MANILA, June 27, 2016– On the occasion of the liturgical commemoration St. Josemaria Escriva, a Catholic bishop exhorted the faithful to learn from this saint in order to recognize God’s gifts and thus respond to the vocation God meant for them.
“St. Josemaria has touched our lives in one way or another. We are here today because we thank God for his being a precious gift to us and this gift has led us to live and love whatever vocation we have in our lives,” said Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara in his homily during the solemn Eucharistic celebration in commemoration of the founder of Opus Dei held at the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral on June 25.
To bring home the lesson the bishop explained that the readings of the Mass in honor of St. Josemaria “present to us three gifts and three vocations”.
Stewards of creation
“From the book of Genesis,” he said, “we once again listened to an excerpt from the creation story. God gave us the precious gift of human life.”
“From the gift of being human,” the bishop continued, “he entrusted us the vocation to care for the earth.”
Vergara, who chairs the bishops’ Commission on Social Communications, stressed that this vocation is “a responsibility we have to seriously take to heart.”
“Today,” he lamented, “we face the alarming reality of environmental degradation brought about by illegal logging, irresponsible mining, cyanide and dynamite fishing, waste mismanagement as well as air and water pollution. These have brought about devastating consequences as natural disasters have plagued our country, then, now and in the future.”
“Pope Francis tells us that as stewards of mother earth, we all have to “care for our common home.” Thus, the gift of our being human prods us to live out seriously our vocation to care for all of created life, our vocation as stewards of creation,” Vergara underlined.
Professing our faith
“From second reading, St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, we reflect on another precious gift, the gift of being children of God,” he said.
“The gift of being children of God necessitates that we live up to our vocation to be Christians, professing our faith in word and deed,” he explained.
But the prelate warned, “It is a fact that many of us are nominal Catholics and not in practice.”
“If we look forward to receive our eternal inheritance, we have to seriously live out our Christian vocation,” he stressed.
To lead others to Christ
“The third gift,” he said, “is revealed in our gospel reading from St. Luke on call of Simon Peter with the other fishermen. This is the gift of discipleship.”
“The gift of discipleship also meant a new vocation for Peter and his fellow fishermen. Their vocation was being sent on a mission to lead others to Christ.”
“Like the apostles, we have been given the gift of discipleship and the vocation to propagate our faith so that others may know, love and serve Jesus Christ.”
“If we are truly grateful to this gift, then we must share it. So who or what are we called to share? Clearly, he is no one else but Christ.”
“Pope Francis has challenged us to missionary disciples. And in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, if we want to live up to this challenge, he wants us to fulfill our mission by doing corporal and spiritual works of mercy,” Vergara said.
Learning from St. Josemaria
“These three gifts and three vocations were embodied in the life, person, teachings and witness of St. Josemaria,” Vergara pointed out.
With words from the saint, the bishop concluded: “We are children of God, bearers of the only flame that can light up the paths of the earth for souls, of the only brightness which can never be darkened, dimmed or overshadowed.”
“The Lord uses us as torches, to make that light shine out. Much depends on us; if we respond many people will remain in darkness no longer, but will walk instead along paths that lead to eternal life,” he said. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas/CBCPNews)