Homily delivered by Fr. Cielo R. Almazan, OFM on the AMRSP Mass of Solidarity for Sr. Patricia Fox, NDS at St. Anthony Shrine-Sampaloc on April 27, 2018.

Photo by Eric Paul Guanlao

What is the meaning of this?

My dear brothers and sisters, fellow religious and priests, justice and freedom loving Filipinos,

We are converged this afternoon in this church called St. Anthony Shrine for celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass particularly for the well-being of Sr. Patricia Fox, NDS.

Looking at what is happening around, as we register our protests against injustices and hold indignation rallies, write statements, and show our solidarity to the affected like Sr. Patricia, all the more now we need to recognize that there is somebody out there who has the last say. We humans, starting with us here, must listen to the voice of God. For our actions, our activities or activisms have meaning only if they conform to the will of God.

I do not know Sr. Patricia very well, I don’t know if she knows me, but certainly she knows God, that’s why she has been here in our country; that’s why she will leave us behind. Good bye, sister! (Not yet!)

I believe as a fellow religious, as a nun, Sr. Patricia has spent more time praying to God early in the morning, in evening, before she goes to bed and at other times, more than she studied, more than she washed dishes, more than she interacted with us, with you here and with her loved ones.

When I feel helpless and when something is not right, I ask, “what is the meaning of this? Why is this happening?” It is easy to explain. But in spite of the myriads of explanations, still we are at a loss and troubled. What is the meaning of this?

In the gospel today, we hear Jesus say to his troubled disciples, “Do not be troubled. Trust in God and trust in me.” These very powerful words of Jesus strengthened the confused apostles; they were simple fisherfolks or tambay, they did not have the education which Sr. Pat obtained before she became a nun. 

Jesus was bidding good bye to prepare a place for his apostles. After his passion, death and resurrection, he would go back to heaven.

Yet the famous skeptic and ignorant apostle Thomas said, “Lord, we do not know where you are going.” As if Thomas was saying, “what is the meaning of all these? We do not know what you are talking about. How do we know what you mean?”

Thus Jesus uttered his famous self-revealing words, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.”

Sr. Patricia has kept these words in her heart during her involvement with the peasants, the poor and the marginalized. Maybe St. Patricia does not ask anymore, “What is the meaning of this? Why are they doing this to me?” Long before, through her prayers, adorations of the blessed sacrament and meditations, she has understood that it was coming. So now it has come. The state machineries are in place to get rid of her. She is not surprised. If ever she is surprised, she would say, “Why me? Insignificant lang ako, tahimik lang naman ako, marunong lang magtagalog; natutuwa ang mga tao kung nagsasalita ng wika nila. Nakikikain lang naman ako ng ginamos, ang payat ko na nga, miss ko yong kangaroo beef, sa bukid, nangangamoy araw din ako, atbp.”

My dear brothers and sisters, we can only have meaning if we love Jesus Christ, whom Sr. Patricia loved very much. She is like a lamb led to a slaughter or maybe to paradise, to Australia. She knows in her heart that there is such thing as resurrection. God has the last word. Earthly kingdoms come and go.

We whom Sr. Patricia will leave behind, if nothing will change, will continue her and our missionary work, God’s mission, not according to the definition of Mr. Webster’s Dictionary or Wikipedia. We will follow the definition of the gospels, interpreted by committed and zealous first Christians and those who came after them, our popes, bishops, saints, founders and foundresses and present-day theologians.

We will be like the apostles Paul and Barnabas in the first reading, who evangelized the Jewish people in Antioch in Pisidia, in the present day Turkey. They boldly preached in the synagogue how the authorities in Jerusalem shabbily treated Jesus, condemning him to death, but God frustrated their plans. God raised Jesus from the dead.

Well, brothers and sisters, Sr. Pat, this could be the meaning of what is happening now. We continue connecting ourselves with Jesus, in our hearts, in our minds, in our communities, banking on his words to set us free, and we together as a church, one body, continue advancing God’s kingdom in the cities and in the country sides and in the world.

With the powerful intercession of St. Anthony of Padua, we will find justice, peace, fulfillment and joy we are looking for. God bless you all.

God bless you.


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