Sunday, 15 December 2019 06:51

Homily of Cardinal Tagle for the Ordination of Bishop Alan Dialogo


Homily delivered by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle during Mass for the Ordination of Bishop Alan Dialogo held at The Manila Cathedral on December 12, 2019.

Photo by Eric Paul Guanlao/RCAM-AOC
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My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we thank God for gathering us as one Church as one community of faith. We thank God for the graciousness that he has been showing to us. First, through our Blessed Mother, the patroness of the Philippines under her title, Our Lady of Guadalupe.

And today also, for the singular gift of raising one of the priests of the Archdiocese of Manila to become a missionary as a bishop in Sorsogon. But in a way it’s also a coming home for him for he was born in Naga, raised in Naga in the Bicol region under the care of our Lady of Peñafrancia, Ina. Now he is going home as bishop of Sorsogon. Thank you, Alan! (crowd claps

And we thank him for attending his ordination (crowd laughs). Had he not shown up then we would have canceled all of these.

And we also are very glad to have in our midst as co-consecrators, ang kinalulugdan ng langit at lupa, ang Kanyang Kabunyian Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales.

And also the bishop emeritus of Sorsogon, Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD.

The solidarity, the communion of the Holy Father is also made manifest to us through the presence of our Apostolic Nuncio Most Rev. Gabriele Caccia. (crowd claps)

We thank our brothers in the episcopacy who will welcome and encourage our new bishop.

We thank the clergy of Sorsogon for being here in welcoming their new pastor. Welcome to the Manila Cathedral.

And welcome also to the clergy of Manila, the religious men and women and all people who want to share the joy of the whole church.

Also, the family of Bishop Alan. Salamat po sa inyo, sa inyong pagdalo. Dios Mabalos! Tama ba yun?

I think in your liturgical guide you have a clear presentation of the ministry of the bishop even the symbols are well explained there. We see how the ministry of a bishop is called by the Second Vatican Council as the fullness, the apex of the sacred ministry. It is service but sacred.  It is not just of a secular worldly character. And Vatican II reminds every bishop that his calling is that of sacred ministry performed in the Christian community - Communitatis Cervitum. The service of the church, how?

First, through the ministry of the Word of God. For the community grows in faith through the Word of God proclaimed, heard, received, and lived.

Secondly, the priestly ministry of prayer, of sacrament, of liturgy which is also the word is the ministry of the word but now put into signs and symbols gathering the community again through the grace of God.

And thirdly, what we called the shepherding, the kingly ministry governing through charity the service of charity. And all of these done as a sacred service that is why it is not the word of the bishop but the Word of God. It is not the sacrament of the bishop performed in his name. No, sacraments are performed in the name of the Father, the sign and the Holy Spirit. And it is shepherding not according to one’s style but according to the pastoral love, charity of the good shepherd.

It all goes back to God who in his mysterious ways has chosen weak, limited even sinful human beings to entrust to them this sacred ministry.

So, Bishop Alan, yun na yun. And you have a whole lifetime to learn about it and to grow into it knowing that when you do not know what to say, well, it is God’s word not yours. When you do not know how to help people, then, it is God’s grace in sacrament, not yours. When you do not know how to shepherd then turn to the true shepherd, learn from him, learn from him.

That is the official teaching and that is what we normally see but the feast of today, Our lady of Guadalupe, especially the Gospel of the Annunciation to Mary by the Angel Gabriel presents to us very often the unseen aspect of the ministry not only of the bishop but also of the clergy, the calling of the religious, and your calling to, your calling as married people, your calling as teachers, as servants in the community. There is a public exterior service but as we engage in that there is an inner drama. The mysterious designs of these dialogue between God and a human being, Mary.

In Nazareth, can anything good come out of Nazareth? Look at how people regarded Nazareth. A woman already with her plans…to Joseph.  Her name was Mary. The angel came to her, “Rejoice Mary!” We say, “Hail Mary!” But it is really, “Rejoice Mary!” Mahusay sa psychology ang angel sinimulan sa rejoice, rejoice. But is the cause of rejoicing? You are full of grace you have favor with God And when God comes you should rejoice.

What Pope Francis has repeatedly reminding us of the joy of the Gospel, the joy of the Gospel. Exalt and rejoice the call to holiness always rejoicing. When God comes, that is enough reason to rejoice.

And the angel says the Lord is with you. The Lord will help you. The Lord will be near to you. The reaction of Mary was not to jump and to same with joy. She was greatly troubled at what was said and that’s when the angel assured her, “Do not be afraid.”  And he repeated, “You are full of grace, you have found favor with God.” 

