The Prefect of Propaganda Fide Gives a Message of Hope on the Feast of the Annunciation
by Margaux Salcedo
In his homily on March 25, Wednesday, for the Feast of the Annunciation mass at the Pontificio Collegio Filippino livestreamed to almost half a million viewers and counting, His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle addressed the anxieties that people are going through due to COVID-19 as he reflected on the story of Mary.
God is with us
First he stressed that God is with us, God continues loving us, and God saves.
The Annunciation, he explained, was the beginning of the Incarnation: a silent and mysterious event that changed the world because at that moment, "in the fullness of time and the fullness of love, heaven and earth would unite in that Womb, in that Son - truly God but also truly human ... for God so loved the world He sent us his only Son."
This is good news to us as we all face this universal crisis and we are all crying out for help: God continues loving. God sends his son.
He added, "Even during the time of Isaiah, in the time of need, even of conflict, God promises a sign. And it is not something, it is someone: Emmanuel. God with us."
Jesus, he reminded us, is another name which means "God saves".
"God is with us not just to be 'cutie-cutie' with us. God is with us as someone who saves."
Jesus, he reminded listeners, by assuming a body "assumed our condition, our temptations, our weakness, our frailty, our sickness, our cares, our sighs ... and he will take all of them to do the will of the Father. And we are saved."
Physical Distancing Should Not Eliminate Community Caring
"We are appealing to everyone to observe physical distancing where possible but the Feast of today reminds us: physical distancing should not lead to forgetfulness of neighbor," Cardinal Tagle emphasized.
Physical distancing is for the common good ... but physical distancing should not eliminate community caring.
"This is a pandemic," His Eminence explained. "Pan (means) all; demos (means) people. It affects all people. And so we should think of all. And the response should be common for all. Common caring."
He added that God did not distance Himself from humanity; instead, in the fullness of time, the Son of God came. God is with us.
Be Full of Grace
Finally, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples said that we should learn from Mary in how we could be co-workers.
The name Mary, he explained, is "almost synonymous to 'full of grace'". In encouraging all to emulate Mary Full of Grace, His Eminence said, "I hope our names would not be, 'Hello, Full of Anger! Hello, Full of Jealousy!"
One who is full of grace is very humble, recognizing one's own limitations and incapacities, and then simply waiting for the assurance from the Holy Spirit.
One who is full of grace is attuned to God's plan, available, empty yet ready to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
One who is full of grace magnifies the Lord.
"This is how we would cooperate with Gods' continuing saving presence and action," Cardinal Tagle said.
The Dawn from On High
Cardinal Tagle narrated that when someone asked him how Catholics know that the Annunciation happened on the 25th of March, he admitted that he did not really did not know the answer but simply counted back nine months from December 25, the recognized day of Christ's birth and concluded that March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, marks the day Christ was conceived.
Christ, he reminded everyone, who would be born to show everyone the Light.
He ended on a note of hope -
Something unexpected - something, someone - will emerge.
The Dawn from on high.
And it begins today.
At 7:00 p.m. Manila time (12 noon Rome), Pope Francis led the world in praying the Our Father, live via Vatican Media Live.
At 9:00 p.m. Manila time, Cardinal Tagle continued for the second week the recitation of the Holy Rosary urged by Pope Francis (Manila Cathedral rector Fr. Regie Malicdem with Fr. Kalil Pietre Llamado led the Rosary live from the Manila Cathedral on the first week).
Over a million viewers joined in praying the Rosary with Cardinal Tagle.
As per the Guardian's worldwide data tracker, as of March 25, there have been almost half a million (466,836) COVID-19 cases, with 75,000 (74,386) in Italy. There have been over 20,000 deaths although almost 115,000 have recovered.
As per the Philippines Department of Health, as of March 25, they recorded 84 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 636.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. It has been declared by the World Health Organization to be a pandemic.