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Confessio et Caritas

(Homily delivered by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle during the Mass of the Holy Spirit for member schools of MAPSA, RCAM-ES, CEAP at 9 a.m.on July 1, 2013 at the San Fernando de Dilao Parish church, Paco, Manila.




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We are happy to be here, to be gathered as one community as we celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of this school year. And I am sure that those of you who are representatives of your schools are particularly happy, wala kayong klase for a few hours. And we are also thankful to God for the fine weather for this mass. We thank Brother Armin Luistro, who is the head educator of the country, for his presence. We want to thank also the CEAP officials, Fr. Greg Banaag. We thank also the heads of the RCAM-ES, Msgr. Gerry Santos, our school directors, school principals, and all the schools within the region, within the ecclesiastical province for sending a delegation here.

It is a good tradition to have the Mass of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the academic year. And this is not just a ritual, it is a program actually. Why do we start the academic year, why do we start a year of integral human formation, why do we start the formation of future disciples and missioners, why do we start the formation of, hopefully, good citizens of the nation and of the world by invoking the Holy Spirit? This is not an empty ritual. It tells us what this educational mission is all about for the Church, and why we entrust this to the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
The readings for today point to many valuable lessons, especially about the action of the Holy Spirit in our midst. And I see some catechists, nandito rin ang mga catechists who are educators in the faith. Now of the lessons that the readings convey to us, let me focus on two important actions of the Spirit.


First of all the Holy Spirit, according to St. Paul in the second reading in his First Letter to the Corinthians, the Holy Spirit enables us to say, to proclaim, to confess Jesus is Lord. This is one hidden but real action of the Spirit, enabling us to confess in faith that Jesus is the Lord that we recognize. Walang makapagsasabi si Hesus ay Panginoon kung hindi sa kilos ng Espiritu Santo sa ating mga puso. Faith comes the action of the Spirit deep in our minds and our hearts, opening our whole persons to the revelation of who Jesus is. Faith leading to proclamation is not a human achievement. It is not a product of human knowledge. It is made possible only by the action of the Spirit.

So look at the First Reading. The disciples they were hiding in a room for fear of the Jews. They could not proclaim Jesus. In fact we know what happened in the Agony in the Garden. Dumating ang mga dadakip kay Hesus. Takbuhan ang mga alagad. Ayaw nilang makilala sila na kaugnay ni Hesus. Si Pedro usyoso. Hindi tuluyang umalis, sumunod sunod kay Hesus at nung nasa Sanhedrin na tinanong nila si Pedro, “Kasama ka nila, no?” “No.” Peter refused to confess. Peter refused to proclaim. Ano ang sabi niya, “Hindi ko kilala iyan. Hindi ko alam ang sinasabi ninyo.” Oh, Peter of little faith! The spirit of the world, the spirit of self-interest, the spirit of self-defense, the spirit of self-preservation, this was the spirit that dominated and those spirits hindered Peter from declaring, “Yes, I know him. He is my friend. He is my Lord.” It was not possible at that time. For it was another spirit that Peter allowed to take over him, a spirit that prevents a full faith leading to a courageous proclamation, “He is my Lord. He is my friend!”

But in the First Reading, with the dawning, with the advent of the Spirit, the tempest, the typhoon that shook the foundations of fear, of selfishness, you had Peter and the other disciples filled with the spirit, proclaiming the marvels of God in Jesus Christ. And they were able to proclaim the name of Jesus in different tongues so that the universal Church, the representatives of the known world at that time heard one confession, Jesus is Lord, from people who were uneducated, who were simple but were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Mga minamahal na mga educators, sa simula ng taon tinatawagan natin ang Espiritu Santo, ano pa man ang tinuturo ninyo, huwag niyong kalilimutan ang inyong presensiya sa classroom at sa paaralan ang pinakamahalaga ninyong pagtuturo. Mahusay ka nga na Math teacher, ang ugali mo naman ay forgettable. Nakakalungkot naman na maging teacher ang ganyan. Para po sa lahat ng guro lalo na sa Catholic schools, let your persons, let your way of relating with students, let your genuine care, compassion, concern for them who are now virtually your children, let all of these be your proclamation of your Lord Jesus. Marami tayong mga estudyante, mga anak ng OFW’s, marami tayong estudyante humaharap sa mga kalituhan ng buhay, sana sa ating mga guro maramdaman nila na mayroong HesuKristo, HesuKristo ng mabuting pastol na kayang akayin at yakapin lalo na ang mga sugatan.

Sa mga estudyante huwag lang kayo magdarasal sa Espiritu Santo kapag mage-exam. Ginawa natin ang Espiritu Santo na tagasolusyon sa mga problema na tayo ang may kagagawan. Ang daming nagpapa-bless sa akin ng papel at ballpen kapag malapit na ang exam. Eh bago ko bendisyonan tinatanong ko, “Nag aral ka ba?” Ang kalimitang sagot, “nyehehehe.” Kapag ngumiti ng ganyan, hindi nag-aral iyan. Tapos ipapabahala sa Espiritu Santo, sasabihin, “Espiritu Santo liwanagan mo ang isip ko” – na walang laman. O kung hindi mo maliwanagan ang isip ko dahil madilim na madilim, pasulatin mo ang ballpen na ito ng tamang sagot, kusa siyang susulat. At yung iba siguro sasabihin, kung hindi niyo maliwanagan ang isip ko, pakiliwanagan ang mata ko  para mabasa ko ang sinusulat ng katabi ko. Kawawang Espiritu Santo! Hindi iyan ang kanyang misyon. Sabi ni Hesus sa ebanghelyo ni San Juan, “I have many things to tell you but you cannot bear them now. But don’t worry, the advocate, the Holy Spirit, will be given to you to remind you of all that I have taught.” Ang ipapaalaala ng Espiritu Santo ay ang tinuro ni Hesus para lumalim ang pagkilala natin at pakikipagugnay natin kay Hesus. At ang malalim na pakikipagugnay na ito ay uuwi sa confession, proclamation of our faith in Jesus. Iyan ang ipapaalaala ng Espiritu Santo, leading to a courageous and joyful confession of our Lord.

