Feast of Mary Queen of Apostles
Bishop Antonio Tagle’s Homily
The Lord is gathering us as one community so that as one gathered people we can all participate in different ways in this wonderful liturgical act of the ordination to the Diaconate. We want to welcome our friends from other countries, from India who have come …and from…I think there are people from Brazil also, and of course “Benvenuti ai nostri amici dall’Italia, parroci e le famiglie dei seminaristi” …and we also want to welcome the local people, may mga taga Mendez (Cavite) and we want to thank the Lord for this wonderful moment of Grace.
Today we celebrate the feast of Mary Queen of Apostles, a title that is very dear to our PIME Fathers and Brothers, Mary as Queen of Apostles. And the Readings for today’s Mass highlight to us the role of Mary in our apostleship, ang papel ni Maria sa ating pagiging mga apostol. And let me go through the readings.
From the second reading, from the Letter of Paul to the Galatians, we are told that in the fullness of time God sent his Son born of a woman, sa kaganapan ng panahon, isinugo ng Diyos Ama ang kanyang anak, at ipinanganak ng isang babae. The fullness of time, kaganapan ng panahon, when was the fullness of time achieved by history?
When was it achieved? It was achieved at the fullness of love, when the love of the Father was so full it had to overflow in the sending of the Son. So time becomes full when love is full and when that special moment came, Mary was there to be an instrument of the flow of God’s love to humanity. …noon naging ganap ang pag-ibig ng Ama, nandoon si Maria para maging daan ng pagpapakita ng kaganapan ng pagmamahal ng Ama.
We know the story very well. Mary was not stingy. Mary said: “I am the handmaid of the Lord” (…) .From childhood up to his death Mary was always there. She did not understand everything that was being said of her Son. She did not understand everything she could see but nevertheless she was there. And when everyone else has left her Son out of fear, out of shame, there was Mary remaining with her Son standing there, being faithful. Si Maria hindi lamang itinalaga ang kanyang sarili para maganap ang kalooban ng Ama, sa bawat yugto ng buhay ni Hesus, nandoon siya, walang iwanan, iniwanan ng lahat na mga iba, mga balimbing, pero si Maria hindi balimbing, nandiyan kahit kulitin niyo ako, nanay ako, nandito ako, hindi ako aalis.
We are very happy that this ordination is happening on this feast of our Lady Queen of Apostles. And you dear candidates to the Diaconate… a deacon…a deacon in the long and complicated history of the Church in all the changing forms of the Diaconate, and in the different theologies and practice of the diaconate, one thing has remained. A deacon is called to be a living sign of Jesus the Servant, the Lord who came as servant, the Lord who came not to be served but to serve. A deacon should be a sacrament of that!
And when you serve that mission you will remind the whole Church of our common calling to serve. They say in the early Church that a deacon, “DIACONUS non ordinato ad sacerdotio sed ad ministero.” A deacon is not ordained for the priesthood but for service. It is not for hierarchy, it is not for power, it is not for position…Imagine, a few hours ago you are Andrea, Daniele and then afterwards you will be REVEREND, REVEREND. You are up there …but not with you!! A deacon should remain, if truly a deacon, a sacrament of service for the sake of service. And nothing more!
And learn from Mary, learn from Mary how to serve, of course you will receive in this ordination rite the ministry of charity, the ministry of Word, the ministry of Sacrament. That is to be expected. But from Mary you learn the Spirit of true service. Be available for a servant cannot serve if you are not available, like Mary. The mark of a true servant is availability. Anytime we call you are there!… for as long as you can respond. When somebody needs you, you are there, but beware… not the young women, and not the widows.
Be available to serve, and like Mary be available to fulfill the plan of God for salvation. This is your first service: to serve the plan of God for the salvation of the world. Be available to that. If you do not have time to go out to watch a movie or to dance …that’s pardonable, but please be always available when it is a matter of salvation, promoting the will of God for salvation. Right now decide! I will be available.
And like Mary serve in the spirit of solidarity. It is easy to serve from a distance Some people will come and tell you, “I serve you. Here is my donation!” I serve but I am distant. What the world needs is not only support, what the world needs is solidarity. Stand by the causes of the people ..this is your wonderful service. And You will be speechless, you will be helpless but when you are there in a spirit of communion you are serving.
And like Mary be agents of hope. The world needs hope. Men and women need deacons who will enlighten and enkindle a spirit of hope in the midst of a despairing world. The world is already despairing and we deacons, priests, and BISHOPS we appear to people and we are not joyful. The worst thing could happen is for a despairing people to have despairing ministers. I hope to see you again fifty years from today and I want to see you joyful and youthful. Please do not become cranky old bachelors!!
You will be adding to the darkness and the despair of the world. Serve with Mary in Hope, in Hope …
But you have to wait …being hopeful means lot of waiting, patient waiting. You cannot accomplish everything at the same time, learn how to wait, it is in waiting that you become hopeful. And I close by reminding you and the rest of the community, dear deacons, you don’t have just Jesus to follow and Mary. You have this wonderful tradition of the PIME, over the world and especially here in the Philippines.
Be true to the spirit of the Institute! People, men, valiant men of faith who were available up to death. Sometimes the act of solidarity is in shedding of blood. And it is in the shedding of the blood that they watered a land filled with despair, in hope. They look up to you and say: “The Church has a bright future, PIME has a wonderful future” God’s grace will work. Mary with that.
And our brothers in the PIME will be there, and those have gone ahead of you.
But be true, be true to your call, be true to Mary, be true to PIME as well.
Lasciatemi tradurre qualcosa ai nostri amici italiani. Ci sono 3 caratteristiche della sequela di Maria che possono guidarci nella fede.
Primo punto, la disponibilita’ di Maria a seguire la volonta’ di Dio, secondo punto: la solidarieta’, lo spirito di comunione della Madre con il suo Figlio Crocifisso. E terzo punto: la speranza di Maria insieme con gli altri discepoli, nel cenacolo, nella speranza della venuta dello Spirito Santo. Queste sono le caratteristiche di Maria Regina degli Apostoli, la disponibilita, la solidarieta’ e la speranza.
At sa atin pong lahat hindi po madali sa ngayon ang maging lingkod ng simbahan. Kung meron pa pong sisirain ang mundo ng kasamaan , ang unang sinisira ay ang mga naglilingkod.Kaya ang atin pong siyam na mga kapatid, baka naman pagkatapos niyo siyang batiin,pagkatapos niyo siyang halik halikan, pagkatapos ninyong yakap yakapin, naku, seguro sasabihin niyo naku pagkakataon ko nang makayakap. Bigat!ngayon, bigat….Iyong matagal nang inaasam-asam, naku makukuha ko na ngayon. Naku, ang masasamang balak, hindi magtatagumpay! Kung babatiin ninyo, pakatapos niyo namang batiin patuloy niyong ipagdasal at suportahan. Lagi silang paalalahanan na tayo rin hindi lamang sila ang tiunatawagan maglingkod.
All of us are being called to serve, not only the deacons, lahat tayo, and so with them we also will try to imitate Mary in her availability, in her solidarity and in her hope. So that with them, our brothers and with the whole PIME, the whole Church will be renewed in the spirit of service.
…OK, now dear brothers…after that frightening homily do you still want to be ordained?
(…) Malalakas talaga ang loob ng mga ito.
Nothing can stop them! So we shall proceed with this ordination to the Diaconate.
Let us all join in prayer and in welcoming the Spirit.