life in its complexity and bring the good news there and fear the good news spoken, proclaim, from the experiences of people. So hindi natin sasabihin pagkatapos ng sa twenty second, “ay! Nakaraos na ang PCNE.” Nakatapos ‘yong ritual pero pag-uwi natin na sa atin pa rin, uugat ba sa ating buhay, sa ating ministries, sa ating misyon ang ating pinag diwang? And the Gospel, if we go only in the first part of the on the gospel some of us might go home and tell our parents “ayaw ko ko na sayo!” “bakit?” “yon ang gospel ngayon e,” daughter against mother and son against father, and sabi ni Hesus “Do not think I have come to bring peace upon the Earth,” So yung nanggugulo sa mundo yan ang sumusunod kay Kristo, parang hindi yata tama ‘yon? Kasi merong karugtong e, sabi ni Hesus, “whoever loves father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” So it’s not about despising a mother or a father, it is not about despising a son or a daughter, it is facing the disturbing and painful question, in your hierarchy of priorities where do you locate Jesus? If I love something or someone more than I love Jesus like He says, you’re not worthy of Him. So we will continue loving mother, father, other people but in the light of our love for Christ. It is not so much choosing one and ignoring the other, but nothing matters from the perspective of the supreme one, who is Jesus Christ. This is painful because it requires a reassessment of our priorities and values system and the peak of that is whoever does not pick up His cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Loving Jesus enables me to pick up the cross not because I am a sadistic or a masochist but because of Jesus. Jesus is at the cross and I will live Him where He is. So I love Him more than I love myself, I love, I still love myself but not more than I love Jesus. Even my way I loving myself is colored and inspired by my love for Jesus and if I love Jesus as my priority now, then maybe I can even love enemies, [enemies] become lovable if the priority is the love for Christ. This is the internal – internal process that evangelization requires. The good news is not always convenient truth, it shapes the foundation of our routine and we are brought to a reassessment, where does Jesus fall in our priorities? Buti mayroon mga pari dito ‘no? Siguro ‘yong mga payo ninyo sa mga youth, sa mga ano, lalo na yung mga discerning, whether to get married or nando’n na sa point na, “ito na nga ba ang pakakasalan ko?” “Baka hindi?” Sana kasama pa rin yung pag-ibig ni Kristo in deciding, discerning sino nga ba? Kasi minsan ‘pag tinatanong mo, “bakit siya ang pakakasalan mo?” “Cute po e, cute!” (Laughter) Naku, after two years maaano na yan. Ganun? Yun nalang ganun nalang? Yun bang yung buhay mo yun nalang ang basehan ng pagdedesisyon? “Cute po kasi e, cute!” Kaya tuwang-tuwa ako no’ng minsan may na-interview ako e, “O bakit ito ang ano?”Sabi ko do’n sa babae, “bakit siya ang napili mo?” Sabi niya, “alam mo father magandang tanong ‘yan, nakita mo naman ‘yong nobyo ko wala namang pigura, e maraming nanligaw sa akin na mas maguwapo-guwapo, tapos marami siyang hilig na hindi ko naman hilig, maraming bagay na hindi namin pinagkakasunduan pero ewan ko po ba,” sabi niya, “kapag nagdadasal ako parang siya ang regalo ng Diyos sa akin,” sabi ko “sige, kasal na! Kasal na agad! Kapag gan’yan ang mga sagot. (Laughter) Halika, halika!” And they evangelized me. Ako ‘yong interviewer pero ako ‘yong nae-evangelize. You see that love the Pastor said is true, it is true. O kilala niyo naman si Ms. Bernadette Sembrano, noong ikakasal siya, ako’ng nagkasal sa kanila. Noong ikakasal s’ya, tinanong ko sa kanilang mag-asawa, “ano ba ang plano ninyo sa kasal niyo?” “Bernadette baka maging ano yang kasal niyo?” “Aba’y reporter — artista mga ganyan, e yung mapapangasawa naman n’ya Aguinaldo, baka naman puro pulitiko ‘yan, puro katipuneros , mag-away-away pa ang ano, katipunan, anu ba yan? Aba’y ihanda ninyo ako baka mamaya e magkagulo-gulo iyong kasal ninyo?” Sabi niya “ako po I want my wedding