Homily by His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle
Pro-Prefect for the Section of Evangelization of the Dicastery for Evangelization
on the Feast of the Archangels
Mary Mother of Hope, Landmark Chapel Makati | September 29, 2022
My dear friends, we thank the Lord for gathering us as one family as one community of faith on this beautiful feast of the Archangels. And we heard in the gospels especially, that the angels of God ascend and descend on the Son of Man. So, there is this dynamic movement, buhay na buhay ang mga angels. And their movements are of two types, one descending from God, and then ascending back to God.
Now, angels are supernatural beings, they are creatures, they are not gods, they are also creatures, supernatural, and the word angel actually describes a function. They are ministers, servants of God, especially messengers of God. Messengers of God's word and action. Tignan ninyo yung word “ebanghelyo”. Ebangheloyo. Ano ang nasa gitna niyan? “Anghel”. No? Yun, “ebanghelyo” - may “anghel”. Sa Italian, “vangelo” o “angelo” nasa ganyan.
Ang angel tagadala ng balita. Yung tunay na angels tagapagdala ng mabuting balita. Yung mga hindi tunay na angels, fake news ang dala niyan. O kaya calumny. O kaya lahat ng paninira. Yan ang isang distinction. A true angel serves God and is a messenger of God. And if God is love, God is truth, God is justice, God is beauty, then the angel is a servant and a messenger of truth, of love, of communion, of beauty.
The three archangels that we are celebrating today - Saint Michael, ano po ang tawag natin sa kanya in Filipino o Spanish? San Miguel. San Miguel. Bawal ang advertisement. St. Michael. The word Michael means in the Hebrew word it means “who is like God/who can be compared to God.” Why? Because in Scriptures, the archangel Michael showed the power of God in protecting God's people against evil. So whenever St. Michael works, it is to show how God is more powerful than evil spirits, than the devil. So, the name Michael serves the manifestation of the power of God and the protection by God of his people.
The name Gabriel means “God's strength”. Si Gabriel was the one who gave the news to Zechariah that they will have a son, si John the Baptist. Gabriel also, no, visited Mary to announce the coming of the Messiah. And the role of Mary to be the mother of the Son of God. So Gabriel, his name, conveys the strength, the power of God in changing the course of history, through salvation.
And Raphael. Raphael is known as a healer. He accompanied Tobias. So, si Raphsel ay companion on the way, and also healer.
If you look at all of those, they bring to our attention who God is and God's message to his people - protection from evil, salvation in history, and healing as he accompanies us. So we thank the angels for being with us all the time.
Baka minsan akala ninyo, multo ba ito, wag kayo matakot baka angel yun. Tapos kayo, “Umalis ka, umalis ka”. Ang pinaalis mo, baka good angel! Tapos welcome tayo ng welcome ng false angels. And we hope that we would imitate the angels. We cannot match them. We are made of body and spirit, we are frail, but we can also be messengers of God's protection, messengers of the good news of salvation and messengers of God's healing.
Siguro po iyan ang isang hilingin natin na dumami pa ang mga tao na tutulad sa mga anghel. Hindi mga tao na ipapahamak ang kapwa. Hindi yung tao na sisirain ang ginagawa ng Diyos na pagliligtas. Hindi tao na naninira, nangsusugat sa halip na maghilom ng mga sugat.
So we ask the archangels to pray for us and to accompany us. And it is in this context, that we also celebrate life. And in this occasion the birthday of Nanay. Nay, ilang taon na kayo? Ninety-two. Ah. Ah no, 94? Bakit nyo dinagdagan agad? Ninety-four? Hinde! O sige na raw. O sige, gusto nyo 94, e di 94. Ano na yan, 40% discount na yan hindi lang 20, kaya siguro tinataas para ganun ha. Well diba sa mga chinese meron namang additional one year? Pero kahit na yun dapat 93 pa lang, noh so 92. So, we thank God for you, for you life. We thank your guardian angel and we thank you for being an angel also, messenger of God to tatay, to Nonoy, to me and to you many friends and relatives. Naririnig nyo ako? Good! Oho! We pray not only for a long life, but a meaningful life na sana tayong lahat every moment of our lives we spend being a bearer of God’s presence and good news. Be an angel. Be an angel. Guard people and lead them on the way of peace, of love, goodness and beauty.
I would like to end this by, siguro nakita ninyo sa invitation, instead of giving gifts to Nanay, we spend this day becoming angels of charity. There are many, many possible recipients of our angelic charity. But for this occasion, we would invite you to consider helping the Our Lady of the Pillar Seminary in Imus. It is the philosophy seminary before they go to the last stage of formation. And we have here the rector, si Fr. Tony Laureta at si Fr. Mike, and kanyang companion. So, they try their best to be angels to seminarians. Opo, Mahirap yun ano ho? And they have seminarians not only for the Diocese of Imus but other dioceses too.
And the other recipient is a relatively new parish in Cavite, Tanza, Cavite - St. John Paul II, is relatively new. It is a, I remember nung bishop ako doon, hinihintay na lang namin na palayasin kami doon sa lupa na kinatatayuan ng chapel kaya pag pupunta ako doon at makikipag meeting dun sa mga may-ari ng lupa, kuntodo ngiti ako. Ngiti! Angel! Angel! Para hindi palayasin, para tulungan, and now it is already a parish. You know, most of the parishioners come from the lower bracket of society, living in very uncertain situations. While they want to support the parish, and they do in their own ways, the parish does a lot to support them. Feeding, mga medical assistance ano po, and education so ah the parish priest is here also, si Fr. Ronel Ilano. Pari po yan maniwala kayo.
And hopefully in the coming days, you will be attentive to the calling. Some situations are in need of angels. That's it, you don't have… we don't have to change the course of history but little acts of kindness, a message of hope will make a lot of difference.
So thank you very much, ano po. And we thank Mr. Keng, Mrs. Keng and the Keng family for being so kind in hosting the celebration. He literally forced us kasi sina Nanay naman parang “Wag na matanda na hindi na ano…” but ah the Keng family said “no no no” we have not been together and we have not celebrated the past three years so we should celebrate. So thank you very much po, thank you very much.
And si Fr Jun Sescon, the chaplain here outgoing chaplain, thank you very much for preparing everything here in the chapel. Si Fr Jun Sescon, his father is from Indang, Indang, Cavite, so may lahi rin po siyang Caviteno. Kaya ingat kayo sa kanya.
We celebrate the gift of the angels and as they guide us and guard us let us also guard and guide each other.