HOMILY TRANSCRIPT | Manila Archbishop Jose F. Cardinal Advincula, Mass and Blessing – Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School, September 13, 2022, 9 a.m.  

Rev. Fr. Mark Munda, our school director, dear brother priests, school administrators, teachers, staff, alumni and students, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

It is but fitting to culminate the blessing of our school with the celebration of the Eucharist. We have asked for God’s blessings upon our school. And he has already blessed the work of our hands. This structure is an appropriate reminder for us on how God has blessed our work. And as we celebrate the Eucharist, we offer our thanksgiving not only for guiding the work of our hands but also for the many blessings he has bestowed on us.

We are all here to learn. When we talk about school, the first thing that we can think of is that it is a learning institution. It is where teachers teach and where students learn. But what makes our school special is that it is a Catholic School? It is catholic, not because Fr. Mark and Fr. Paul are the school directors. It is catholic because it has a mission. And you, my dear students are part of that mission.

What is its mission? To bring Jesus, to share Jesus and to live like Jesus, nothing more, nothing less. Everything that you will learn inside the classroom, be it math, science or even physical education, will be rooted in this mission. Because everything that is there to learn and to know will only point us back to our mission as a Catholic institution. We are a catholic institution not because it is run by priests. We are catholic because we have a common mission of bringing Jesus wherever we may go.

But let us also be reminded that we cannot give what we do not have. We may easily think that to be able to share Jesus and to bring Jesus is to make sure that we excel in our Christian Formation classes. We may have the highest grades in this subject but that is not the ultimate standard that our mission will be a success. It is not enough that we know Jesus with our heads but more importantly can we recognize Jesus with our hearts? That will be our ultimate test. We can easily pass our exams with the way we memorize our lessons. But our hearts do not memorize the same way our minds do. When we memorize with our minds, we make sure that we instill the correct data in our minds, correct dates, correct words, correct information. But to memorize with our hearts would mean to be able to think like Jesus, to feel like Jesus and to understand like Jesus. And when we have memorized with our hearts, then our gifts would naturally flow.

This is what St. Paul reminds us in our first reading. All of us are unique. All of us have differences. But even if we differ in many ways, we still have that common calling, our common mission, to be closer to Jesus, to be with Jesus. But most of the time, these differences hinder us from acknowledging that common mission. We see each other as competitors. We see each other as someone that we need to beat in this race. And in so doing, we allow others to lag behind. We enjoy the lead as if we are in a race.

But that is not the role of Jesus for us. He does not look at us according to our own gifts. He does not favor those whom may have taken the lead. Because at the end of the day, it is the desire of Jesus that all of us will be in his fold.

This was the message of Jesus in our gospel. It would seem that all hopes are gone with the situation of the woman in our gospel. She has lost everything dear to her, she has lost everything important for her. She has lost her husband and now his only son. It would seem total defeat. But Jesus comes to her and assures her that that is not what God would want for her. Para sa Diyos, hindi pwedeng may naiiwan, hindi pwedeng may napag-iiwanan. When Jesus brought her son back to life, it is not simply an act of bringing back to life. But also restoring the hope that the woman may have lost.

As we continue our journey of learning, hopefully we will not limit ourselves with who has the highest grade or who has achieved the highest honor. Yes, it may be an affirmation of our talents, but let us also harness the memory of our hearts. And in so doing, we may also have the mind and heart of Jesus. If we have been gifted with better intellect than others. Then it should not be our desire to be ahead of others but how we can journey together as one community of God.

We are a catholic institution not simply because of our name but mainly because of our mission. We may be uniquely different from one another but we still carry the same mission. That same mission is not there to make us ahead of others but for us to become bringers of hope for those who seem may have lost it. (Photo File by RCAM-AOC)


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