Holy Mass on the Memorial
of the Basilica of St. Mary Major
Homily by Archbishop Socrates Villegas, OP, DD
Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan
Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Manaoag,
5 August 2020
Your Excellency, Bishop Fidelis,
my dear brother Priests, the Religious sisters and brothers and sisters in Christ,
brother Priests of Lingayen – Dagupan.
It feels like we have not been together for one century for a Mass. And coming together for the first time after the long quarantine, I cannot tell you how happy I am to see you all together again celebrating one mass in one place asking the Lord to heal our land asking our lady of Manaoag to guide us.
We have prayed the Act of Consecration by the healing of our nation for 21 days and now we come together in the house of God, in the house of our Mother to ask her “tama na po, pagod na pagod na kami, tulungan niyo na po kami.” (Enough, we are very tired, please help us.) We have come here to commit ourselves again to Jesus, we have come here to commit ourselves again to his mother.
Jesus said “Do you think that I have come to establish peace and earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” (Lk 12, 51) revolutionary words from a revolutionary Lord. When He was only three months old in the womb, His mother sang “He has cast down the mighty from his arm disperse the arrogant of mind and heart he has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry is filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.” (Lk 1, 52-53) revolutionary words from the mother.
I wonder who was the first revolutionary—the mother or the Son?
Revolutionaries of a different revolution.
Revolutionaries with invisible weapons.
Revolutionaries in an invisible war.
Revolutionaries ready to die rather than cause others to die.
Revolutions waged in this world for the sake of a new world to come.
Revolutionaries who revolt against no one but themselves.
Revolutionaries who change the world by first changing their hearts.
If the Lord is a revolutionary and His mother is just like Him, how can we not be revolutionaries?
Pontius Pilate and the Jews condemned the Lord to death charged with rebellion, subversion and sedition against the emperor. What did the revolutionary mother do as her Son was hanging on the cross?
Did she scream?
Did she shout?
Did she protest?
Did she rush to stop the hands with the hammer nailing her Son?
Was she hysterical?
Did she wail?
Mary the revolutionary did not stop the crucifixion of her revolutionary Son. She could not. Was she passive and mute? She seemed helpless to stop the crucifixion. It seemed like darkness had its glorious moment at that time. But she stood there with admirable nobility to stop more hatred, stop more bitterness, stop more heartlessness, stop more blasphemy–from filling the air. In standing there quietly, she became the opposite of all that the crowd had become—she brought soothing gentleness, forgiveness, peace and calm. She refused to hate. She refused to shout. She revolted against the tide of bitterness, barbarity and vulgarity. She stood and resisted in silence—earthshaking silence. It was a holy silent resistance.
This is our revolution, without violence, without force, with God alone and only by the power of His love.
Dear fathers, my dear brothers and sisters, be like Jesus on the cross and Mary beneath it.
Like Mary at the foot of the cross, reject the culture of fake news by being truth tellers all the time no matter the sacrifice it may cost. Do not repeat gossip. Do not add to gossip. Do not laugh at gossip. Resign from your job as a troll and get back your dignity. The salary of a troll is Judas money.
Like May at the foot of the cross resist the culture of vulgarity and dirty words by saying more often words of respect and courtesy. “Thank you” and “Please” and “I am sorry”. Overcome barbaric tongues and obscene language by the power of good manners and civility. Revolt by being polite.
Like Mary at the foot of the cross, stand against the culture of bribe and graft in public life by living as a steward not as a boss. Everything and everybody is God’s; nothing and no one belongs to anyone. Remember the reality of death even as you live prosperously now. Sooner not later you will face the judgment of God. Revolt by being humble.
Like Mary at the foot of the cross, oppose the culture of name calling and slapstick jokes. Oppose it by choosing to be cultured and good mannered against all odds all the time. Celebrate what is right with the world. There is so much to celebrate. Revolt by being committed to decency.
Like Mary at the foot of the cross, stand against the tide of mediocrity for leadership without vision is treason. We are all leaders in different ways; at work, in the office, in the church, in business. When you decide at home or at work in business or anywhere, use common sense and reason, listen humbly to the wisdom of your enemies and most of all pray. stand up for excellence by being the best that you can be all the time.
Like Mary at the foot of the cross, resist the culture of death. In the name of God stop the killings of the unborn! In the name of humanity, hate sin and save the sinner. The criminal and the innocent both have human dignity bestowed not by human laws but by God. Let us overcome evil by the power of good.
Let us overcome evil by the power of good. This revolution of grace is not our own, it is for the soul of each one of us and for the soul of our nation. The whole of humanity wins in this revolution of grace and love; no one is defeated except Satan, the prince of lies and king of darkness. This revolution has no dream to subvert because its goal is to inspire, this revolution is against no one because it is only against sin. This is the revolution that Christ came for; the revolution he entrusted to us. Many among us are living proofs that this revolution is alive and they are our blessing.
Mabuhay po kayo (Long live to you), healthcare workers and physicians. Revolutionary frontliners, who risk your own lives that others may live. You have seen many deaths and we know your willingness but we know dear healthcare workers and physicians, we know that if we peep through your PPE, we will see the face of God himself in your weary faces. You are heroic revolutionaries of healing; you are Jesus for us in this pandemic.
Mabuhay po kayo (Long live to you), Teachers and Educators. You struggle to teach by online learning against many obstacles, you care for the pupils like your own children. Teachers and educators, you will always be underpaid because only heaven can pay you as you deserve. You revolt against ignorance and illiteracy. Salamat po mga kagalang-galang na guro (Thank you, dear teachers).
Mabuhay po kayo, mga kababayang volunteers na tumutulong ng hindi nakikilala, tumutulong kahit sila ay nangangailangan din. Patunay po kayo na ang Pilipino ay bayan ng magiting at hindi pasaway (Long live yo you, fellow volunteer countrymen who help strangers, helping even when they are in need. Please prove that the Filipino people are a people of courage and not unruly). You revolt against apathy and indifference. Salamat po.
Mabuhay po kayo, mga sundalo at pulis, Barangay tanod at barangay health workers, mababa sa ranggo at maliit ang suweldo subalit malakas ang kaloobang indahin ang init ng araw at lamig ng ulan, gumaan lang ang aming buhay (Long live to you, soldiers and police, barangay tanod and barangay health workers, low in rank and low in salary but has a strong will to endure the heat of the Sun and the cold of the Rain, just to make our lives easier). You revolt by showing us that public service is indeed honorable. Salamat po.
Mabuhay po kayo (Long live to you), journalists and media friends. You stand for the truth and enjoy the blows, you are cursed and bashed, calumniated, defamed, slandered like Jesus. You declare without fear the truth to Pilate despite his mocking. You are revolutionaries of truth and freedom.
Mabuhay po kayo, kababayang Pilipino, mga mahal na kapatid kay Kristo. Maliit man o lihim, kubli man o lantad, tayong Pilipino, tayong lahat ay likas na maka-Diyos at Makabayan. Maghihilom ang bayang magiliw, masusugpo ang kadiliman, sisikat ang madaling-araw at muling ngingiti ang mukha ng Birhen. Ang pag-ibig ng Panginoon ay mamamayani, mabubuhay tayong muli at muling babangon, sa awa ng Diyos at sa yakap ng Ina (Long live to you, fellow Filipinos, dear brothers and sisters in Christ. Whether small or secret, hidden or exposed, we Filipinos, we are all Godly and patriotic in nature. The friendly country will be healed, darkness will be subdued, dawn will rise and the face of the Virgin will smile again. The love of the Lord will prevail, we will live again and rise again, in the mercy of God and in the embrace of the Mother). Amen.