Monday, 05 October 2020 08:30

Homily delivered by His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples during an online Sunday Mass at the Manila Cathedral on October 4, 2020, Feast of St. Francis of Assisi at 8 am.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we give thanks to God for bringing us together in this celebration of the Eucharist on this twenty seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time which is also the concluding day of the Season of Creation.

And on a personal note, I’m very grateful to be back here in our beautiful cathedral to join you, the Eucharist, eight months after my last Mass here.

If I could give a title to the Readings especially the First Reading and the Gospel, it is this, “What a waste”.  Sayang. Bakit niyo sinasayang ang bigay ng Diyos? What a waste! And it is unbelievable that such a precious gift would be ignored and wasted.

In the First Reading from the prophet Isaiah, there is a vineyard, ubasan and the owner was a great, great vine grower. We can even say that he is a great lover in the way that he took care of the vineyard, meticulously doing everything so that the vineyard will produce good grapes.

Masuwerte itong ubasan na ito. Ang kanyang may-ari hindi pabaya. Talagang nag-aalaga sa kanya. The only thing that the vineyard had to do was to accept the love, the goodness, the caring of the owner. And then, out of this good, good, good things that it receives, it will produce good grapes. But what happened when the owner came, what did he see? - Wild grapes not good grapes.

What is the vineyard? According to the prophet Isaiah, the vineyard is the people Israel – ang bayan ng Diyos, minahal ng Diyos, inalagaan ng Diyos pero sinayang nila ang pagmamahal ng Diyos.

So, instead of producing the fruits of the kingdom of God, they produced sour wild grapes. And we can only say, “what a waste”.  The vineyard, the good things that the owner had given.

His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, Prefect, Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples | Screenshot from Manila Cathedral

This is quite similar but with a certain twist in the message of the Gospel. In the Gospel of St. Matthew, we have the same image, the vineyard but the focus is the tenants to whom the land owner rented out the vineyard. So, the tenants were supposed to take care of the vineyard while the owner was away.

Ito yung mga katiwala na babayaran ka para alagaan mo naman yung ubasan ng may-ari. And when harvest time came, the land owner sent his servants to get his share. What did the tenants do? They hurt the servants. They beat one of them. They killed another and so the owner said, I will send my son. They will respect my son.

Anong ginawa sa anak? Pinatay. Bakit? Sabi nila, “Ah,ito yung magmamay-ari, ito yung magmamana, patayin natin para atin na ang lupa.” Kasakiman. Kasakiman.

They were not content with being tenants having their share. They pretended to be the owner. They wanted to be the owner and they wasted lives - the lives of the servants, the life of the son of the owner. And in the end, they did not get the vineyard. The owner said, “I will give it to somebody else.”

Sayang! What a waste! They could have gotten enough but because of their greed and because of their ambition, they killed people and in the end, they killed their own dream.

That’s why St. Paul in the Second reading tells us, “Have no anxiety. Don’t be disturbed. Focus on God. Focus on your prayer. Focus on what is good, what is honorable. All the things that are part of the kingdom of God and the peace of God will be with you.” Do not waste the peace of God. Do not allow anxiety, your ambition and misguided ideas to lead you to wasting God’s love, wasting your inheritance, wasting God’s peace.

My dear brothers and sisters, during this moment of crisis, this pandemic, when resources are scarce, when some people have even lost jobs, we are being asked to review our lifestyle, our priorities. Baka andami nating sinasayang. Baka andami nating itinatapon especially during this Season of Creation.

Pope Francis always reminds us to stop the culture of throwing away, wasting. Let us appreciate what we have and if what we have is more than what we need, share with others. The gift that we have received should be given as a gift and not be wasted.

Siguro marami sa inyo meron pang mga damit na maaayos pa naman. Pero dahil hindi na moda, ikinahihiya na ayaw ng gamitin, itatapon na. Lahat ng tinatapon natin nagiging basura. Darating ang panahon yung sinayang natin na tinapon natin, parang babalik at makakasama sa atin.

Yung mga tinatapon natin sa mga ilog, sa mga estero, dudumi ang tubig magkakaroon ng mga mikrobyo, magkakaroon ng mga lamok, may dengue, may H-fever balik sa atin.Yung ating nilustay bandang huli, baka paglulustay ng ating buhay.

So, let us heed the call of the readings and of the Season of Creation. Let us be grateful, open our eyes to how God loves us especially through other people, through creation. And every act of love is a gift that must be appreciated, nurtured, valued and not to be wasted. Every brother or sister is a gift. Kahit na yung pinakamakulit sa buhay ninyo, regalo pa rin iyan ng Diyos, huwag sayangin, huwag itatapon.

Yung mga babaeng matutuklasan na buntis sila, hindi problema yan. Hindi mo ipinaglilihi ang problema. Ang ipinaglilihi mo buhay, tao regalo ng Diyos. Hindi yan dapat tinatapon. Yan ay inaalagaan.

Yung mga may edad, may sakit, hindi sila pabigat -Regalo ng Diyos, mahalin, igalang, alagaan.

Sana we will never say again, “what a waste” because we will all learn how to value God’s presence and love. (Archdiocese of Manila – Office of Communications/RCAM-AOC


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