Thursday, August 13, 2015

May forever kaya? Mary Answers

Homily * Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady

Totoo nga kayang may forever? This question became a trending among young people especially with the telenovela “Forevermore”. But what do you think? May forever nga kaya?

The question is relevant to our reflection today, the Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady into heaven in body and soul. Our answer to this question will help us appreciate the relevance of our Lady’s Assumption in our lives. If there is a “forever”, then Assumption is relevant to us. If Mary is assumed to heaven, then, there must be a “forever”.

If there is a “forever”, then faithfulness is possible. Husbands and wives will try to remain faithful to each other if they both believe in “forever”. If politicians don’t believe in “forever”, we will never get rid of corruption and selfish interests. If there’s no “forever”, paano na kaming mga pari at mga religioso? We left everything for the sake of “forever”. If there’s no “forever”, young lovers will never believe in real and authentic commitment in life. Would you truly and honestly say to your beloved “ITALY” (that is, I Trust And Love You) forever, if you believe that “forever” does not exist? ‘Pag ‘di ka naniniwala na may “forever”, marahil ang love song mo ay “It Might Be You”.

In the mystery of the Assumption, the Blessed Virgin Mary has confirmed to herself, and to us today, the truth that “forever” exists. She finally experienced everlasting life with God. In her, the words of St. Paul in the Second Reading took place: “That which is mortal clothes itself with immortality… death is swallowed up in victory”. But do you know why Mary experienced the “forever”? Because she was faithful to God and to the mission that God asked her to do. Mary was assumed into heaven, into the communion forever with God, because she was faithful.

How was she faithful? First, she bore Jesus in her womb. Second, but more importantly, she listened to God’s will and followed it. In this way, Mary shows us today the secret of finding the “forever”: bearing Jesus in our lives and following God’s will.

Bearing Jesus in our life. In the First Reading, we heard how David brought the Ark of the Covenant to the place he had prepared for it. According to the Letter to the Hebrews, “This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had flowered, and the stone tablets of the covenant” (9:4). These three things inside the Ark of the Covenant point out to Jesus. We know that manna is the bread from heaven. But Jesus Himself is the real Bread from heaven. The stone tablets contain the Law of God. And Aaron’s staff that flowered signifies that he was the chosen leader or prophet of God. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.

But Mary is the true Ark of the Covenant because she did not only bear the holy things that point out to Jesus: She carried in her womb Jesus Himself. Indeed, in our Catholic tradition, especially in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Blessed Mother is called “Ark of the Covenant”.

We, Catholics, are also called to be bearers of Christ – to be “Christopher”. Our greatest challenge is to manifest the presence of Jesus in our lives. Let us strive to let Jesus shine and be seen in the way we think, in our conversations, in our dealings with everyone, in our work and relaxation, in our choice of entertainment, in our decisions.

Yet, when we strive to be authentically Christians, true followers of Christ, we must embrace the whole of Christ, including all His teachings and His mentality. We cannot afford to be like “cafeteria Christians”, who just choose to accept those teachings of Christ that will fit our taste, our comfort and our preferences.

St. Josemaria said: “How I wish your bearing and conversation were such that, on seeing or hearing you, people would say: This man reads the life of Jesus Christ” (The Way, 2). He added: “Set aflame all the ways of the earth with the fire of Christ that you bear in your heart” (The Way, 1). True Christians must bear Christ in their hearts; authentic disciples of Christ strive to manifest Christ in their lives. Like Mary, true Christians must also become “Arks of the Covenant”.

Doing God´s will. In the Gospel, a woman cried out: “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” But Jesus responded: “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” Jesus did not downgrade the “womb that carried Him” – His Mother. Instead, He raised Her dignity to the highest level by emphasizing her faithfulness and obedience to God’s will. St. Augustine said: “Mary was rather blessed by receiving the faith of Christ than by conceiving the flesh of Christ.”

Saint Pope John Paul II called Mary as “the Model of Discipleship for the Third Christian Millennium”. She is our Model of Discipleship because she is the Model of Faithfulness. Discipleship requires faithfulness. In an era like ours, that is full of doubts about whether commitment or faithfulness is still possible, the Catholic Church presents Mary as a proof that “Yes, faithfulness is possible because forever exists”. To do God’s will, like Mary, is our highest dignity as Christians.

If you think that commitment is just a piece of paper, look at Mary. If you think that faithfulness is just found in the dictionary, imitate Mary. If you think that “forever” is true only in telenovelas, then, stop watching telenovelas and start praying to the Blessed Virgin. Ask her for the gift of faithfulness.

Let us ask the help of our Lady of Assumption, that we may strive to be bearers of Christ and to manifest Jesus in our lives. Like Mary, may we also learn to listen to God’s will and follow it in our lives. Let us implore Mary’s intercession, so that we, too, may experience our own “Assumption into heaven” and discover that “talagang may forever”. AMEN.

"Sacerdotes, 'consagrados en la Verdad'"

Estar inmersos en la Verdad, en Cristo, de este proceso forma parte
la oración, en la que nos ejercitamos en la amistad con Él y aprendemos a
conocerle: su forma de ser, de pensar, de actuar. Rezar es un caminar en
comunión personal con Cristo, exponiendo ante Él nuestra vida cotidiana,
nuestros logros y nuestros fracasos, nuestras fatigas y nuestras alegrías -es un
simple presentarnos a nosotros mismos ante Él. Pero para que esto no se
convierta en un autocontemplarse, es importante que aprendamos continuamente a
rezar rezando con la Iglesia.