HOMILY AT THE NATIONAL THANKSGIVING FOR THE CANONIZATION OF SAN PEDRO CALUNGSOD
November 30, 2012; South Road Properties, Cebu City
By RICARDO J. CARDINAL VIDAL
Archbishop of Cebu
Your Excellency, Benigno Simeon Aquino, President of the Republic of the Philippines,
Your Excellency, Jejomar Binay, Vice-President of the Republic of the Philippines,
Your Eminence, Jose Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila,
Your Eminence, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop Emeritus of Manila,
Your Excellency, Most Rev. Jose Palma, Archbishop of Cebu and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines,
Your Excellency, Most Rev. Giuseppe Pinto, Apostolic Nuncio in the Philippines,
Your Excellencies, My Brother Archbishops and Bishops,
Honorable Cabinet Secretaries,
Honorable Michael Rama, Mayor of Cebu City,
Honorable Gwendolyn Garcia, Governor of Cebu,
Honorable Government Officials,
My Brother Priests,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Consecrated Life,
My dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
This remarkable gathering is a testament of how one life can be a principle of our unity. One life that was offered 340 years ago. Almost forgotten but now remembered. Nipped in the bud but now blooming like the flowers of May.
Our celebration today is a testament of how one life refuses to die, because it lives on in the heart of God. Some people die even before they start to live, because they refuse to love. San Pedro lives on because he refuses to give up on love.
And how is it to love? To love is to stand steadfast in the face of mortal danger, compelled by the love of Christ. And what is the love of Christ? “No greater love than this than when a man lays down his life for his friends.” (Jn. 15:13) The love of Christ is the greatest love of all, it is this love that compels Pedro to lay down his life. It is this love that compels us today to honor a life that was poured out in love.
If to love is to be compelled by the love of Christ, then love is rooted in faith, for we can only love the Lord, we can only love as he does, if we believe in him. Some people say they can love without believing, but that is like saying they can swim without jumping into the water, or breathe without air. Even the most elementary form of love requires us to believe in the beloved.
Only the love of Christ compels because it is capable of sacrifice. Other forms of love make a semblance of sacrifice, though they are merely acts of despair. Others give no value to sacrifice at all, because they are merely acts of self-seeking. True love, pure love, flows from the heart of Jesus crucified.
Pedro made many sacrifices before he made the final sacrifice. He had died so many times so that one more death does not matter anymore. He left home and country at a young age. He did not experience the care-free days of youth spent in frivolous pursuits. While the Chamorro young men learned the ways of manhood in houses where they can indulge their passions, Pedro spent his youth learning the basics of the faith, acquiring self-discipline, developing virtue in the fibers of his flesh and in the marrow of his bones.
In contrast, our concept of love today is infected with self-seeking. It seeks the easy way out. It seeks fulfilment without facing consequences. It does not assume responsibility.
Our love must be purified by faith. We must love as Jesus loves. We must love one another as he has loved us.
This is the love that can save us. This is the love that we must teach our young. Not the love that is self-seeking. Not the love that sets no limit to the self. Not the love that robs lovers of their souls, but the love that gives dignity, the love that edifies, the love that ennobles.
This kind of love is difficult to teach. But who says every noble thing is easily acquired? Every noble thing is precisely noble because it is worth shedding one’s blood.
This love is what we celebrate today. Only this love can gather so many of us to celebrate and to believe. Only this love can point us to the future, because it is timeless. Only this love, the love of Pedro, the love of Jesus, can save us.
Mga igsoon ko diha ni Kristo…
Ang gugma ni Pedro mao ang gugma ni Jesus. Gugma kini nga andam motahan sa kaugalingon. Gugma kini nga makamaong mopugong sa kaugalingon alang sa hinigugma. Adunay gugma nga mohatag sa tanan, apan dili makamaong mopugong. Dili kini matuod nga gugma, kay ang gugmang tiunay mohatag sa kaugalingon, apan makahatag lamang kita sa kaugalingon kung makamao usab kitang modumili sa kaugalingon.
Ang gugmang tawhanon kinahanglang hinloan sa pagtuo. Ang pagtuo naghatag kanato sa gahum sa pag-usab sa atong kaugalingon, kay ang pagtuo pagtuman sa sugo sa Dios. Ang tawo nga mituo apan wala motuman bakakon.
Sundon nato si Pedro sa iyang pagkamatinumanon. Sundon nato si Jesus sa iyang pagtuman sa kabubut-on sa Amahan. Matud pa ni San Pablo sa iyang ikaduhang sulat sa mga Taga-Corinto, si Jesus dili mabalhinon ug hunahuna, hinunoa siya kasaligan gayod. Dili siya “Oo” sa usa ka higayon, unya “dili” sa laing higayon. Lunlon lang gayod siyang “Oo” ngadto sa Amahan. (2 Cor. 1:19)
Batid kung marami sa inyo na naririto ngayon ay naghahangad ding marating ang narrating ni San Pedro.
Walang “short-cut” sa pagiging ganap na Santo. Lahat tayo ay dapat matutong maghintay, magpasensya, magsumikap sa araw-araw. Ano ba ang katapatan kundi yaong matuto tayong maghintay, at manalig sa Dios? Ano ba ang pasyensya kundi yaong pag-sisikap sa araw-araw, sa ating pag-gawa nang kabutihan sa kapwa? Hindi pwede mag-isa lang sa pagiging Santo, kailanganin natin ang panalangin nang Panginoon at tulong nang kapwa natin tao. Kung ating mamadaliin ang pag-ikot ng mundo dahil hindi na tayo makakapaghintay, iyan ang simula ng ating pagtataksil. Sapagkat ang taong hindi makakapaghintay ay magtataksil, unang una’y sa panahon at pangalawa’y sa kanyang sarili. Sa pagtataksil sa panahon tayo’y magnanasang mamadaliin ang lahat ng bagay — biglaang yaman, biglaang katanyagan, biglaang kapangyarihan. Ang taong biglaan ang pagbulusok ay mag-iisa sa kanyang sarili, sapagkat ang mga taong nakapaligid sa kanya ay hindi kayang sundan ang kanyang kabilisan.
My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, let our gratitude this day be sustained in the daily conduct of our lives. Let our faith empower us to be faithful followers of Jesus and dutiful citizens of our country. Let us no longer live dual citizenships — good Christians but bad citizens. Such duality cannot exist. If we have to be Christians, let us be good citizens as well — observing every just law, practicing justice in all our affairs, being honest in word and in deed.
Likewise, let our citizenship be empowered by our Christian faith, seeking to apply God’s will in both public and private life. Let our laws therefore be directed to serve the common good as well as to the Ultimate Good, forming us to be good citizens of this country as well as candidates for citizenship of heaven.
There is a consistent thread that runs through all of nature, from the individual human body to the human community to the wider environment. In regard to the self, we must exercise self-mastery; in regard to others, justice; in regard to the environment, care and respect. At every level, we exercise restraint, for that is the nature of rational beings. Any inconsistency will ultimately lead to the breakdown of human society.
When we respect our nature, we subsume all nature to its Creator, thus, God will be all in all. This, no less, is the essence of sainthood.
May San Pedro be our example of obedience to the plan of God, of courage in love. May he be our precursor in heaven, our intercessor for any need, our inspiration for nobility in both living and dying.
Viva San Pedro Calungsod!