MANILA, Dec. 12, 2013—With only two weeks left before the world celebrates the birth of Christ, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle called on the Filipino faithful to celebrate the season with joy by repenting from their sins and seeing the world in God’s light.
Noting the importance of careful preparation for the coming of the Lord, Tagle urged the laity to avoid prejudice in their judgments when looking at the lowly and perceive things in accordance to the light radiated by the Divine.
“It is not just tints, shades, and colors that influence the way we see things. Sometimes, we allow different ‘lights’ or influences to determine what we see and what we do not see,” Tagle said in his talk during the Advent Recollection he facilitated on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Maybe there is a need for us to review and change the lights that influence the way we see our neighbors, the way we perceive life and everything that happens in the world,” Tagle added.
He emphasized the need for the faithful to change the way they perceive things and be more careful in allowing external factors to influence the way they make judgments and decisions in their day-to-day lives.
“If it is God dawning in Jesus, then we will see the true work of our brothers and sisters especially the poor. We will understand the meaning of life, we will see our true worth, we will see a neighbor even in our enemies, and we will see that our sufferings can be an occasion for us to come closer to God,” he added.
“With the light of God’s love in Jesus, we will know definitely that Jesus has come. He is with us and God is with us,” Tagle said.
The senior prelate also warned the public from taking for granted the guiding presence of God’s light, adding that they must carefully scrutinize the light that they will “allow to enter (in their) hearts and minds so (they) can truly see.”
“Our response is through seeing. Light helps us see. Light enables us to see. But seeing is both natural and personal—personal in the sense that seeing is an act of freedom…We can choose to see or not to see, we can choose what to see and what to ignore,” Tagle noted.
“What light do I use to look at other people? To view reality? To view life itself? Is the light of Christ the main source of my vision?” he asked the laity.
Need for conversion
This Christmas season, Tagle said that the challenge for the faithful is to bring themselves back to Christ and “repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.”
In his homily, Tagle downplayed external rituals and said that what matters is to live a converted life that reflects one’s repentance from sins.
“It is easy to perform rituals but the performance alone does not guarantee that we really have repented from our sins or that we have changed or transformed as human beings,” he said, noting that what matters are the actions in life that would prove a person’s conversion for the better.
He also devalued labels, connections, and conventions, noting that real repentance goes beyond superficial factors.
“What we need to see is the manifestation of your repentance…Are you really a changed person? That goes beyond labels and connection,” Tagle noted.
He challenged the faithful to use the lessons they have acquired to repent from their sins and lead converted lives.
“It does not end here. The celebration of the recollection should bear fruit to the conversion of life…Show it in your life. What we want to see is the evidence that you are really welcoming the messiah,” Tagle said. (Jennifer Orillaza)