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Homily of His Excellency Archbishop Jose Palma

TODAY'S gospel reading reminds us of the calling of Levi and the calling of Matthew. This is a reminder that before the Lord calls us, we have nothing to boast (about).

 

Like Levi and Matthew, we are all imperfect human beings. And yet, the joyful, consoling and wonderful truth is - God loves us. How beautiful it is to know that we are imperfect human beings and yet we are loved. No wonder our Holy Father has chosen as his motto: “Miserando atque eligendo” - “Miserable sinner and yet chosen.”

 

My dear brothers and sisters, the first wonderful truth I share with you this day is that all good things come from the Lord.

 

Many times, we believe we don’t deserve (the gifts), but God in His goodness has given the gifts to us, out of pure love, out of pure goodness. Good things are therefore gifts from the Lord and if you think of that, then you will have a better understanding of your theme, to “Rekindle the Gifts” that you have received.

 

Twenty years ago, exactly on this day, I was ordained bishop in Iloilo. So you may wonder why I am here, and not in my diocese where some feast in celebration of my sacerdotal anniversary has been prepared.  Because I owe a lot to Couples for Christ!

 

All good things are gifts from the Lord and therefore today, I’d like to invite you to recognize the many good things you have received because that is the basis for your “Rekindling of the gifts”.

 

My dear friends, recognize the gifts. I say this again because we are now preparing for a grand celebration in 2021 of the gift we received almost 500 years ago -the coming of Christianity to our country. And so we thank the Lord for the gift of faith. We thank the Lord for the gift of Mama Mary. There are many, many more blessings we need to thank the Lord for.

 

Today as we reflect on the theme, we are reminded by Peter, “Put your gifts at the service of one another.”

 

I know that’s what you’ve been doing through the years. You have different gifts that you put for the service of the community, whether you’re teaching, forming leaders, serving the church, building houses, and many, many more.

 

In today’s Mass, we are asked once more to know our gifts and to continue putting those gifts in the service of one another. 

 

My dear friends, this year’s theme in preparation for 2021 - the year of priests and religious persons - means that all the servant-leaders, including all of you in Couples for Christ, must put your gifts at the service of one another. We are leaders, but we are servant-leaders.

 

“Rekindle the gift.” How beautiful these words are! The fire is already there (in you) because of the laying of hands and because of your commitment, and because of the sacraments you have received through the years.

 

As the great St. Augustine reminds us, “You touch me and I am set on fire.” It is when the Lord touches us that we understand what St. Catherine of Sienna said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

 

We ask ourselves, “What does God want me to be?” When we know, when we recognize what  God’s desire is for us, then we strive to live up to that desire. 

 

One of the great lessons I have learned when we hosted the International Eucharistic Congress has to do when our receiving communion. When the minister says “the Body of Christ” and because we know that this little bread is the body of Christ,  we say “Amen.” When we say “Amen”, we are also saying, “Yes, this is the body of Christ, but yes, we are also the body of Christ because we will become what we receive.”

 

The Lord will rekindle the gifts that we have received so that even in our little ways, we can use the gifts for the service of God and the Church.

 

This year and for the years to come, Couples for Christ will continue to rekindle the gifts. May you truly become God’s big family that will spread throughout the world to proclaim that even if we are imperfect human beings, the love of God and the mercy of God are so great.  He calls all of us to holiness. He calls all of us to mission. He calls all of us to spread His message of love.

 

Praise God for this gathering! May the Lord indeed rekindle the gifts that we have received for His glory! (Archbishop Jose Palma, CFC Leaders Conference 2018)

Added on Monday, February 19, 2018


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