Holy Mass on the Third Day of the Novena
in Honor of Our Lady of Manaoag
Homily by Rev. Fr. Francisco Vargas, CM
Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Manaoag, Manaoag, Pangasinan
22 April 2020
Its good to realize that the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag and consequently the Novena is always held during the Easter Season. And the Easter Season is the context of our reflection. The Easter Season when the whole church recalls the central mystery of the Resurrection of Jesus and the power of the Resurrection that enables us all to overcome sin and that is how much God loves us, that’s why in the Gospel we are told “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (Jn 3, 16).
Of course, as we could reflect on this verse from the Gospel of St. John, on which he promises Eternal Life, it is also in the context of our life here on earth that we are being told and we are sure that we will be taken care of, protected under the Mantle of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag.
The Easter Sunday is still a mystery that Mary is trying to bring to us as she brings the Child Jesus in her chest, telling us “this child is the Risen Christ” and because of his Resurrection we should be able to overcome darkness, evil, anything that is not for life.
So my dear brothers and sisters, as we are in the third day of our Novena let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede for us so that we may have this courage as Peter and John in the first reading to be able to proclaim the Good News and that this Good News is that Christ has risen from the dead and because of his Resurrection, evil will be overthrown. Let us pray especially that this love of Jesus for us will enable us to overcome and control this coronavirus which is mainly human made and yet we seem to be helpless.
I think what this phenomenon is telling us is that we should not be proud of ourselves, we should never forget that we are born into this life out of the love of God, we are allowed to live this life because of the love of God, we are allowed to die and gain everlasting life because of this love of Jesus and therefore let us look up to Mary to ask her, to enable us, to appreciate this mystery, to appreciate this power which is her Son, Jesus. Let us pray for all of us so that instead of being hard headed and continue to insist on what we want that we become more controlled so that we will commit ourselves to power the will of God. The will of God which will lead us not only to our better life here in earth but to an everlasting life, everlasting happiness.
So my dear brothers and sisters, let us ask that this experience of the COVID-19 will enable us to be wiser, to be more open to the wisdom of God, to be more open to the collaboration of Mary and trying to help us to live a life that is meaningful, a life that will enable us to be a help to one another. What is happening now is that we are being forced to help one another, to love another. I hope that this becomes our second nature because we are not, as St. Paul said no one of us lives for himself, no one of us dies for himself, all of us live and die for the Lord (cf. Rm 14, 7-8).
So let us pray that we may persevere even without the threat of anything like coronavirus, even without the pressure of external government, that we would be able to continue to always bear in mind as Mary did when after she said her ‘Fiat’ she is always looking up to her Father because it is the Father from whom everything is derived.
So, let us pray for that and hopefully after this Novena we will be more empowered to share the Good News, not so much by talking but more by doing and sharing of faith, material things to one another.