HOMILY TRANSCRIPT | Manila Archbishop Jose F. Cardinal Advincula, Graduation Mass, Our Lady of Guadalupe Minor Seminary, May 25, 2023, 3 pm

The Reverend Father Emerico Garcia, our esteemed Father Rector, the dedicated priest formators, teachers, non-teaching staff, seminarians, parents, benefactors, our dear brothers and sisters in the Lord:

Today, we gather to celebrate a joyous occasion—the graduation of our senior highschool seminarians and the moving up ceremony of our junior highschool seminarians. It is a moment of great significance, not only for the graduates themselves but also for their families, their formators, and all those who have supported them throughout their journey. Together, let us give thanks to the good Lord for the gift of perseverance, the sacrifices made by parents, and the dedication of our priest formators and teachers.

Having served as a formator for many years, I understand the challenges and joys that come with this vocation. It is often a thankless job, but one that is immensely fulfilling when we witness the radiant faces of our seminarians during their graduation. On this special day, they are filled with hope for the future and excitement for the adventures that await them in the adult world.

Dear graduates, in your time at the seminary, you have learned valuable lessons that have prepared you for the examinations of life. However, as you step beyond the confines of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Minor Seminary, you will encounter daily tests and challenges that will require you to learn new lessons. The path is not an easy one—it is filled with responsibilities and trials. But fear not, for you have Jesus Christ to guide you and light your way. You have the Blessed Virgin Mary, our dear Inang Lupe, accompanying you in every step.

I implore you, dear seminarians, whatever path you may have chosen to take, to draw closer to our Lord. He loves each one of you unconditionally. He seeks nothing from you but grants you a joy that the world cannot give. His blessings are countless and beyond your imagination. Believe in His love, follow His teachings, and walk in His footsteps.These invaluable teachings have been instilled in you by Our Lady of Guadalupe Minor Seminary. If you remain steadfast in them, then the saying “Ang laking Guadalupe, maipagmamalaki” will hold true for you.

In the Gospel, Jesus prays for unity among His followers, that they may be one just as He and the Father are one. Our genuine unity grows when we fix our eyes on Jesus and continually seek to draw closer to Him. As we individually draw nearer to Jesus, we simultaneously grow closer to one another.

Furthermore, Jesus tells us something truly astonishing: the Father loves us just as He loves Jesus. We can barely comprehend the depth of the Father’s love for the Son—complete, eternal, and limitless. Yet Jesus affirms that the same love is extended to us. This truth should resonate within us, for God is love itself, and His love knows no bounds. How can we not be overwhelmed by the knowledge that the Father loves us as He loves His Son?

Consider the love that Jesus has shown us on the Cross. He selflessly gives Himself for our sake. In today’s Gospel, He proclaims that we are the Father’s gift to Him. Do we truly grasp the magnitude of this truth? Do we see ourselves as the Father’s precious gift to Jesus?

As we approach the feast of Pentecost, let us fervently pray for the Holy Spirit to empower us. May we come to know more fully the love that God has for us, and may Jesus’ prayer for us be fulfilled: “that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”

Congratulations to our graduates! May your hearts be filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit as you embark on your future endeavors.May the maternal guidance of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, serve as a constant reminder that you are a cherished offering from the Father to Jesus. May God bestow abundant blessings upon you. Amen. (Photo by Maricar Santos/RCAM-AOC | Photogallery)


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