Get Adobe Flash player
ICTHUS Song

GOD’S PRIESTS: TAOIR NA PANANISIA

Homily of Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas during the Chrism Mass held at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Dagupan City, 29 March 2018.

Today around this altar, we gather again to celebrate the memory of our priesthood. We bring together yesterday, today and tomorrow in one single action—the Chrism Mass. This Chrism Mass is memory. This Chrism Mass is Presence. This Chrism Mass is our hope for even greater things than we have right now.

We gather as a ninety year old Church in Lingayen Dagupan looking forward to the year 2028, our one hundredth anniversary as a particle of that one holy Catholic and apostolic Church. We know that Bishop Cesar Maria Guerrero is not just a personality in our Church history book as our first bishop. His memory endures time.

This year 2018, the first year in our decade of communio leading to our centennial, our hearts are invited to ponder over the mystery of our priesthood as taoir; a legacy that is forever; an inheritance that only God can give and no one else.  We are the legacy of God. We are the memory of God. We are taoir.

We are the legacy of the Lord. You my brother priests are the enduring signs of God’s faithfulness to His people “I will be with you always”. Today, in the presence of our flock, we declare “The Lord is my inheritance, I will not be forsaken”.

We want to be remembered and remembered for a long time. To be ignored and forgotten gives us an unpleasant feeling of uselessness. Priests and bishops are usually given grand funerals in gleaming coffins surrounded by large wreaths, but after a few years, we eventually become just a part of the collective past and our bones are exhumed and reburied and our memories fade away steadily. We are not even a footnote in a research paper. Occasionally they remember us when they print baptismal certificates.

Is that all about our priesthood? To work hard? To preach well? To beautify churches and build grand parish halls? To send scholars to school? To build hospitals? To build schools and then just fade away eaten up by the worms of amnesia? No children to carry our names? No endowment funds to be named after us? Is that all about us?

No. We are the memory of God. We are the legacy of God. We are the inheritance of God for His people. The memory of governors and mayors is a fragile gift of this world. Political memory can be easily deleted and erased. Our names as priests are not just written in the memory of history books. God is a God of the living and our memories are eternally safe in the heart of the Lord! We are the memory of God and our life is the fulfillment of His promise to His people “I will be with you unto the end of the ages”.

The death of God’s faithful priests is not only remembered but is precious in His sight. How beautiful is the life of a priest who labors quietly without broadcast or publicity, without recognition or awards. How beautiful is the hidden and quiet labor of a priest known only to God and kept secret from society!

The priest is the legacy of the Lord. The priest is God’s enduring inheritance.

But the question still needs to be answered? What will be your legacy when you leave? If they still remember us, how will the people talk about us? What will they say about us? What is the taoir we will leave behind? May they remember us when they remember the Lord! May they remember the Lord when they remember us!

What do you stand for, priest of God? Who are you? You are the battle frontiers of God. Your action is the action of God and the action of the Church always. You are a gift. The more you give yourself the more you become who you really are. The higher you go, the lower you must stoop. Everything you do is touched with glory because you are Christ, not only at the altar but even at games, at recreation, at rest or in vacation. You are Christs!

You, brother priests, are God’s gift to His people. When they see us, do they really thank the Lord? Does our giftedness lead our parishioners to say “Salamat sa Diyos”? Are they happy to see us? Are they inspired to be with us? All of them? All of us? Always?

Let our giftedness lead our people to gratitude. When they remember us, may they give thanks!

Growth is easier when gratitude is abundant. When the people of God are grateful, they also become holier, more generous and more courageous.  A heart that always complains will not grow. Our duty as priests is remind our parishioners that they are blessed; that they have so much to be grateful for. Gratitude makes us saints.

When they see us, do they hide for fear of another fund raising? For fear of being scolded? For fear of being openly rebuked or ignored? For being of being humiliated in front of the rest? Mukhang masungit? Mukhang galit? Mukhang suplado? Mukhang pera? Mukhang pilyo? Mukhang may itinatago? Amoy alak? This is not us. This is not what God sent us to be. Say no! Wish to be remembered as a good priest. Paring pari. Laging pari!

Taoir na pananisia. If we truly are a gift of legacy, then we must be the reason for the parish or the school to be a constantly grateful people. Gratitude sanctifies.

May the GIFT that we are lead others to GRATITUDE! May the gratitude we sow lead them to GENEROSITY and may that generosity we inspire open the paths to endless GROWTH! May the gift of our priesthood make our people holy!

My dear people of God, look at us your priests. We are the gifts of God to you in spite of us. Pasensiya na kayo sa amin! You are the gifts of God to us. With you we give thanks. With you we want to grow. People of God, your priests love you. Let us be grateful and generous and faithful saints together.

Comments are closed.

wordpress statistics