Then comes the mission. You will conceive a son and you shall name him Jesus.  He is the son of the Most High God. He will inherit the throne of his father David and his kingdom will be forever. Rejoice, Mary! You are graced. The Lord is with you. And the Lord asked you to do a mission and the mission is focused on Jesus, Jesus. This son of God who will be her son. The mission is about Jesus.

Mary in her bewilderment was asked to focus Jesus is your mission. It will involve tasks but in the end, your mission has a name. The name of a person, Jesus.

Now comes an important aspect of mission. Mary recognized her inadequacies, her limitations. How could this be? I have no relations with man. Mahalaga po iyan sa misyon. Hindi yung wow! Sa dami dami ng babae diyan sa Nazareth, ako ang pinuntahan ng anghel. Sorry na lang sa kanila. Ako siguro ang pinakamagaling. Ako siguro ang pinakamatalino. Ako siguro ang pinakasikat. This is my moment. Hindi misyon ag tawag dun. Ambisyon. Mary right away said, how could this be? It is not possible. And again, the angel assured her. The Holy Spirit will come upon you. Do not be afraid, Mary. God knows your limitations. That’s why the Holy Spirit will act.

And a sign was given, Elizabeth in her old age now has conceived a son, humanly impossible but with God everything is possible, with God.

Mary, alert, humble, honest, intelligent, she asked the right questions she was discerning, and finally, she said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word.” Fiat. Let it be done.

The motto of Bishop Alan, Fiat. Alan, the fiat came at the end of the long process. And all the elements of the inner dialogue with God must be present. But rejoice, ngiti ka naman dyan. Rejoice! Rejoice!

You will be graced. You are grace and the Lord will help you and don’t be ashamed to show God that you are terrified, that you tremble and admit before God your limitations and he will assure you nothing will be impossible with and for… and then re-focus if it is not about us it is Jesus. Our mission is Jesus to spread his name, to promote his kingship. And you will say Fiat everyday many times a day. This is the beginning of a lifetime of mission, of trembling, of being humbled and humiliated, of being a….and saying Fiat, Fiat.

And we asked all of you especially the Christian community of Sorsogon. Do not leave Bishop alone in saying Fiat.

Ang mga pari, mga religious at ang community together with him should discover our common mission, calling and our common response for it is one mission that will be accomplished according to our different gifts and charisms. But together we listen to the calling together we rejoice, together we focus on Jesus. Together we build up each other for each one is limited. We pray for each other and together we say, let it be done to me, to us according to your word.

Napakalungkot na maging obispo kapag nag-iisa ka na nga doon eh, doon sa Sorsogon isa lang naman ang obispo. Ewan ko lang kung meron pang nakatagong obispo pero ang alam natin isa lang. napakalungkot naman kapag wala siyang makakasama doon sa misyon. Kaya today, we commit also ourselves to mission with our new bishop.

But let me close with this. We are celebrating today Our Lady of Guadalupe who in turn visited Juan Diego.

Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel and afterward, Mary became the bearer of Good News. And in a particular way in Mexico to that humbled person, Juan Diego.

She came like an angel the bearer of Good News bearing the news of the closeness of God to the marginal, the poor, the little ones. She came to Juan Diego ask a native lady, one of them.  And she almost repeated the words of the angel Gabriel to her assuring Juan Diego, “Do not be terrified, do not be afraid. And I’m not here your mother, I am your mother.

That’s why the beautiful prayer addressed to Our Lady of Guadalupe especially during moments of fear and anguish, we pray that we be kept in the folds of her mantle, in the crossing of her arms, in the hollow of her hands. And Juan Diego became a messenger to the bishop. When you are visited by an angel, you become a messenger, too.

It’s the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and as she sent Juan Diego, she’s also sending you and through you Alan, we hope many, many more people would hear God’s calling and be sent as well.

Let the chain of the proclamation of the Good News, faith and response lead to a never-ending angelic proclamation.

I hope when the Nuncio who was also named Gabriel, Gabriele talked with you, I hope you saw an angel in him. I hope you heard an angel coming to you. I’m sure his words, his presence, his person are very encouraging until you hear the message.

We thanked you for saying, yes. You know Bishop is a rawer. He joins competitions. So, I have a vision that you would blend very well being a pastor with being a fisher of men. 

Remember that St. Peter who was called to be a shepherd was earlier called to be a fisher of men. As a shepherd, you walk on firm earth but as a fisher, you will be tossed. It is uncertain sometimes you do not know how to reach the other side but that’s our time, less land but more fluid oceans.

So, we entrust you to our Blessed Mother. Be a good shepherd. Be a good shepherd and raw with all your might.

And I hope one day when you cannot reach the other side, you will see someone walking towards…it is I, it is I. (RCAM AOC - Archdiocesan Office of Communications)

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