HOMILY TRANSCRIPT | Manila Archbishop Jose F. Cardinal Advincula, Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Quezon City, July 16, 2022

Very Reverend Father Danilo Lim, OCD, Provincial Superior of the Order of Discalced Carmelites – Philippine Province of St. Teresa of Jesus; Reverend Father Willowyn Andaya, Rector and Parish Priest of this Minor Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, here in Quezon City; priests, brothers, sisters, and lay members of the Carmelite Family; other priests concelebrating in this Mass; men and women in consecrated life; devotees of Our Lady of Mount Carmel; brothers and sisters in Christ:

We thank God for gathering us this evening to celebrate this Holy Mass in honor of our Blessed Virgin Mary in her title, Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  On this special day of your fiesta, I greet all of you, parishioners of this parish and devotees of Our Lady, and most especially the members of the Carmelite Family, maligayang kapistahan sa inyong lahat!

The Carmelites are quite unique because while most of the religious orders and congregations are named after their founders, like the Franciscans, Dominicans, Vincentians, etc., the Carmelites are called based on their place of origin, the holy mountain of Carmel.  This mountain plays an essential role in every Carmelite’s life, spirituality, and mission.  Mary is called the mother and queen of Carmel.  That is why the hermits who lived there were first called “Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.”  And in the life of every Carmelite, there is always a longing, through the help of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, to ascend to the holy mountain, which, according to our Collect at the beginning of the Mass, is no other than Christ.

The devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel is also closely associated with wearing the Brown Scapular.  On this day, 771 years ago, the Brown Scapular was presented by Our Lady to St. Simon Stock, who was then the Father General of the Order of Carmelites.  As Mary handed the scapular to him, she made the following promise: “Receive, my beloved son, this habit of your Order: this shall be to you and to all Carmelites a privilege, that whosoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire.  It shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger, and a pledge of peace.

My dear brothers and sisters, more than just an expression of devotion, wearing the Brown Scapular is a sign of salvation.  It is a reminder of God’s eternal will to save us.  In our second reading today, St. Paul talks about the fulfillment of this salvific plan of God when he sent his Son, born of a woman, to deliver from the law those who were subjected to it and to make us adopted children of God.  That is what salvation is all about.  We are no longer slaves.  We are no longer enslaved by sin and death.  We are saved.  In Jesus, we are made children of God.

Ito ang kahulugan ng kaligtasan na ipinagkaloob sa atin ng Diyos sa pamamagitan ni Hesus.  Mula sa pagka-alipin, iniligtas tayo at itinanghal bilang mga anak ng Diyos.  Kaya huwag na tayong magpaka-alipin pa sa kasamaan, kadiliman, at kasalanan.  Iniligtas na tayo ng Diyos kaya mabuhay tayo bilang marangal, matuwid, mabuti, at banal na mga anak ng Diyos.

According to Our Lady, the Brown Scapular is also a protection from danger.  But this does not mean that the scapular is a magical charm.  It is protection from danger because the scapular should help us to trust in God, who is our protection.  Our first reading today brings us to the holy mountain of Carmel, where Elijah prays to God for rain.  Elijah orders his servant to look out to the sea.  Six times his servant reports to him that there is nothing.  Elijah continues to pray until his servant tells him of a small cloud on the horizon.  Elijah then knew that the drought was over and the rains were coming.  Through the fervent prayer of Elijah, God protected his people from famine.

My dear friends, only God is our protection.  Diyos lamang ang makapag-iingat sa atin.  Katulad ni propeta Elias, nananalangin tayo Diyos para ingatan niya tayo at ang mga mahal natin sa buhay.  Pero madalas inaasa natin sa ating sarili o sa ibang tao ang pag-iingat sa kanila.  We oftentimes act as though we are the protectors and saviors, when, in fact, we ourselves need to be protected and saved.  Sa ating pagpapanggap na tagapag-ingat ng ating kapwa, baka lalo pa silang nalalagay sa panganib at kapahamakan.  Let us allow God to be our protector for only He could protect us in ways that we need to be protected.

Finally, the Brown Scapular is a pledge of peace.  And peace could only be attained in Jesus, the prince of peace.  Our Gospel today brings us to another mountain, Calvary, where Jesus is crucified, and Mary and the beloved disciple are standing beneath the cross.  Amid the violence, injustice, brutality, and scandal of the cross, this scene exudes an aura of peace.  By entrusting Mary and the beloved disciple to each other, Jesus forms a community gathered beneath his cross.  And a community gathered in Jesus will always be in peace.

We all want peace.  We all pray for peace for ourselves, our families, our society, and the world.  But there could be no peace without Jesus.  Kung nais natin ng kapayapaan, ilagay natin si Hesus sa gitna ng ating buhay, ng ating pamilya, ng ating bansa, at ng buong mundo.  Kung nasaan si Hesus, may katiyakan ng kapayapaan.

My dear brothers and sisters, as devotees of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, let us wear the scapular to remind us that God desires our salvation, that God is our protector, and that Jesus is our peace.  Let us wear the Brown Scapular, not just as an external sign of devotion, but as a promise of our commitment to work for the salvation of others, to ensure their protection, especially of the weak, the poor, and the neglected in society, and to strive for true and lasting peace.  Let this be the “habit” that we do not only wear but become part of our lives.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.  Amen. (Photos from Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Facebook Page)



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