by Joel V. Ocampo
1. The Gospel and the Second Reading today made me realize that like John the Baptist, I am but a herald for Christ our Savior.
2. As Christ’s herald, I too must proclaim God’s mercy. I stand here before you today as that herald.
3. Your Holiness, thank you for your trust and confidence, your constant and living witness has the greatest herald of God’s mercy in our times is truly my inspiration in shepherding Christ’s flock.
4. The scourge has crippled us with many ways, but it has enabled us too, in more creative ways and has made us see clearly the things that we value most in our lives.
5. Some people may actually think that God has abandoned us, but instead, for us steadfast believers, it simply shows forth God’s power in the midst of our helplessness.
6. We see God as our only help in our helplessness. God’s light shines on us in the midst of darkness.
7. The light of our faith allows us to see God’s mercy even in this low moment of darkness.
8. God has gifted us with faith so that we too can become gifts of faith to others; all of us are therefore gifted to give!
9. All of us, Filipinos, are called to take up such a challenge, in our respective ministry or area of responsibility, especially for us leaders of our nation and of our Church.
10. My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, I have nothing new to tell you today, except of my commitment to renew my heart’s desire to be a listening shepherd to the flock entrusted to my care.
11. Heeding the call of the Apostle Peter, let me renew my love for Christ once more, so that I may be able to give a shepherd’s care to the flock He has entrusted to me.
12. If the Lord were to use me as His herald, then that means, I must listen attentively to Christ.
13. Please pray for me that I may have a heart after that of Christ our Good Shepherd – a listening shepherd to Christ’s bidding – ever ready to suffer for and serve Christ’s sheep.
14. It is my ardent desire to listen to all but especially to the lambs which represent our youth and other people in the peripheries; because of less attention given them by the Church.
15. I cannot feed my flock unless I listen first to their needs, their longings. While listening to them, I would be able to journey with them – in their sorrow and joy, in their suffering and glory – and collaborate work with them, to bring them closer to Christ.
16. As the newly installed Archbishop of Manila, I share in the mission of St. John the Baptist as Christ’s Herald. St. John the Baptist laid down his life for such a mission. I believe it also demands nothing less of me.
17. In a mysterious fashion, God has called me to get away from my comfort zone, and serve Him in a manner far beyond my expectations; and it demands of me a lot more than I can give if I am to shepherd His flock after His own heart.
18. Let me be a listening shepherd to you all, and let us learn from one another how to listen after the heart of Christ our Good Shepherd.
19. We are no more than Christ’s heralds and instruments. Yet, if we remain faithful until the end, the Apostle Peter assures us, “When the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:4).
20. My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, let us entrust ourselves to our Blessed Mother, the brightest herald of all times; in her loving embrace, we always find hope and consolation, strength and inspiration.