HOMILY TRANSCRIPT |MAGPAS – RCAM Traslacion Roadmap, Paco Catholic School, May 6, 2023, 8 am

Mga minamahal na mga pari at mga lider-layko ng ating mga parokya at pamayanan, mga minamahal na kapatid kay Kristo,

Our gathering this morning is the resumption of our regular assembly as an Archdiocese called MAGPAS, Manila Archdiocesan General Pastoral Assembly. Even before the call of Pope Francis for a Synodal Church characterized by Communion, Participation, and Mission, we, in the Archdiocese, have tried to be synodal, participative and missionary. During the time of Jaime Cardinal Sin, my seminary professor, we hosted the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP-II) in 1991; as well as the Second Provincial Council of Manila (PCM-II) in 1995. These big assemblies were attended by a large of number of bishops, priests, religious, and lay leaders to talk about the enormous challenges that the Church was facing in the 1990s.

In 2005,“Lolo Dency”, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, started the MAGPAS to help us in crafting a Vision for our local church. This served as our Archdiocesan monthly meeting to cascade to parishes and other communities the theological and pastoral implications of our Vision. Cardinal Chito Tagle, my beloved immediate predecessor, continued the MAGPAS and introduced us to the idea of a Unified Formation Framework (UFF) based on the Road to Emmaus of the Gospel of St. Luke. The UFF is supposed to serve as our common formation framework for our parishes and ministries. Even in his short stint as our apostolic administrator, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, stressed the need to push through with our fixed schedule to talk about the relevant issues of our time in a consultative and dialogic way.

Indeed, the Archdiocese of Manila has always tried to be a synodal church. Sa mga nag daang taon, sinikap nating maglakbay ng sama-sama. Nagsikap tayong palagiang magtipon at making sa isa’t isa. Maraming balakid. Maraming hamon. Maraming kakulangan. Ngunit sa gitna ng lahat, palagian tayong binubuklod ng Espiritu Santo upang harapin at tugunan ang misyon na iniaatang nya sa ating mga balikat.

When Pope Francis convoked the Synod on Synodality in 2021 that would involve the universal Church and not just a few representatives in Rome, we took this as a sign that we must continue the conversation and mutual listening. We conducted our “Audiamsa RCAM” in our parishes, ministries, and other ecclesial communities. We tried to reach as many participants as much as possible including and especially those who are not usually consulted and given attention in our programs and services.

Sa mga narinig natin sa ating synodal consultations, marami ang nag sabing natutuwa silang matanong at makausap. Hindi daw madalas na nangyayari ito at sana’y maipagpatuloy. Sa Audiam sa RCAM, narinig natin ang mga“Salamat at Sana” ng mgakapatid natin sa mga parokya, paaralan at opisina. Marami ang nagsabing sana’y huwag lamang mauwi sa papel o dokumento ang synodality. Sana’y maging kagawian at kalakaran na ito sa ating mga pamayanan.

Ito ang dahilan kung bakit tayo naririto ngayong umaga. Pangarap nating isabuhay ang “Audiam”, ang pakikinig sa tinig ng Espiritu Santo, ang pakikinig sa tinig ng bawa’t isa, ang pakikinig sa mga hamon ng panahon. Ngunit ang pakikinig ay simula lamang ng mahabang proseso ng paglalakbay ng isang bayan. Sinasabi natin sa ating Vision, “Bayang tinawag ng Ama kay Hesukristo upang maging sambayanan ng mga taong may kaganapan ng buhay.” Hindi madali ang paglalakbay patungo sa “fullness of life” o sa kaganapan ng buhay. Nangangailan ito ng sama-samang pagkilos at aktibong pakikilahok sa pagbabago at pagpapanibago ng ating simbahan.

Kaya naman inilunsad natin ang Traslación RCAM Roadmap noong Chrism Mass sa Manila Cathedral. Nais nating isabuhay ang synodality o sama-samang paglalakbay. Ngunit nangangailangan ito ng mapanggagabay sa atingpaglalakbay. Hindi tayo maaaring manatili sa mga pangarap at sana. Lagyan din natin ng paa ang ating mga pangarap. Kilusan din natin ang ating mga sana.

Sa ating sama-samang paglalakbay, tatanungin natin lagi ang ating mgasarili. Saan tayo galing? Sino ang kasama at di natin kasama? Saan tayo papunta? Paano tayo makakarating? Where are we coming from? Who is with and not with us in the journey? Where is the Holy Spirit leading us? How do we get there? In our journeying together, it is important that we learn the art of spiritual conversation and mutual listening. We have tobe taught to discern individually and communally. But conversations must also lead to conversions, conversions of hearts and structures. Discernment must bear fruit in decisive actions. Spirituality, synodality and strategy are interconnected.

In our first reading, St. Paul delivered his first sermon in a synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia. It was so powerful that the whole city gathered to listen to Paul and Barnabas. But the Jewish leaders were filled with jealousy and expelled the apostles from their territory. Paul and Barnabas had to decide to go to Iconium, filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. If you have been following the first readings from Easter Sunday to Pentecost, you will see the life of the early Church and its growth from Jerusalem to the gentile territories. The apostles proclaimed the Gospel vigorously, but they also had to be strategic in their approach to the different cultures and cities.

We are facing the same challenges today. We must be emboldened by the Holy Spirit to continue the mission of Jesus. But we must also be strategic and wise in dealing with the signs of the times. Let us not be afraid or doubtful like Thomas and Philip in our Gospel. Let us allow Jesus to show us the path that we must take. For indeed, He is the way, the truth, and the life. If we ask anything in His name, He will do it. Amen. (Photo by Maricar Santos/RCAM-AOC | Photogallery)


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