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To fulfilled with the Spirit with Jesus, TODAY

(Homily delivered by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle at the Mass of the Chrism on Holy Thursday, April 2, 2015, at the Manila Cathedral.)

It is a great joy and blessing to be here, to be part of this great community of faith. If you can only see the whole cathedral where we are standing you will really be edified. Maraming salamat po sa inyo sa inyong pagdating at pakikiisa sa misang ito.

And we thank also our brother priests both the diocesan and the religious, after all this is also the Year of Consecrated Life. And our celebration is made more special with the presence of our dear Eminent, very Eminent, Kabunyi bunyi anna Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales. Miss na miss napo niya tayong lahat. And, of course, our Apostolic Nuncio in the Philippines, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto; our dear auxiliary bishop, Bishop Broderick Pabillo; Msgr. Chibuike who works at the nunciature is from Nigeria, we should congratulate him and his people. They just elected a new president. Congratulations Monsignor and we pray for your beloved country. We also have silver, golden, and diamond jubilarians concelebrating with us!

It is really a day of blessing, a day of anointing. In a little while we will witness the blessing of the sacred oils. In the Bible especially in the Old Testament we hear often mentioned, the grain, the wine, the oil, all signs of a good life; all signs of God’s blessings. Thanks to the grain you have bread. Thanks to the grapes, you have wine. Thanks to the olive trees you have oil. Then you can survive. Your life will be decent. No wonder the oil will also be considered as the presence of God who cares for God’s people. Tonight in the Eucharistic celebration we will see how simple grain, simple wine will be the presence of the Savior, Jesus Christ. But this morning we focus on the oil. But of course we will have the bread and the wine also.

The oil. The anointing of the Holy Spirit is symbolized very often through the oils and the oils that we will bless will have three major ministerial components. Through the oil God heals; through the oil God consecrates people, places, and objects solely to the service of God. And through the oils God increases the faith of people: the catechumens leading to Baptism and confirmation, initiation to the faith, the Christian life.

The oils are not just oils per se. They are the action of the Spirit through the ministry of the Church. That’s why they are blessed in such a solemn way. And since Vatican II those who are already consecrated by the Holy Spirit and anointing by the Sacred Oil, the ordained also renew their promises. They renew their consecration; they renew also their commitment to heal, to consecrate and to help people grow in the faith. What a beautiful occasion we are witnessing this morning!

Sa sobrang ganda parang hindi mo naalam ang sasabihin mo. Baka abutin tayo ng Linggo ng Pagkabuhay pero ayaw naman ninyo iyon. But let us focus on the readings of today where all of these blend: the anointing, but what type of anointing? By the Holy Spirit in Jesus Christ we see this fulfilled. But all of us are also anointed. As the second reading declares: You are God’s priests! You are God’s Kingdom. Every baptized person is anointed to be God’s child; to be a brother or sister of Jesus; to be a living temple of the Holy Spirit; to be the missionary Church that Jesus sends out to the ends of the earth until the end of time. All of us are anointed and in a special way, in a higher and deeper degree, because of their ministry, the ordained are also anointed for the sacred ministry.

I would like to reflect on three points based on the readings and the event that we are celebrating. Sana po maipagpatuloy natin gang pagninilay pagkatapos ng Misa hanggang sa atin pong pagdiriwang ng Muling Pagkabuhay ni Hesus. At saatin po nating ginagawang pagdiriwang, manalangin sa Panginoon; ang Panginoon na lumikha ng langit at lupa na kung maaari sa kanyang habag ay iligtas tayo sa parating na bagyo. Iligtas din po lalo ang mga kapatid natin dun sa Eastern Samar, sa Quezon, Northern Luzon nasabi po nila ay baka tamaan. A consecrated people know how to live in solidarity with others and in our joy, we never forget; Christian joy never forgets those who suffer.

Let me start the reflection with the Gospel and this is the first point. In the Gospel Jesus returns to Nazareth where he grew up; Nazareth, a place unknown, insignificant. In fact, before the New Testament writings there had been no mention of Nazareth. Nabanggit lamang ang Nazareth dahil kay Hesus, dahil dun siya lumaki, in this insignificant village chosen by God to be the place where the Son of God will grow up as human being amidst the farmers, amidst the simple people, the fishermen, a hidden lot.

