ILOILO, May 16, 2016 – Instead of giving a politically colored homily with his opening line “Change is coming!”, a priest instead stressed that true change comes with the Holy Spirit.
“You might have thought that I am a supporter of the incoming president of the Republic. I will not tell you who I voted for. My vote is my personal choice. But I tell you ‘Change is coming’ because when the Holy Spirit comes then change is coming,” said Msgr. Alejandro P. Esperancilla during a Mass to celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost at the San Isidro Labrador Parish in Zarraga, Iloilo, on May 15.
As presider and homilist of the solemn concelebrated Eucharistic celebration, the rector of St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary of Jaro stressed the readings of the Mass of Pentecost point to a common theme: “When the Holy Spirit comes, then change also comes.”
The priest said: “With the Holy Spirit you can do more. With the Spirit of God you have new possibilities, not disabilities. With the Holy Spirit, you receive courage that drives away all fear and all doubts.”
Learning from San Isidro Labrador
Taking a lesson from the life of the patron saint of the town whose feast day this year coincided with the Solemnity of Pentecost, the priest said, “The work of the Holy Spirit is manifest in the life of San Isidro Labrador.”
According to Esperancilla, the saint was said to have heard Mass daily before going to work in the fields and was also known to be such a “conscientious worker” that, even when pressed for time, “he produced more than the other farmers.”
He, however cautioned the faithful from believing the pious story that an angel substituted San Isidro in his work in the field.
“This is a legend!” the priest exclaimed, telling Mass attendees to refrain from “adopting attitudes of passivity thinking that an angel will do our work in the office even if we arrive late.”
He said the moral of the story, instead, is to “first to put in order your soul, put in order your relationship with God. Seek first the Kingdom of God.”
“Just as in the life of San Isidro Labrador, we can do more when we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us. This is the first change that has to take place.”
Working for God
According to the priest, San Isidro’s life and the Mass’ Second Reading show that “work has a purpose.”
“San Isidro was a worker. What did he work for? We can see in his life that he found joy in his work, but he did not work just to fill his coffers.”
Quoting St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, he said, “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons.”
“We are not slaves anymore of money or of wanting to possess more. On the other hand, we are children. We work because we want to love. We work because we want to help. This is the change that the Holy Spirit brings us.” (Fr. Mickey Cardenas / CBCP News)