Reverend Father Joselito Martin, esteemed rector of San Carlos Seminary; distinguished members of the faculty, staff, and formation team of the San Carlos Seminary; dear Karlistas of various generations; priests, deacons, seminarians, religious men and women; dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
We thank the Lord who gathered us today for the celebration of the Eucharist, on the occasion of the 91st Alumni Homecoming of our seminary. This year, you chose to reflect on the theme: “Banal sa Pangarap, Bayani sa Sikap”, taken from your beloved seminary hymn.
Una, banal na pangarap: Saints always have dreams and desires. A truly holy person is someone with dreams and desires. Ang taong walang pangarap ay hindi talaga tunay na banal.
Some of us have fallen into temptation of mediocrity in the ministry because we have lost the capacity to dream. Wala nang gana, wala nang sigasig, wala nang sigla sa paglilingkod at pagbubuhos ng sarili, kasi nawalan na ng pangarap. No more light, no more might, no more delight in doing what’s right, because we have lost the capacity to dream.
Why does this happen? Why do we lose the capacity to dream? Often, we stop dreaming not because we experience fatigue and frustration in our dreaming and desiring. Actually, we stop dreaming because we think our dreams have already been fulfilled. But they were petty dreams, petty ambitions, petty desires: like money, position, connections, comforts, accolades, reputation, or perks. We stop dreaming because we have dreamed too little, too shallow, too hollow. Nakaipon na sa bangko, nakakuha na ng posisyon, nakatikim na ng byahe sa abroad, nakabuo na ng koneksyon sa mayayaman, kaya tumigil nang mangarap. Pero hindi ganito si San Carlos; at hindi sana ganito ang isang Karlista.
San Carlos was a man of great dreams and great desires, because he dreamed God’s dreams, and desired God’s desires. He let go of his own ambition, for the sake of the mission. He let go of his own needs, for the sake of the Church. I am inviting you, my dear brother priests: dream God’s dreams! Desire God’s desires! Allow yourself to be forgotten so that only Jesus will be remembered. Allow yourself to become poor, so that the poor can find dignity. Allow yourself to embrace the Cross, so that the Gospel can be preached. Offer your lives for the sheep, so that they might have life in abundance. This is the dream of Jesus. This is the desire of the Lord. Maging banal kayo sa inyong pangarap.
Ikalawa, bayani sa sikap: Heroes always make efforts, in order to offer their energies and resources, for the sake of a greater cause, a greater value, a greater good.
The root word of “bayani” is “bayan”. Heroes are persons-for-others. Ang mga pagsisikap nila ay hindi para sa sarili, kundi para sa bayan; hindi para sa kita o interes, hindi para sa poder o posisyon, hindi para sa koneksyon o reputasyon, kundi para sa Diyos at para sa kanyang bayan.
The prophet Jeremiah, in today’s First Reading, chose to spend his youthful energies witnessing to God’s message for his people. Saint Paul, in today’s Second Reading, reminds us to always be mindful of the whole people of God amid the gifts we have received from God. And the Lord, in today’s Gospel, speaks of his willingness to lay down his life for the sake of the flock.
My dear Karlistas, be men-for-others, men for the Church. Let us imitate our patron Saint Charles Borromeo who was willing to forego comforts, for the sake of the Gospel, for reform in the Church, for the greater glory of God. He tirelessly offered all his resources and spent all his energies so that the Church would become more faithful to Christ. He even risked his own life so that, amid the plague, the people of God may still hear the Gospel and avail of the sacraments. Nagsikap at nagpakabayani. Ganun din ang paanyaya sa bawat Karlista.
My dear Karlistas, as you gather these days to retell stories and rekindle bonds, I invite you to look at your brother Karlistas, and find in them the sons of Saint Charles, banal sa pangarap at bayani sa sikap. See in your brother a man of holy desire and heroic generosity. See in him a sinner who has been called by God to envision greater possibilities for the Church, and pour out everything in ministering to the people of God. See in him a priest whom Jesus continues to trust and configure to himself.
Saint Charles Borromeo, pray for us. Amen. (Photo File of RCAM-AOC)