Kaya pakiusap ko sa mga produkto ng Catholic schools, sa maliliit na bahagi ng buhay natin, in the power of the Spirit, confess Jesus. Mga estudyante, balik tayo sa exams. Hirap na hirap ka sa exams, yung katabi mo nagkawanggawa, nakita yatang pakamot kamot ka ng ulo, sasabihin nung kaibigan mo, katabi mo, “psssst, eto share ko sa iyo.” Sharing. Sasabihin mo ba, “Lord, salamat. Hulog ito ng langit. Hindi ko hinahanap, dumating. Ino-offer! Talagang ang Espiritu Santo ay lumipad, papunta sa akin!” Ganun ba? Confession. Proclaim Jesus. Sabihin mo, “kapatid, nasa Catholic school tayo, ang maniwala kay Hesus ay hindi tugma sa pandaraya!” Sasabihin niyo iyan? Ayaw niyo sabihin iyon? Yan ha, confession. Proclaim Jesus. Yung mga magulang niyo pagod na pagod na katratrabaho para kayo mapagaral. Eh medyo naiinggit ka dun sa kaklase mo, may bagong gadget, upgraded na yung kanyang mga programs, eh alam mo namang mukhang hindi kakayanin ni tatay at ni nanay, ano ang gagawin mo? Ikaw ba ay magpupumilit na makasunod sa moda? O ikaw ay magsasabi sa iyong mga magulang, “huwag kayong magalala, pupuwede naman akong lumalim ang kaalaman kahit wala ang mga gadgets na iyan.”

Hanggang ngayon nagtuturo ako, ha. Nagsimula akong magturo 1977. Wala pang estudyanteng gumagamit ng computer. Sulat kamay. Typewriter. Wala pang internet-internet. Punta ka sa libro. Punta ka sa library. Maalikabok ang library, mayroon kang allergy, punta ka diyan. Sa library, silence. Ang allowed lamang ng ingay ay, “hatsing!” dahil sa mga may allergy. Ngayon may computer, hindi na naglilibrary kasi online-online na. Kinocompare ko yung mga term papers nuon at ngayon. Tinitignan ko, gumanda ba ang mga papers dahil ang daming gadgets? Gumanda ang font. Ah, may gumanda rin naman, pero, ano ha, yung sisisihin kasi walang ganito walang ganyan. Hoy may utak ka, may puso ka. At iyan ang mahalaga. Confess the Lord who became human, who did not become a cell phone. He became human. So in your humanity grow in the way that Jesus grew in stature and in grace and wisdom before God and human beings. So ito sana ang isang maging programa ng buong taon, at buong buhay, with Holy Spirit, proclaim Jesus.

And finally, love. Love. One action of the Holy Spirit is peace, reconciliation, as the risen Lord said in the Gospel. The Holy Spirit brings people of different tongues, different nations, into one community in a language of love and understanding according to the first reading. And in the second reading, people of different gifts, different talents, they become one body of Christ because of the love poured by the Spirit into them. Kaya nga sasabihin ni San Pablo, kahit marami kang talino, kung wala kang pag-ibig wala lahat iyan. After enumerating all the gifts St. Paul says, now you should aspire for the greatest of gifts of the Spirit and what is it? Love. You may have the gift of tongues but without love you are a clanging cymbal. You may have the gift of faith to move mountains, but without love it amounts to nothing. So confession of faith in Jesus and love that builds up the community. These two are the actions of the Spirit and hopefully not only in schools but in the whole country and in the whole of humanity. Confessio et caritas. Confession and love offered to us by the Risen Lord through the Holy Spirit.

Ang ating mga paaralan nawa ay maging tahanan ng pagibig na bunga ng Espiritu Santo. Mga estudyante huwag kayong magko-kompetensiya, kompetensiya na para bagang kulang na lang ay patayin ninyo ang inyong mga kaklase. Kapag mayroon kayong kaklase na nagpakita ng talento at galing, matuwa kayo, lapitan niyo, sabihan niyo, “ang husay mo diyan, ipagdarasal ko na lumago ang iyong gift na na iyan.” Huwag yung iisipin mo, pambihira naman, matatalo yata ako ng kaklase kong ito at gagawa ka ng paraan para sirain, patirin mo nga habang mageexam para hindi makakuha ng exam. Huwag tayong mag-iisip ng ganyan, hindi iyan gawa ng Espiritu Santo. Pag-iibigan. Mutual appreciation, mutual building up. And who will benefit? The whole Church, the whole of society, the whole of humanity.

So, let us pause and pray that the Risen Lord may send to us again, the Sprit, to enable us to proclaim Jesus and also to live in love.
Confessio et caritas.