HOMILY TRANSCRIPT | Manila Archbishop Jose F. Cardinal Advincula, Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace (EDSA) Shrine, February 20, 2024

Fr. Jerome Secillano, our dear rector, my dear brother priests and deacons, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

We give thanks to God our Father this day for gathering us in this shrine, which truly marks our Filipino distinction as a pueblo amante de Maria.  We remember how Mama Mary gathered her beloved Filipino children to EDSA to rally and pray together for the sake of truth, justice, and peace in our troubled land.

My dear brothers and sisters, aside from its penitential character, Lent is also a time to prepare catechumens for Baptism.  The readings during Lent are meant to instruct them on Christian life.  Today, we learn about prayer.

Jesus warns his disciples regarding a misdirected understanding of prayer. We must not think that saying too much will make the Lord listen to us. This is dangerous.  This leads to self-righteousness.  We might think thatbecause I have put all my effort into praying sothe Lord should listen to me.

In prayer, we do not deal with a God whose mind we change.  Rather, it is God who transforms us in prayer.  When we pray, God touches us, and we are changed.  Our hearts are transformed.We do not change God in prayer.  Prayer changes us.  In prayer, God touches us.

God knows what we need before we ask him.  He knows what we need before we even come for prayer.

Prayer is an encounter.  Through constant prayer, we develop our relationship with God.  In any relationship, we must be willing to waste time with the beloved.  This is the secret that we learned from the Little Prince. The fox said to the Little Prince, “If you want to befriend me, you must tame me first.”  The fox asked the Little Prince to regularly spend time with him.  In the end, it was the heart of the Little Prince that was tamed.  He learned the great secret.  It is only when one is willing to waste time for the beloved, andspend time with the beloved – can a relationship grow.

Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray. Jesus teaches us how to pray. First, we acknowledge that even our desire to pray, even our ability to pray is grace coming from the Lord.  The old translation of a Preface in the Mass says this beautifully: You have no need of our praise, yet our desire to thank You is itself Your gift. Our prayer of thanksgiving adds nothing to Your greatness, but makes us grow in Your grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  God is the source of all, including our prayer and all that we have and are.

Second, we acknowledge that God is the giver of all gifts.  We ask him to give us today our daily bread.  This teaches us to ask only for what we need and for what is enough for today.  When we desire more than this, we deprive other people.

Third, prayer seeks to heal relationships. Prayer must lead us to ask the Lord “to forgive us our sins” and to give us the grace to “forgive those who have sinned against us.

When we pray, we humbly recognize that God’s will should be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Prayer directs us to seek and obey God’s will.

Dear brothers and sisters, now is an important time to uphold our national dignity as pueblo amante de Maria.  Let us not allow EDSA to be a mere page in our national history.  EDSA is a religious and spiritual experience that cuts through time and inspires our life as a nation.  EDSA is not so much about the triumph of one party or dynasty over another; it is about the victory of the faith and heroism of the Filipino people, maka-Diyos kaya makabayan.  At EDSA, we showed the world that we are activelyengaged citizens who have the freedom and dignity to choose our nation’s destiny by coming together in prayer and solidarity.

Let this spirit of EDSA live on.  Let us take steps so that the next generations of Filipinos will call Mary blessed.  All the more, we need to pray the Holy Rosary as families and communities, and contemplate the holy mysteries in the life of Mary and Jesus so that they may transpire in our personal and social lives.  All the more, we need to express our faith in both private and public spheres, and let the teachings and commandments of God influence our national decisions.  All the more, let us turn to Our Lady for her guidance and protection, and seek her prayerful intercession for justice and peace in our nation and all over the world.

Mama Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us all.  Amen. (Photo by Maricar Santos/RCAM-AOC | Photogallery)



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