Most Rev. Teodoro Bacani, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Manila; my dear brother priests, deacons, religious men and women; beloved brothers and sisters in Christ; mga minamahal kong kababayan,
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. On this day, thirty-six years ago, Mama Mary gathered us, her beloved Filipino children to EDSA in order to rally and pray together for the sake of truth, justice and peace in our troubled land.
What does it mean to be Pueblo Amante de Maria?
Firstly, pueblo Amante de Maria means we are a people beloved by Mary. EDSA is a testament to the power of our Lady’s maternal love for us. Just as our Lady wrapped her son Jesus in swaddling clothes when he was born. So, did she wrap our people here at EDSA within the mantle of her maternal protection and care. Just as our Lady stood at the foot of the cross of her Son, Jesus, so, did she stand by us at the crucial moment of our history, guiding us and helping us to be steadfast and firm in charity and justice amid a very critical situation. So powerfully did she protect us and guide us that no blood was shed at EDSA during those tense days.
We thanked our Lady’s love and intercession for the miracle that happened here at EDSA thirty-six years ago. We are indeed a people beloved by Mama Mary. Mahal tayo ni Maria. Mahal niya ang ating bansa.
Secondly, Pueblo Amante de Maria means that we are a people who are in love with Mary. We intensely express this filial love and piety for her when our people gathered along EDSA thirty-six years ago. The forces of the world would battle with tanks, bombs, teargas, bullets and ___ as well as with machinery, connections and negotiations. And yet, the simple Filipino people resorted to liturgists, rosaries, novenas, flowers, food, festivity and images of Mary and Jesus. EDSA has literally been Epifanio De los Santos Avenue – that is a venue for the epiphany of saints, the place for Filipino piety and sanctity to shine and appear before the world. At EDSA we chose prayer over power; devotions instead of weapons; love instead of violence; and faith instead of firearms. We are indeed a pueblo Amante de Maria – a people that loves Mama Mary. Mahal natin si Maria. Iniibig ng Pilipinas ang Mahal na Ina.
Now, a third and more challenging meaning of Pueblo Amante de Maria is more than just being loved by Mama Mary and even more than just loving Mama Mary. To be Pueblo Amante de Maria also means that we must love like Mama Mary does. Hindi sapat na tayo ay isang bayang minamahal ni Maria o isang bayang nagmamahal kay Maria. Kailangan din nating maging isang bayan na tintularan si Maria sa pagmamahal. Isang bayang nagmamahal katulad ni Maria.
More and more, we must learn to love according to the example of Mary. This means loving and worshipping God like Mama Mary did, professing our piat to his divine will, administering in his kingdom of truth and justice. His kingdom and just as Mary sang in the Magnificat, her hopes for greater justice and peace in Israel so much our love for God, issue into love for our dear nation.
Let us transcend our selfish preferences and personal conveniences for the sake of the common good. Let us be agents and instruments of truth, charity and righteousness in our beloved Philippines.
We cannot be truly Pueblo Amante de Maria if we are pious and devout in our personal lives, but we also disregard God’s precepts in our political life. We cannot be truly Pueblo Amante de Maria if we destroy our land with disinformation, abuse, violence, corruption and destruction of creation. Maging mapagmahal tayo katulad ni Maria.
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 not just a political event about the reconfiguration of power. 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 show the world that ordinary Filipinos are not passive dependents and blind followers of fake news mongers and greedy power players. Indeed, we show the world that we are actively engaged citizens who have the freedom and dignity to choose our nation’s destiny by coming together in prayer and solidarity.
Let the 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 mystery 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. (RCAM-AOC | Photo by Rian Francis Salamat | Photogallery)