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FULL TEXT: Homily of Most Rev. Honesto F. Ongtioco, DD on the Solemnity of Pentecost

Isang pinagpala at magandang araw po sa ating lahat at happy feast day. As we celebrate the birth of our holy mother, the Church. Papansinin niyo siguro bago iyong aming suot, yung kulay. For 7 weeks we were wearing white when we celebrate mass. Ngayon po, pula because it means boldness. It is associated with blood, life, courage. Iyan ang dulot ng Banal na Espiritu. Now the Feast of the Pentecost is also celebrated by the Jews. So yung mga Jews po they all celebrate Pentecost to commemorate that day when Moses received that law from God on Mt. Sinai. That’s what they celebrate when the Jews celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. Sa aten iba. It’s not just receiving a law. It’s more than that. It’s receiving once again a God who comes into our hearts; a God who comes into our life to change us, to come up with a new creation. And so the Pentecost means a new Church, a new community after the heart of God.

Itong pandemya ang daming dulot na pagbabago. Dati po natandaan ko kapag may sakit yung bata ang nagaalaga, tayo rin dumaan dito diba, ang ating nanay binabantayan tayo. Siya lang, pumapaypay, tinitignan ka. Ngayon dahil sa pandemya kapag may sakit ang isang tao lahat ng community concerned pag nilalagnat. Diba? Dati kapag bumahing ka, nag-sneeze ka, “God bless you”. Ngayon pag nag-sneeze ka magpa-quarantine ka. Ang daming pagbabago, mga changes. Pero ito rin ang pinapaalala sa atin ng Pentecost, pagbabago. At sana po, katulad ng sinasabi ng mga kabataan, “sana all”. Ibig sabihin ang mabuti sa atin sana mapa sa lahat. Anong kabutihan ang ginagawa ng Holy Spirit sana mapa sa lahat. Because God comes to give us a new creation, a new heart.

So ito ang ating mapupuna in the first reading;. It’s an account of the Pentecost. Ito ay ang katuparan ng pinangako ni Hesus na ipadadala, isusugo ng kanyang Ama ang Banal na Espiritu upang lahat ng kanyang tinuro kanilang maalala at maunawaan. At nangyare po iyon nung dumating ang Banal na Espiritu. And yet we are told it came through noise as it were because the spirit is a spirit. Hindi mo makikita. And yet somehow they felt the coming of the spirit through strong driving wind and it filled the entire house at there were tongues as of fire, which pardoned came down to rest on each one of them. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues as the spirit enabled them to proclaim. Yung mga dating nagtatago at takot lumantad dahil takot silang mamatay, nandoon sila napuspos ng Banal na Espiritu at hayagang buong tapang kanilang ipinahayag ang mabuting balita. 

And we were told that they spoke in different tongues. Una po yung tongue, it means to proclaim. And yet tongue, hindi lamang po they were understood because… when you come to think of it the whole Palestine is about 15 regions. And we are told they came from particular regions mostly from Galilee. At sila po ay hindi nag-aral pero nung sila ay nangaral naunawaan, naintindihan ng lahat nang nakikinig sa kanila. Anong ibig sabihin noon? Naintindihan lang yung mga salita? It’s more than listening to the words that the apostles spoke, that they proclaimed. Tumagos ang pagmamahal ng Diyos sa puso ng bawat nakikinig. That’s more important. When the love of God pierces through your heart, through your life then you are changed, if you respond. Many people have responded to this.

In my 48 years of ministry ang daming mga tanda kung paano yung Banal na Espiritu kumikilos, gumagalaw sa buhay ng tao. Sa counselling, sa anointing, sa pagbibigay namin ng sakramento kitang kita mo yung galaw ng spirit. Sa counselling minsan nakausap ko, isang tao dahil sa pagsama niya sa kanyang, sa prayer group. Na-analyze niya ang buhay niya. “Hindi ito pwedeng mangyare” sabi niya. Hiniwalayan ang unang asawa, may dalawang anak, may kinakasama. Syempre hindi sila pwedeng kasal. Ginawa naging klaro sa kanyang sarili balikan ang kanyang asawa, bumawe. Paano niya nagawa iyon? It’s the Holy Spirit working in his heart. 

