MANILA, Feb. 7, 2016— A top Philippine churchman on Sunday said nothing can prevent God from being merciful and compassionate to people— not even sin.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the Archbishop of Manila, assured the faithful that God will never leave or forsake his people no matter how deep in sin they may be.
“God is a gracious God. Instead of driving sinful people away, God comes close,” Tagle said in his homily during a belated Bible Sunday Mass at the Manila Cathedral.
But when God comes close to you, he said, that is the beginning of mission.
“Since you have heard, experienced, and have been transformed by the Word of God, you also have to proclaim it. Be a prophet, be an apostle,” added the prelate.
The cardinal further reflected on today’s readings which tell the stories of disciples: Isaiah, Paul, and Peter, who answered God’s calling to the best of their capabilities.
The Bible Sunday was originally scheduled on Jan. 31 but many dioceses had to move the event to another date because it coincided with the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu City.
But this is not to say that they were all perfect persons, he said, adding that the three also made mistakes.
What is important, he said, is that all of them had overcame their weaknesses by placing their trust in the Lord.
“The fruit of God’s mercy to Isaiah, Peter, and Paul was their mission. They became bearers of God’s words,” Tagle said.
“And it was not through intellectual, emotional way. They proclaimed the Word because they have experienced God’s living word — mercy,” he added.
Ending his homily, Tagle said: “I invite you to a moment of silence. Jesus seems to be calling us. ‘Whom shall I send?’ Like Isaiah, we could say, ‘Here am I, Send me.’” (Roy Lagarde / CBCPNews)