to be an event of faith, I want it to be a celebration of my faith.” Sabi n’ya huwag kayong mag-alala, tatlong T.V. persons lang ang inimbitahan ko, ayokong ang aking kasal ay maging extravaganza t hindi na ang Diyos ang maging sentro.” Nakakatuwa, and that’s the point of PCNE to provide a gripping experience of Jesus and a gripping experience of the community called the Church and a gripping experience of mission the calling motivated only by the love of Christ. Then the fears will all be freed, we wash our hands of blood and we will defend the will of God. Kaya sana itong mga darating na araw, isang araw na ito, whole day nalang, let us continue praying, reflecting, on the event that we will all offer to others. It is part of our responsibility na hindi lamang smooth sailing ‘yong mga activities ay nasa tamang oras, tama iyong classroom, arranged ‘yong mga speakers, kun’di yung spirit, the spirit where the gospel si proclaimed and received and Jesus is encountered. Bilang pagtatapos po last March ata after an absence of almost eight years I went back to the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. Parang doon din tayo nakakuha ng idea e, kasi sa L.A. nagsimula ‘yong gobyerno ng accomplished catechist, tapos marami nang gustong sumama, ngayon ang umaattend ‘don thirty five to thirty thousand, sa three days. So I was asked to participate again sa mga workshops and one of the masses and a group asked if they could meet with me and this was a group of priest, lay people, mga kabataan with Filipino roots and they’re offering some sort of networking—collaboration especially in the area of Social Communication. Tapos noong pag-upo namin ang una nilang sinabi “we formed this group and this is a product of PCNE.”Nagulat ako, sabi nya, “Yes we participate, some of us had participated in two PCNE’s already,” and some of them came last year and they were so inspired so and they continued meeting in the U.S. and one of their desires is to share with the Catholics in the what is happening in Philippines. Our faith, our expressions, how they try new ways of evangelizing. E ngayon sila yung may technology, they’re offering it to us, sabi nila “can we broadcast here in the U.S. the Nazareno Fiesta and the procession. Kasi kami dito, umulan lang dispersed na ang procession. Doon yung many number yung mga tao. [Sabi ko] “E yung mga misa tagalog,” “Kami nang bahala sa subtitles na English and even Spanish, for the Spanish speaking people. It humbled me, naiiyak-iyak pa ako e, iyakin ako e, hindi ko sukat akalain na our simple attempts could touch something and inspire some kind of a movement miles away and now they offer all they have to the service of the church and community. So PCNE is not just a ritual, it is not just a conference, it is about life and it should be rooted in life and it should transform priorities, values and elevate our Christian faith. So Good luck po at maraming salamat sa patuloy na pakikiisa sa PCNE kapag forty thousand na ang gustong mag register sa PCNE wag tayong mamroblema. That is a good problem, may mga problemang magaganda wag problemahin, pasalamatan. Katulad nga po isang Obispo kausap ko sa Europe kasi pauwi na kami tapos na ‘yong meeting sabi ko, “Oh, I’m leaving tomorrow and I know these job is waiting for me, pagdating ko may meeting akong ganito, may wedding, ganyan, ganyan…” Sabi n’ya, don’t complain, at least you have many things to do, I go home I have nothing to do,” sabi nya, “Very good problem.” “My problem is a disaster.” There is this priest in japan one and a half years wala siyang baptism. Tapos tayo dito nagrereklamo, “ang dami-dami namang binyag,” “ingay-ingay ng mga bata.” Naku, sige magreklamo, kapag nawala nang nagpapabinyag, sige hahanap-hanapin mo, “wala bang iiyak?” So, even some of our problems are not problems at all, they are really, really blessings of life and we embrace them with faith and hope and push for the new evangelization. Let us pause and thank God for this opportunity and let us prepare ourselves for the mission that is entrusted to us.