HOMILY TRANSCRIPT | Manila Archbishop Jose F. Cardinal Advincula, New Year’s Eve Mass, Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Manila Cathedral, December 31, 2021, 8 p.m.

Rev. Fr. Reginald Malicdem, our cathedral rector, dear brother priests and deacons, dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

We are still in the octave for the period within the eight days after the nativity of our Lord. And we continue to proclaim and to us is born a child, a savior Jesus Christ, our Lord. And tonight as we crossover towards the new calendar year, we also celebrate the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, as well as the World Day of Peace.

We continue to be in solidarity with those who continue to suffer from the pandemic, and those severely affected by typhoon Odette as well as the victims of violence and armed conflicts in Myanmar and all over the world. Tonight, we beg the Lord for the grace of peace.

The Hebrew word for peace is “Shalom.” The word “Shalom” does not only mean “tranquility of absence of conflict.” Rather, it refers to the “totality of wellness, the fullness of life’s blessing.” Ang tunay na kapayapaan ay ang ganap na kabutihan at kaunlaran ng buong tao at ng lahat ng tao.

Jesus Christ’s light for the world and prince of peace offers us this true peace that the world cannot give. At the same time, he also invites us to be instruments of such peace. Indeed, in his message for this year’s World Day of Prayer for Peace, Pope Francis exhorts all of us to be architects and artisans of peace. We can look to Mary, Mother of God as our model – peacebuilder.

The gospel tonight indicates for us three spiritual virtues that we can learn from her: welcoming, caring and praying.

The first virtue is welcoming. Mary welcomed the shepherds into the stable where her new born son lies in a manger. How courageous of her to allow strangers into her shelter when she and her child were most vulnerable. She received the strangers who have strange faces and strange ways who came bearing strange ____ about angelic news and heavenly songs. Pero kahit na iba sila at kahit kakaiba ang balitang dala dala nila, tinanggap at pinakinggan sila ni Maria at sinabi pa ng ebanghelyo ngayong gabi, ang lahat ng narinig at nasaksihan ni Maria mula sa kanila ay iningat ingatan niya sa kanyang puso. Hindi niya binale wala ang mga balita at kuwento nila kundi pinahalagahan niyang mabuti. The mother of God kept all those things in her heart.

Madalas, kapag may taong iba sa atin, natutukso tayo na iwasan na lang sila. Kapag iba ang itsura, amoy, ugali, pananalita, pananaw o pinaggalingan nila, lumalayo tayo kasi ayaw natin ng gulo. Ngunit walang tunay na kapayapaan kung umiiwas tayo lagi sa isa’t isa. Ang totoong pagkakasunduan ay nagmumula sa pakikipagtagpuan sa pagtanggap at pakikinig sa isa’t isa.

Nang humiga ang sanggol na Diyos sa mabahong sabsaban, para na rin niyang sinasabi sa atin, sa buong sangkatauhan: sangkatauhan, kahit pa anong baho mo, kahit pa anong dumi mo, kahit pa anong pagkukulang mo, papasukin ko ang mundo mo. Kahit naiiba ka, tinatanggap kita at mahal kita. By welcoming heart, Christ reconciled the world to God and inaugurated peace in the world. Kaya naman, kay gandang pagmasdan ang mga taong tumatanggap at nakikinig sa kapwa. Kay gandang makita ang mga magulang na inuunawa ang mga karanasan at saloobin ng mga anak nila. At ang mga anak na nakikinig sa mga magulang nila. Kay gandang makita ang mga simbahang bukas ang mga pinto para sa lahat. Kay gandang makita ang mga tahanang nagpasilong sa mga nasalanta ng bagyo o nagpatuloy sa mga frontliners at mga naglalakbay. Kay gandang makita ang mga lider na nakikinig sa taong bayan at pinahahalagahan ang dangal ng bawat isa. All of these are acts of welcoming, signs of peace for this world.

The second virtue we can learn from the Blessed Mother is caring. The shepherds found the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes just as the angels told them. Those swaddling clothes signified how Mary showered the Christ-child with her motherly love and care. Yes, the son of God also needed to be pacified and comforted by the serene face, warm embrace and tendered touch of the Blessed Virgin.

By being born of a woman, by taking on the frail frame of an infant, the prince of peace is asking humanity to care especially for the most vulnerable ones. Naghahari ang kapayapaan sa pagdadamayan, pagmamalasakit, paglilingkod at pagkalinga lalo na sa mga dukhang nangangailangan.

Again and again, Pope Francis enjoins us towards a revolution of tenderness and a culture of care. We cannot build peace simply by debates and discussions about concepts, structures and projects. True peace is not insured by armed personnel, advanced weapons, CCTV cameras and other security measures. Walang tunay na kapayapaan kung may ilan sa atin na naisasantabi, napapabayaan o napag-iiwanan. Let us invite the spirit of charity. Let us sincerely care for each other.

Salamat sa mga taong nagpapaabot ng tulong at pagdamay sa mga nasalanta ng bagyo at mga nagkasakit. Salamat sa mga sama samang kumikilos upang maihatid sa kanila ang agarang saklolo at ayuda. Salamat sa mga doctor, mga nurse at mga manggagawa sa mga ospital na patuloy na naghahandog ng sarili para sa ating kalusugan. Salamat sa mga lider na nagsasakripisyo para sa ikabubuti ng lahat. Salamat sa mga simpleng manggagawa na tahimik na kumakayod at nagpapagod para sa ikauunlad ng bayan at ng kanilang mga pamilya. Salamat sa mga pamilya na nagmamahalan, nagtutulungan at nag-uunawaan. Thanks be to God for people who help build a culture of care. They are signs of peace for this world.

The third virtue we can learn from the Blessed Mother is praying. Mary named her son Jesus. This was not only a sign of her obedience to the angel’s giving that her son be given the name, Jesus. This was also her act of prayer for Israel and for all humankind. The name Jesus, “Yeshua” in Hebrew, and “Aramaic” is usually translated as a declarative sentence – “God saves.” But it can also be translated as a prayer, “Lord Help,” “God save us” (“Panginoon saklolo po” o “Diyos tulungan ninyo po kami”). Yes, the name that the Blessed Mother gave to our Prince of Peace is a prayer and ardently for divine assistance to intervene to our world.

Prayer is the most fundamental act of peace building. Because true peace in heaven is heaven’s gift to earth. Peace can only come from God. it cannot be produced by mere human achievement or effort. Kahit anong pagpupunyagi natin, kapag wala ang Diyos sa mga pagsisikap natin para sa kapayapaan at kaunlaran, hahantong lamang iyun sa bulaang kaginhawaan at kawalang katarungan, sa panandaliang katiwasayan para sa iilang tao lamang. Kailangan natin ang Diyos upang magkaroon ng tunay na kapayapaan at kabutihan para sa lahat. We need God to offer us the peace that this world cannot give. How lovely are those knees that fall, those hearts that open and those hands that joined in prayer. They are seeds of peace for this world.

Tonight, we ask our Blessed Mother to envelope our frail me hands within her own motherly hands so that she may for us and with us, begging God for peace in our hearts, in our communities, in our country and all over the world.

Glory to God in the highest and peace to people of goodwill. Jesus, the prince of peace is God’s Christmas gift for us. Let the spirit of welcoming, caring and praying be our resolution for this new year.

In this year 2022, may the Lord bless you and keep you and give you peace. Amen. (RCAM-AOC | Photo by Rian Francis Salamat/RCAM-AOC | Photo Gallery)

 

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