HOMILY TRANSCRIPT | Manila Archbishop Jose F. Cardinal Advincula, University of Santo Tomas Double Jubilee Retreat, UST Quadricentennial Pavilion, March 7, 2024

Very Reverend Father Richard Ang, OP, Rector Magnificus of the University of Santo Tomas; our dear Dominican friars; brothers priests concelebrating in this Mass; deacons; persons in consecrated life; seminarians; my beloved brothers and sisters of the UST community:

It gives me great joy to celebrate this Mass with youin honor of St. Thomas Aquinas.  Dugong Tomasino ang nanalaytay sa akin.  I was formed by the esteemed Dominican Fathers at the UST Central Seminary to a deep love for Christ and his Church.  I am forever grateful to the Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome which equipped me for my ministry.

We thank the Lord for the life, work, and witness of this holy man who, through his rigorous faithseeking understanding, truly served as salt of the earth and light of the world. We call to mind the Angelic Doctor’s immense contribution to philosophy and theology that has been a solid pillar of thought from medieval times until today. Indeed, his were lips that murmured profound wisdom, but considered all as loss and rubbish in the light of the surpassing knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As we gather around the table of the Lord, we conclude our 3-day double jubilee retreat.  The truth is, this is not a conclusion but a beginning.  The end of every retreat is actually the start of the mission to live out and give flesh to the learnings and realizations you had these past days.  That is why it is very fitting that we will also have the Mandatum Docendi, the Renewal of theMandatum of our religious educators and the renewal of our commitment as Thomasians in this Mass.  Like the disciples whom Jesus called to himself, these days of the retreat, you have been sitting at the feet of the master to know him, to listen to him, to learn from him, and to hear the beatings of his heart.  You are ready to be sent to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, as Jesus says in the Gospel.  And so, the success of this retreat is not to be measured by the profundity of the talks, the organization of the activities and events, or by the feelings evoked in us the past three days.  Ang tagumpay ng ating retreat ay masusukat kapag ang ating komunidad ay naging mas malasa ng lasa ni Kristo dahil naging asin tayo ng mundo at kung ang ating lipunan ay naging mas maliwanag dahil kay Kristo dahil tayo naging liwanag ng sanlibutan.  When that happens, we can proudly say that we have not wasted our time here, and that our retreat is truly successful and fruitful.

My dear brothers and sisters, at the conclusion of your retreat and the beginning of your mission, I wish to echo the invitation of Pope Francis, “Go to Thomas.” Let us go to Thomas because, as we prayed in the Collect of this Mass, by his teachings, we will grow in wisdom, and by imitating his faith, we will become holy.  Let us go to Thomas because, in him, we learn that wisdom and faith go together.A wise person has faith in God because true wisdom comes only from God.  This is affirmed by our first reading today.  God is the source of wisdom.  He is the guide of wisdom and the director of the wise.  St. Paul, in our second reading, expresses the same sentiments.  He writes, “The justice I possess is that which comes through faith in Christ.  It has its origin in God and is based on faith.”

Mga minamahal na kapatid, masasabi lang natin na ang isang tao ay marunong kung siya ay may pananampalataya sa Diyos dahil ang karunungan ay nanggagaling lamang sa Diyos.  Ang taong maraming alam, pero hindi naman naniniwala sa Diyos, ay hindi talaga marunong.  Maaari nating sa bihing, “matalino siya,” o “marami siyang kaalaman,” o “marunong at magaling siya,” pero hinding-hindi natin puwedeng sabihin na siya ay marunong.  Ang taong matalino, hanggang sa isip lang.  Ang taong marunong, may isip at may puso.  Ang taong matalino, ang nakikita ay ang mga katotohanan ng mundong ito.  Ang taong may karunungan, ang pananaw lumalampas sa mundong ito.  May mga taong matatalino, maraming alam, magagaling, pero ginagamit naman ang katalinuhan, kaalaman, at galing para manlamang ng kapwa, para sa pansariling kapakanan, at, minsan pa nga, para maghasik ng kasamaan.  Pero ang taong marunong, ginagamit ang kanyang karunungan para sa kabutihan ng kapwa, para mamayani ang katarungan sa lipunan, para sa pagmamalasakit at pagmamahal, at para sa ikadarakila ng Diyos.

Go to Thomas and be truly wise.That is why, we pray that in UST, as a Catholic institution, every member of our community,from the administration to the faculty members, personnel, students, alumni, and other affiliates, is a person of wisdom and faith.  Sana ang bawat miyembro ng UST community ay hindi lang matalino at magaling, kundi marunong dahil may pananampalataya sa Diyos.  Even if you are not teaching religious education or theology, even if you are teaching the sciences or humanities, or even if your subject matter is secular in nature, teach with wisdom and faith in God.  Infuse God in your lessons.  Show that even in science, mathematics, or in the humanities, there is God.  Ang magaling na teacher, hindi lang magaling magturo.  Ang magaling na teacher, ipinapakita na mayroon silang pananampalataya sa Diyos.

At kahit na ‘yung mga hindi nagtuturo, ‘yung mga nasa opisina, nasa library, ang ating mga maintenance and security personnel, gawin ninyo ang inyong tungkulin nang may karunungan at pananampalataya.  At ito ay maipapakita ninyo sa inyong kabutihan, concern, at pag-unawa at pagpapasensya sa inyong kapwa, lalo na sa mga pinaka-nakakaiinis, pinakamakulit, at pasaway na estudyante.

Let us not forget that the main objective of Catholic education is to produce students who are wise and have faith in God.  Hindi lamang mga estudyanteng matatalino, magagaling, maraming alam, at maraming nagagawa.  Ang gusto natin ay mga estudyante ng marurunong dahil naniniwala sila sa Diyos, marurunong at nagmamalasakit sa kapwa, marurunong kaya ginagawa lagi ang matapat, matuwid, at mabuti, marurunong kaya nagiging asin ng mundo at liwanag ng sanlibutan.   As the great Dominican Fr. Enrico Gonzales reminded us that we form Thomasian students not only to launch a career and be successful in their professions, we pray to the God of all nation “to keep us in beauty, in truth, in virtue impassioned embrace.”

Nakakalungkot kung mayroon tayong magagaling na estudyante at alumni pero wala naming kinikilalang Diyos.  At mas nakakalungkot kung tayo na may tungkulin na turuan, gabayan, at hubugin sila ay wala ding kinikilalang Diyos.  Kung walang Diyos sa atingbuhay, wala ding karunungan.  At kung walang karunungan, ano ang itinuturo natin sa kanila?

My dear brothers and sisters in the UST community, remember that St. Thomas is a saint, not because he was intelligent, not because he knew, taught, and wrote many things about God and the faith.  He is a saint because he was holy and had profound faith and deep love for God.  And that is the source of his wisdom.

And so, as we leave this place, as we go out of the doors of this pavilion, as we go back to the realities of our daily lives, let St. Thomas accompany us.  Go to Thomas and, like him, go and be persons of wisdom and faith in God.  Mga Tomasino tayo – mahusay at may puso.

St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us. (Photo by Mio Angelo Hermoso/RCAM- AOC | Photogallery)

 

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