Homily of H.E. Jose Fuerte Cardinal Advincula
HOMILY OF HIS EMINENCE JOSE FUERTE CARDINAL ADVINCULA ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA
18 October 2022
Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, Reverend Monsignori and Fathers, Dearest Brothers in Sisters in Christ,
1. It is with great joy that I celebrate this Eucharist with you on the Feast of Saint Luke, disciple of our Lord and evangelist, in the context of our FABC 50 General Conference. Saint Luke provides us with an account of the first “synod”. Confronted with a difficult pastoral issue, our forefathers in the faith instinctively gathered to discern and fulfill the will of God. Peter, Paul, Barnabas, James and the rest brought with them not only their own experiences but also the sensitivities and wisdom of their flock. Diverse they were, but united in Christ. Significant indeed is the way they express the conclusions of their council: “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us…” or in another translation, “it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…”
2. The Gospel injunction to pray for laborers for the harvest brings to mind one of the lessons we learned in the diocesan phase of the Synod on Synodality. The family is not only the seedbed of vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life, but also to the lay ministries. This is important for my country, the Philippines, where the shortage of priests is complemented by the immense contributions of our basic ecclesial community (BEC) leaders and lay apostles in family life, education, industry, business and commerce, politics, peace building and care for our common home.
Moreover, if we seek to advance synodality as a constitutive dimension of the Church, we should also recognize that the values, perspectives, and skills necessary for a synodal Church are nurtured and learned in the family. Prayerfulness and discernment, communion and compassion, honesty and transparency – like charity – begin at home. For us, the family is not only the seedbed of all vocations, the family is also the school of synodality.
3. Saint Luke is considered a companion and co-worker of the great Apostle to the Gentiles. He accompanied him on many missionary travels. What is most poignant is how Saint Paul recognized Saint Luke’s loyalty. He says in his letter, “Luke is the only one with me”. This continues to be our experience. During natural calamities and disasters, the Church is usually one of the first to arrive and the last to leave. In the face of personal failure and community strife, may the disciples of Christ be always the last to despair and the first to love. Amen.