HOMILY TRANSCRIPT | Manila Archbishop Jose F. Cardinal Advincula, PCNE Thanksgiving Mass, February 2, 2024

Rev. Fr. Jason Laguerta, Director of the Office for New Evangelization; dear brother priests; religious sisters and brothers; dear collaborators of PCNE; brothers and sisters in Christ:

Today’s readings present a striking contrast: on one hand, the division and rebellion of Solomon’s kingdom, a consequence of turning away from God; on the other, the miraculous healing of a deaf and mute man who was brought to Jesus. But what connects these seemingly contrasting passages? It is the disposition of the heart, the essential element that propels us towards God or draws us away from the Lord.

In the First Reading, Jeroboam’s rebellion shows the disposition of disconnection. He allowed pride and ambition to cloud his judgment, leading him to reject God’s chosen king.  This likewise led to the fragmentation of the nation. Looking back on the life of Solomon, his idolatrous worship and his divided heart resulted to a divided kingdom- Israel in the north and Judah in the south. This estrangement, this turning away from God, is the root of all division and suffering.

The Gospel offers hope. Jesus, filled with compassion, reaches out to the deaf and mute man. He takes him aside, away from the noise and distraction, creating a space for intimacy. Then, with a touch and a word, “Ephphatha,” meaning “Be opened,” Jesus heals him. This healing is not just physical, but also spiritual. It signifies the opening of the ears to hear God’s word and the tongue to proclaim his praise.

This miracle invites us to reflect on our own dispositions. Are our hearts open to God’s voice, or are they closed by pride, fear, or distractions? Do we listen to the cries of those around us, or are we deaf to their needs?

The disposition that brings us to Christ is one of humility, openness, and compassion. It is a willingness to be touched by his grace and transformed by his love. It is about creating space for him in our lives, removing the noise and distractions that hinder our connection.

If we examine our lives we could also ask these questions to ourselves: What are the “Jeroboams” in my life, the things that lead me away from God?What are the “deaf and mute” places within me, the areas where I need healing and opening?

God longs to heal us, to open our ears and our hearts. Let us approach him with humility, openness, and compassion, and allow him to transform us into instruments of his love and peace. May the “Ephphatha” of Jesus resonate within us, opening us to a deeper relationship with him and with each other.

We thank the Lord for gathering us today for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist as we look back with gratitude for the success of the Tenth Philippine Conference on New Evangelization. Ang PCNE X ay bunga ng pagkakaisa ng pagkilos, tinig, at puso ng maraming tao.

Maraming salamat kay Fr. Jason Laguerta at sa kanyang team na nasa likod ng tagumpay ng bawat PCNE. Lahat ng inyong pagod, sleepless nights, headaches, at marahil mga kabiguan at pagluharin ay nagbunga.

Maraming salamat sa lahat ng mga speakers and facilitators, sa working at technical committees, sa University of Santo Tomas, the home of PCNE, sa Jesuit Communications mga performers and production staff.

Sana ang pagtutulong-tulong ng mga kumilos sa PCNE ay naging karanasan ng pagsalya at pagtawid kapag sumasalya ang mga deboto sa Traslacion, lalo silang nagdidikit-dikit, at lalo silang nadidikit kay Hesus. Ang pagsalya ay kilos ng pagkakaisa, pagdadamayan, pagbubukluran. Si Hesus ang tumitipon sa atin upang makausad sa Traslacion, at makasulong sa buhay.

Hindi pwedeng pareho parin tayo pagkatapos ng tatlong pinagpalang araw ng PCNE. Inaanyayahan tayo ni Hesus, mag-Traslacion tayo. Tumawid tayo sa ibayo. Tumawid tayo kasama ni Hesus patungo sa kapwa. Ang Mahal na Poong Hesus Nazareno mismo ang tumatawag sa atin para tumawid at magbago. Tinatawag niya tayo upang tawirin ang mga hidwaan natin, at lagpasan ang pagkakanya-kanya natin, ang ganid natin, ang pagkamakasarili natin. Tumawid patungo sa kabanalan at kaganapan ng buhay.

Salamat sa Diyos! Hanggang sa mga susunod pang PCNE.

Tayo nang magbukas, sumalya at tawid. (Photo by Mio Angelo Hermoso/RCAM-AOC | Photogallery)



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