And as the custom of the Jewish people, on a Sabbath, a holy day, they went to the synagogue. Jesus growing up in a pious family goes to the synagogue on a Sabbath. And there he found the passage from Isaiah, the passage we heard proclaimed as the first reading. The passage about the servant of God who will be anointed by the Spirit and the anointing of the Spirit is for mission, to bring glad tidings to the poor, liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, release of prisoners, a year of favor from the Lord. Probably those who were in the synagogue already have heard this passage a number of times. Hindi siguroitoangkauna-unahang pagkakataon na narinigito ng mga tao sa sinagoga. But something earthshaking happens on this ordinary Sabbath day, in this ordinary synagogue, in an insignificant village of Nazareth. The one who proclaimed it, after rolling up the scroll, giving it back to the assistant said: Today in your hearing this scripture passage is fulfilled: That beautiful TODAY; that irrepeatable TODAY in your hearing. You don’t only hear words today. Today the words are fulfilled. The words have become a reality.

How? The word has been fulfilled in Jesus, the Nazorean. He, this person, the son of the carpenter, the son of Mary, the friend of this fishermen, He is the fulfillment of this passage. The fulfillment is not in the task; the fulfillment is not in a project, no matter how important they are. The fulfillment of the prophecy is in the person of Jesus, the one sent by the Father as a lowly human being but anointed by the Holy Spirit, whose incarnation was the work of the Holy Spirit, in whose baptism the Spirit descended. And now after the temptation in the desert he begins his ministry, declaring, in him is fulfilled the prophecy. He is the anointed one, he is truly. In him the plan of the Father to save is fulfilled, in the person of Jesus.

Kaya po sa araw na ito, lahat tayo, binyagan, mgaorden, tumutoktayo kay Hesus. Nothing will be fulfilled outside the person of Jesus. Our best plans, our best intentions, our loftiest dreams will not find their full fulfillment except in the person of Jesus. And so this day is a day of deep examination of our hearts. What is the role of Jesus in my life? Does he occupy a central role? What role does he play in my plans, in my beautiful plans, in my dreams? And oh, my brother priests, do we still have the fire, the fervor, that every friend of Jesus must possess? At the beginning of day and at the end at night, is Jesus our joy? Is Jesus the one that we have seen accomplishing his plan, the Father’s plan through us? Is he the one that we are proud of? Is he the one that we proclaim? Is he the meaning of all our efforts, sufferings and even our successes? Can we face Jesus and say, Yes, Jesus, today and every day, you fulfill my life and my ministry. For that is what Jesus said: Today this is fulfilled in your hearing. I am your fulfillment.

Sa mga kabataan na nandito, alam ko napakahirap maging kabataan sa mundo ngayon. Hinahatak kayo ng iba’tibang uri ng fulfillment. I beg you, I beg you to listen to Jesus, only Jesus fulfills the plan of God and the longings of the human heart. To the parents here, please instill in your children the deep desire for Jesus. Do not let them fall into the temptation of disregarding Jesus and replacing him with false offers of fulfillment that in the end frustrate and even kill.

To the religious, the consecrated men and women here, your professed life, your consecrated life is a form of anointing. But it is a declaration to the world, no riches, no human love, no human project will ever be fulfilled by me, by my religious order apart from Jesus Christ. Is this a reality to us? With Jesus as the fulfillment of our lives, our mission and our ministry, life will be simple, everything will be related to Jesus, and all that is not of Jesus must go. Must go! Simple lang: Hesus. With Jesus as the fulfillment, we will not cling to ideologies; we will not cling to great ideas as though they have become the Gospel. With Jesus as the fulfillment of our lives, we will love everyone. In Jesus, no factions, no pressure groups, everyone is loved by Jesus. Jesus died for all even for enemies. Is Jesus the fulfillment of our lives?

Which leads me to the second point: how can we grow in this commitment, attachment even, to Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s plan? Let us learn from Jesus. The Word of God, turning to the word of God. Jesus read the prophet Isaiah. And this is how we can get to know Jesus’s fulfillment: the Word of God, out of familiarity with the word of God, the Hebrew Scriptures, the gospels, the New Testament readings, they all point to Jesus. And we see how in the word of God Jesus has come alive. Jesus is already being depicted and then it takes on flesh in this person. There is no knowing Jesus as the fulfillment of life without an ardent love of the word of God in scriptures and in the traditions of the Church.

