HOMILY TRANSCRIPT | Manila Archbishop Jose F. Cardinal Advincula, Ordination to the Diaconate and the Priesthood, Santuario del Santo Cristo, San Juan City, April 17, 2024

Reverend Monsignori and Fathers; reverend deacons; men and women in consecrated life; seminarians; to our ordinandi, Reverend Richard and Brother Andrew; to their families and guests; my dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

In the joy of the Risen Lord, we are gathered this morning as a community of faith to celebrate this Eucharist and thank God for the gift of a new priest and a new deacon to the Church.

Reverend Richard and Brother Andrew, you are the gifts we thank God for today.You are God’s gifts to the Church.You are God’s gifts to the Dominican Order.You are the fulfillment of God’s promise to send shepherds to pasture his flock.You are the answer to our prayers to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers to his vineyard.You are the assurance that God continues to take care of his people.And so, we thank God for you.We thank God that he called you.We thank God that you responded to his call.And now we thank God for bringing you to this moment of your ordination.

But what we receive as a gift, we should also give as a gift.Gifts are not meant to be kept.Gifts are meant to be shared.The moment gifts are kept, they cease to be gifts.For gifts to continue to be gifts, they need to be shared.In the same manner, your being gifts also means that you have to be shared, to be given, and to be sent.

Reverend Richard and Brother Andrew, you are chosen by God so that he may send you to mission.  Take note that ministry and missionary work do not begin with the sending; it begins with God’s calling.  That is why, just before this homily, you were presented before the community.Your names were called one by one.And you answered, “Present.”

Your response did not only signify that you are the one called and that you are physically present.That was not just a roll call.Your answer shows your readiness to serve.  The call of God will come every day in your life as an ordained minister in various ways.  It will come through your superiors, through the people you serve, through young people, through people in need, through your brothers in the community, and even through your enemies and people you dislike.  When you hear God’s call through them, may you still answer, “present.”  May your response to God’s call remain as eager and as passionate as you responded today.

Reverend Richard and Brother Andrew, being a priest and a deacon are not just about tasks, functions, and responsibilities.  They are not just about what you are expected to do.  Ordained ministry is about loving Jesus.  And so, when an ordained minister loses the zeal for the ministry and mission, there is a lack of love for Jesus.  But if there is love for Jesus, we can do everything and give everything for the mission given to us.

Jesus is our perfect model of this.  In our second reading, we heard how Jesus learned obedience from what he suffered.  He endured everything.  He gave up his whole life.  All because of his love and obedience to his Father.

Reverend Richard and Brother Andrew, as Dominicans, your particular charism in the Church is to preach the Word of God, to proclaim the Good News of Jesus, and to teach the Catholic faith.  In a world where many people are troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd, let the flock hear your voices as their shepherds.  In a world with so many competing voices, let your voice that speaks truth, justice, peace, mercy, compassion, and love stand out.  Do not be afraid to speak, especially in the face of oppression, injustice, violence, and evil.  There is always a temptation to shut our mouths so as not to be involved.  There will be times when you feel safer to keep quiet.  But do not forget that when the shepherd is silent, the flock will be in danger of getting lost.  When the sheep do not hear the voice of their shepherd, they may easily follow false shepherds who will only do them harm.  A silent shepherd when he is expected to speak is a form of negligence.  When moments come that you hesitate to speak, remember the assurance of God to Jeremiah, as we heard in our first reading today.  “To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak.  Have no fear of them, because I am with you to deliver you . . . See, I place my words in your mouth!”

Here, we realize the reason why we should not be afraid.  We are not speaking our own words but God’s.  And we should only and always speak God’s word.  The flock will recognize our voices as their shepherds only if we speak the words of Godto them.

My dear brothers and sisters, as we witness today the ordination of our brothers, Reverend Richard and Brother Andrew, let us pray for them that they may truly be God’s ministers who are and will remain to be gifts to us and to all.Let us pray that, like St. Dominic, their hearts may always remain aflame for the love of God and service of the Church.  And let us entrust them to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, so that like Mary, they may give birth to Jesus through the credibility of their words and the integrity of their lives.  Amen.

(Photo by Maricar Santos/RCAM-AOC | Photogallery)


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