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Homily of Cardinal Tagle during Mass for the "Word Exposed" annual Pentecost Recollection


Photo by Yana Villajos/Radio Veritas


Homily delivered by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle during Mass for the “Word Exposed” annual Pentecost Recollection on June 4, 2017 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.

We see in the first two readings for today the images used by the writers, St Luke in the First Reading, and St Paul in the Second Reading. Images of the Holy Spirit as the bringer of communion, tongues of fire, the ability to speak in different languages, leading to communion, understanding. 

Then in the Second Reading, one body, different gifts. And all the barriers between Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, are torn down. And though there are many gifts, the gifts, when used in a spiritual way, meaning for the common good, they will not disrupt the unity of the Body.



And before going to my last point, I realized that there are many religious communities here, even seminarians. What we have shared so far in our day, our conversion to the Holy Spirit so that we would become men and women of communion, and our communities being signs of communion with the Holy Spirit, where the different gifts are elevated to the service of the common good, we hope that the religious communities would also live out. And also the parish priests and their collaborators. Sana po sa mga parishes, hindi magkakanya-kanya. Sasabihin, "I am for the parish priest!" "I am for the assistant!" "I am for the sacristan!" At pati sa religious communities. "I am for the general!" "I am for the provincial!" "I am, of course, for the treasurer!" Ay naku. Hindi. One body.

Now, I just want to draw attention to one more gift of the Holy Spirit, the gift of the Risen Lord, a gift which brings communion, and which really requires the action of the Holy Spirit. And it is forgiveness. There will not be any communion or oneness in the Body if there is no forgiveness. 

The Risen Lord appears to the disciples who were locked up in one room because of fear, but Jesus the Risen One was able to enter the room and said, "Peace be with you." He could have returned as the victorious one, with revenge and recrimination. If I were the Risen Lord, I would really seek out: "Nasaan ba 'yang mga mokong na 'yan? Iniwanan ako. Humanda kayo!" Buti na lang hindi ako si Risen Lord. And then he says, "Peace be with you." And he associates them to himself. "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." Instead of saying, "I don't trust you anymore. I sent you and you never came back. In fact you ran away from me. You left me alone." But no. "I want you to be closely united with me. As I have received the mission from the Father, so you will also receive the mission from me." Then, knowing that they could not do this by themselves, he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them." 

But before they were sent out as missioners of forgiveness, Jesus made sure that they first experienced forgiveness from him. Pinatawad niya sila. Ibinalik ang nasirang ugnayan. At ngayon, sinusugo sila para maging daan ng pagpapatawad, reconciliation, restoration of communion, where relationships had ended up in separation or division. 

Forgiveness. Whew. Napakahirap. Kaya nga kailangan ng Espiritu Santo. Kapag meron kayong kakilalang nahihirapang magpatawad, gawin 'nyo 'yung ginawa ni Hesus: Hingahan ninyo. "Receive the Holy Spirit." Kasi talaga naman, kung wala ang Espiritu Santo, hindi makakapatawad. 

But what do we learn? And this one, I pick up not only from my own reflections but from the experience of peoples and the experience shared with us by spiritual people, spiritual writers. Some tips how the Holy Spirit works.

First, to be able to forgive, I must see, in the person who has offended me, myself, my common humanity. Kasi minsan judgmental tayo eh. Pero kapag nakita ko sila na ako rin naman eh nakakasakit din ako ng iba eh. Kung itong taong ito, nakaya akong saktan, ilan ba rin 'yung nasaktan ko? The moment I realize that, then we are not enemies. Pareho pala kami. Common humanity. Kaya hindi ako nagagalit doon sa mga natutulog na estudyante eh. Kasi marami rin akong tinulugan na teacher. I see them, I see myself in them, then I am calm. Basta pumasa sila. Wala na akong magagawa 'pag hindi sila nag-aral. Pero 'yung matulog lang sila? I can forgive that, because I see myself. I realize. Pati sa Misa. 'Yung mga natutulog during homilies? I trust that the Spirit talks to them in their dreams (laughter and applause). Pareho naman kami. Pareho. So 'yung mga hindi makapagpatawad, tingnan ninyo. Baka makita ninyo 'yung nakasakit sa inyo, kapareho rin 'nyo pala.

That's one grace of hearing confessions. When you hear confessions, you realize I am not better than them. Pareho lang pala kami.

The second is, you don't give up on persons. You always say, "Nagkamali man ito, this person's story is not finished. This person could still find the path to new life." Kapag naniniwala tayong ganyan, kaya pa natin magpatawad.

And third, we should genuinely seek for peace. If I don't want peace, I will not forgive. Kung gusto mo naman talaga walang tigil na warfare, ay talagang walang forgiveness. I must sincerely long for peace. 

Pero may ikaapat na kondisyon. Sana 'yung nakasakit, magkaroon din ng humility to admit one's fault. Here, justice enters. Lalo na kung 'yung nakasakit ay mayroong poder. Kasi po, in our society, our respect for authority sometimes gives us the impression that the authority is always right, and the authority can justify his or her action. O, mga magulang dito, di ba, okay you have authority over your children, but it doesn't make you always right. Ayaw umamin. Possessing authority does not guarantee that I am correct all the time. Kaya ang hirap na hirap humingi ng tawad, usually, 'yung galing sa authority. Kasi sasabihin nila, "Eh bakit? Tama ako. May authority ako." Kapag ganyan, napakahirap magkaroon ng forgiveness. So bilateral yan eh.

Harinawa, harinawa, sana mangyari sa mga families, parishes, communities, nations, and international relations. Palagay ko ang daming mahihilom, at maraming bridges na nasira na ang mare-reconstruct when true forgiveness happens.

But it is a gift of the Risen Lord. On this last day of Easter, the Easter season, we ask the Risen Lord, "Hingahan mo kami nang hingahan." At hingahan mo po ang mga tao na sugat-sugatan. To forgive means to set free. You set free the person who has hurt you, but you set yourself free from the prison of revenge and anger. And may those who have hurt others, especially those in authority, release themselves from pride, and admit we have done wrong. May the Holy Spirit lead us to have communion. Let us pause and ask for the grace to be able to ask for pardon and also to forgive those who have sinned against us.