Sabi nga nila, ang hindi nakakaalam ng Salita ng Diyos, hindi makikilala si Hesus.The Word of God. Mgakapatid, para maging pinakaubod ng ating buhay si Hesus, kilalanin siya sapamamagitan ng pakikinig, pagbabasa, pagaaral, pagninilay, pagsasabuhay ng Salita ng Diyos. Kung apat na oras tayong manonood ng tv at telenovela, gawing isa na lang. Tatlong oras magbasa ng bibliya at katekismo. Kaya pala mas maraming tao kilala yung mga artista sa telenovela, hindi kilalasi Hesus, eh bakit? Kasi telenovela naman ang laging pinanonood, eh, hindi yung Salita ng Panginoon! Ilang oras kung pagsamasamahin ang ating pagte-text at pag-e-email? Bawasan! At pumunta sa Salita ng Diyos. Paanong magiging kaganapan ng buhay mo si Hesus kung hindi ko siya kikilalanin sa kanyang salita natungkol din sakanya. And a special appeal to my brother priests. Let us intensify the Biblical apostolate. Let us intensify the role of the Word of God. Let not a single, pastoral activity be conducted without a clear connection to the Word of God. Let us not shorten events by taking out the proclamation of the Word of God. Dalidaliannaang house blessing, alisin ang Salita ng Diyos. Bakit yun ang inaalis? Pero tatlong oras kumakain sa reception. Bakit hindiy unang alisin? Three verses lang ang Salita ng Diyos inalis pa. pero yung panginginain… ay panginginain… parang pangit na salita iyon, ah, …yung kainan ang haba haba hindi inaalis. Please in our planning, let it be clear to us and our lay collaborators how is this activity rooted in the Word of God. So we don’t event. There is only one apostolate, how Jesus fulfilled his mission. So, familiarity with the Word of God, for our preaching, for our pastoral planning and choices.

And a reminder, our homilies. Ang ating mga homily a. let us read again the beautiful reminders of Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium on the homily. The preacher must be the first to have experienced the Word of God. His heart must have been captured by the Word of God and from his heart honed by study, reflection and even skills, that heart must speak to the hearts of people. The immortal words of Cardinal Newman, Coradcorloquitor, speaking from the heart to other hearts, addressing other hearts. That if the heart is not burning as Jesus speaks to me, how do I expect my homily to cause the hearts of other people to burn as well. The word of God, the centrality of Jesus achieved through our commitment, love for the Word of God.

And finally. Jesus fulfilled the Word of God, the words from Isaiah that he had read. And the fulfillment is in his mission to the poor, to bring the good tidings to the poor, liberty to captives, sight to the blind. And this is the third and final point. The centrality of Jesus achieved through our love for the Word of God and also through our love for and living with the poor. Here, here in this ambo last January Pope Francis told us, please remember dear beloved priests, he told us, that if we removed the poor from our lives we will not understand the Gospel. We will not understand Jesus. For that is how Jesus fulfilled the plan of God. Filled with the Spirit he was driven by the Spirit to the poor. And there among the poor we will witness the Good News taking flesh.

Kahapon po, dumalaw kami at nagmisa doon sa nasunog na bahagi ng Parola. 3,000 families, 19,000 individuals bahay sunog. Nung kami ay nagmisa sa napakaliitna clearing na para bang basketball court, siksikan, siksikan. But I tell you dear brothers and sisters, we can touch the joy, you can touch the hope, the love of the Gospel, in the tears, suffering of the people. A people who should be angry and bitter, they have only one word. Nagpapasalamat po kami, mahal pa rin kami ng Diyos at lalo pong tumindi ang aming paninindigannamahal kami ng Diyos dahil mahal kami ng Simbahan, at nandito po kayo, kaya po walang duda, mahal kami ng Diyos.

The Good News is proclaimed the poor and the poor proclaim the Good News to us. Sana dumating ang panahon na ang mga pari, religious magaagawan sa pinakamahirap na parokya at pinakamahirap na misyon. Kung mayroon sana silang maging tampuhan  ay tampuhan ng, bakit ikaw ang napunta diyan sa informal settlers? Gusto koa ko! Then what Jesus said can be repeated. Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled.

Let us pray to the Lord for the generous outpouring of this Spirit on all of us. Not only of the Church here in the Archdiocese of Manila but the Church in the Philippines and all over the world. May we rediscover Jesus, whose passion, death and resurrection; we will commemorate starting this evening. May he be the fulfillment not only of God’s plan but of our human Christian, ministerial destiny. May we turn to Jesus more and more through his word, and through his beloved poor. We’ll never go wrong if cling to the Word of God, and to the beloved poor. Hopefully, hopefully, the Filipino people observing these holy days may experience what it means to be filled with the Spirit of Jesus.

Let us pause and open our hearts to the Spirit that filled Jesus.