By: Antoine Mushagalusa SX
Most Reverend Antonio Tobias bishop of the Diocese of Novaliches, most reverend Fr. Mexicano Ferrer superior delegate of the Xaverian Missionaries in the Philippines, Reverend Fathers, Reverend deacons, Dear religious brothers and Sisters, Dear Parents, Dear brothers, and sisters, Good morning. I am standing in front of you on behalf of my two Brothers and companions Deacon Edgar Nava Perez and Deacon Ulrich Mokam Saa, to express our thankfulness. As I look at each one’s face now, I feel that this is the day the Lord has made for us, therefore let us rejoice and be Glad, Amen! Kung nararamdaman ninyo po rin katulad ko, palakpakan natin ang Panginoon! (If you feel the same way, let us give a big hand to the Lord)
Yes, it is a great joy that we come together today to fulfill what God expects from us: “To become one Single Family in Christ.” Therefore, we thank all you: our dear Xaverian Congregation around the world, dear friends coming from different corners of the Philippines and abroad and all the faithful of St Francis Xavier Parish. In a special way, we thank our Parents and relatives from Mexico, the hometown of deacon Edgar, our parents and relatives from Cameroun the country of deacon Ulrich and our parents and relatives from the R. D. of Congo for being part of this big family today and I hope you will continue to journey with us. Your proximity and faithfulness have made us feel the togetherness we dreamed of: To be with. At the same time, we want to thank Fr. Aldo Dos Santos and Brother Martin Mbende, who stand by us still with their spiritual help (a minute of remembrance!).
Our joy today is the joy of love. Yes, “I love the Lord, He is filled with Compassion, He turns to me on the day I called.” This sentence from Psalm 116 could describe concretely what Edgar, Ulrich and I are feeling today: If God has been so compassionate, generous and merciful to us, it is because He loves, desires and relies on us. Yes, today is a huge and deep revelation of His great love for us. This revelation has followed a continuous line that has a beginning, but no one knows the end. Therefore, the question that remains at the back of our minds is; how do we faithfully answer to and make this love become a life-giving reality in our days?
Dear friends, the theme of our Ordination helps us to answer to this quest; “To follow the example of the master, Jesus.” St John would say it better when he shows us the image of the teacher at the washing of the feet and the moral obligation to do the same (Cfr Jn 13:14-15). Being aware of this command, we feel really that our life is no longer ours; a reality that makes it difficult and demanding. I remember my years of basic formation: Propaedeutic, Philosophy and these five years of Theology. Many things have taken place; some of them were very touching and exciting like the welcoming party in the Philippines… I was in the middle, Ulrich on my left and Edgar on my Right. Each one of us was full of laughter and presented a shining face. Some other events were quite bitter like the day we first went to the Ateneo Language Learning Center where, without knowing a word in English, we were looking at each other and waiting for a reaction. When we would say a word, the others would ask, what do you mean? Indeed, after a while, you find out that you cannot communicate at all. But, the interesting part came into all of this. Honestly, we were all animated by the Spirit! It is all about the Spirit of love, Spirit of encounter and Spirit of Patience. We all became patient both in challenging and joyful moments so that we cooled down and learned.
However, the Spirit of patience has brought us to this day and helped us to feel happy, important and counted on by God and each one of you. I am sure that this is the reason why we are here today: to celebrate the fruit of the Kingdom in our midst, as it was in the mind of Francis Xavier, our Patron Saint. Of course, we want to follow the Example of the master, doing the same thing as himself especially in washing the feet of the poor, marginalized, oppressed, little and forgotten of our Church. We want to follow Christ in serving the others. Yes, though sometimes service becomes a sacrifice and a burden, though dedication leads to the Cross, though the Cross marks the end for some people; we want to follow Christ until He becomes formed in us (Cfr. Gal 4:19).
To carry out this promise we just make, we need your unceasing and continuous support that will bless our ways and allows God to be manifested in us all. Relying on the same Mercy of God, the company of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our mother, we wholeheartedly thank you and wish you a very happy Feast.
St Francis Xavier, Patron of our Parish, Pray for us!!
Merci. Aksanti. Gracias. Melesi. Gratie. Thank you. Maraming Salamat.