HOMILY TRANSCRIPT | Manila Archbishop Jose F. Cardinal Advincula, Mass, Serviam Catholic Community, June 7, 2022, 6 p.m.

My dear brother priests, dearly beloved in Christ:

We may a have lot of common with the widow in our first reading. We may not have undergone any dry spell or drought. But the pandemic also has brought us a lot of uncertainties. The widow of Zarephath was unsure of her future. She was unsure of when will the rains return to water their dried-up land. She was unsure of how long their provisions would last. She was unsure if she would still help the prophet Elijah despite their situation. And for the past two years, that has also been our situation. We do not know when this pandemic will end. We do not know the full potency of the virus. We do not know when will the society fully recover. Little by little we may be gaining ground once again but the future is still uncertain with the unlimited capability of evolution for the virus.

Yet in God’s mysterious ways, we are still able to gather once again as a community. Some of us may still feel uneasy because of the dangers posed to us by the Covid-19. But somehow, we have managed to interact once again. We can meet in person once again. This is also the kind of hope that Elijah brought to the home of the widow and her son. Their future may be uncertain because of the drought. Their future may be bleak because of the handful of flour in her jar and the little oil in her jug. But God’s message of hope brought by Elijah have changed all those uncertainties.

And this is the first reason for our celebration. All of us have been caught unguarded by the pandemic. We may have been so sure of the ins and outs of our lives. We may have handled our daily routine very well. But the pandemic has taught us that the future is not in our hands. And as we celebrate our foundation anniversary, hopefully, we can also see the many Elijah’s that we have encountered in this drought of the Covid 19 pandemic. Some people may have told us that we have given them hope throughout this difficult situation. But let us also acknowledge the people who have given us hope. The medical personnel in different hospitals, the doctors and nurses who have been our frontliners in this medical battle. The different experts who continually try to improve the medicines and vaccines that we have been using. And many other people who have brought God’s message of hope for us. We do not only gather as a community to celebrate our foundation anniversary, but we also thank God for these bringers of hope for all of us.

Secondly, the pandemic may have forced us to stay in our homes. It may have been involuntary for us to be locked up in our houses. And for sure, a lot of us also has asked: “how can we live out our Christian life being locked up in our homes?” We may have extended our help in one way or another. We may have been spiritually nourished through the online masses that we have followed. But this pandemic has also taught us one important aspect of our Christian life, that the faith we profess is a faith in action. And that is what Jesus is reminding us in our gospel. We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. These entities are not things for themselves. They are meant to be used. They are meant to be of service. They are meant to be for others.

We may have been constrained with the limited action that we can do brought about by the pandemic. But if we have found ourselves getting comfortable in our situation, if we find ourselves quietly enjoying the security that we have, then it is but time for us be shaken once again. And this is the second thing that we celebrate for this day, we celebrate the opportunity to be physically active again. The pandemic may have divided us because of the physical distancing that we need to ensure. But our gathering for this day is a proof that our faith cannot be contained in the comfort of our rooms or of our houses. Salt is meant to be seasoned. Light is meant to be spread. And our faith is meant to be lived not only in the comfort of our homes but also in the daily engagements that face.

As we thank the Lord for the gift of our community, we also thank him for the gift of another opportunity. We thank God for the opportunity to gather once again. We thank God for the opportunity to be bringers and receivers of hope. We thank God for the opportunity to live out our Christian life once again not with those that we have been accustomed to, but with a new perspective, with a new vigor and with a new vision brought about by the lessons that we have learned throughout this pandemic. (File Photo of RCAM-AOC)


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