Kwento ng isang pari yung isang nakikinig, nakikiisa sa online mass. Iyon pong parishoner tinitipon lahat before the TV set to join the online mass. Katulong, mga apo, anak lahat sila nagdarasal. Sometimes the grandmother would remind them of the teachings, of what they heard from the preaching of the priest. Minsang sabi niya narinig nung bata, yung pangangailangan ng simbahan because of this present crisis, so we have a difficulty in our operational expenses. So merong isang bata sabi niya, “lola may ibibigay ako sa parish.” “Ano yun apo?” “Sandali lang po.” Pumasok sa kwarto, pagbalik ito dala niya puro barya. Sabi niya, “oh anong gagawin mo diyan?” “Lola ibibigay ko sa parish priest.” “Oh magkano yan?” “308 pesos pero dahil kailangan po ng parokya ibibigay ko.” A little boy inspired by the spirit. I’m sure that is precious to him pero todo bigay. 

May nakausap ako noon sa parokya when I was assigned a parish, and then I remember medyo may hindi pagkaunawan. I was just silent ang daming sinabi. And then after some time bumalik itong ale. Then sabi niya “Father sana pagpasensyahan mo na ako matanda na ako.” It’s the power of the spirit my dear friends that is at work in our hearts. Kaya ito rin ang sinasabi no, sa Gospel. We are sent just like the apostles to be witnesses, kaya yung unang bati ni Hesus ay peace. Anong ibig sabihin ng peace? Kapayapaan, reconciliation. May karapatan si Hesus manumbat, pagalitan ang kanyang mga matapat na kaibigan niya, supposed to be, inaasahan niya. Pero yung unang pagtagpo nila after they abandon Him, what was His first greeting? “Peace My friends. Forget about the past, I’m here to give you a new heart. A new spirit.”

Ito po ang Pentecost. (Patuloy) na nangyayare sa ating buhay. Kaya ano ang nagbibigay sa atin ng (lakas) upang patuloy ang mga gawain natin, upang tayo ay patuloy na tumawag sa Diyos, “Come, Holy Spirit heal us!” Pagalingin mo kami sa mga sugat dulot ng pandemya na ito. Sa mga sugat dulot ng aming mga kasalanan. Sana makabawi kami. Binibigyan tayo ng pagkakataon ng Diyos araw araw makabawi. So today we will end, formally, the Pentecost, the Easter Season with the Feast of Pentecost. Pero it does not end. Every end has a new beginning. In fact sa simbahan po every Sunday we celebrate mass and we celebrate as it were easter. For that was the first feast that was celebrated in the early church. Ang pagkabuhay ni Hesus dahil ito ay binigyan tayo ng panibagong pag-asa. The resurrection of Jesus has made us a new creation. A creation after the heart of God. Full of love, full of mercy, ready to forgive, ready to give us a second chance so that we could rise to a new life. We could become the new people he wants us to be. A people after the heart of a loving God, full of compassion, patience, forgiving and full of charity. 

Sana ipagpatuloy po natin ang ating mga natuklasan itong panahon ng pandemya. Maraming nakakatuklas ang kahalagahan ng panalangin. Many people have returned to God by praying more. People have returned to God by hungering for the Eucharist; for the mass because they’ve been deprived to receive Jesus sacramentally. So nandon umalab muli. Sana hindi maaalis ito, nawawala parang bula. So when we go back to the new normal, sana po a new heart full of the spirit, filled with love, peace, joy which God gives to all in coming to us through the power of the spirit. Tulad ng mga apostol. Sana tayo ay maging matapang buong tatag, isabuhay ang pananampalataya at ipahayag ang pagmamahal ng Diyos sa ating pang araw araw na pamumuhay. Amen.

 

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