A Revolution of Grace

A Revolution of Grace

Here’s the homily of Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan during the closing Mass for the “Twenty-one Days of Prayer for National Healing” at the Basilica of Our Lady of Manaoag on August 5, 2020:

Jesus said “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division”…revolutionary words from a revolutionary Lord.

When He was only three months old in the womb, His mother sang “He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty”…revolutionary words from the mother. I wonder who was the first revolutionary—the mother or the Son?

Revolutionaries of a different revolution. Revolutionaries with invisible weapons. Revolutionaries in an invisible war. Revolutionaries ready to die rather than cause others to die. Revolutions waged in this world for the sake of a new world to come. Revolutionaries who revolt against no one but themselves. Revolutionaries who change the world by first changing their hearts.

If the Lord is a revolutionary and His mother is just like Him, how can we not be revolutionaries?

Pontius Pilate and the Jews condemned the Lord to death charged with rebellion, subversion and sedition against the emperor. What did the revolutionary mother do as her Son was hanging on the cross? Did she scream? Did she shout? Did she protest? Did she rush to stop the hands with the hammer nailing her Son? Was she hysterical? Did she wail?

Mary the revolutionary did not stop the crucifixion of her revolutionary Son. She could not. Was she passive and mute? She seemed helpless to stop the crucifixion. It seemed like darkness had its glorious moment at that time. But she stood there with admirable nobility to stop more hatred, stop more bitterness, stop more heartlessness, stop more blasphemy–from filling the air. In standing there quietly, she became the opposite of all that the crowd had become—she brought soothing gentleness, forgiveness, peace and calm. She refused to hate. She refused to shout. She revolted against the tide of bitterness, barbarity and vulgarity. She stood and resisted in silence—earthshaking silence.

It was a holy silent resistance. This is our revolution, without violence, without force, with God alone and only by the power of His love.

My dear brothers and sisters be like Jesus on the cross and Mary beneath it.

Like Mary at the foot of the cross, reject the culture of fake news by being truth tellers all the time no matter the sacrifice it may cost. Do not repeat gossip. Do not add to gossip. Do not laugh at gossip. Resign from your job as a troll and get back your dignity. The salary of a troll is Judas money.

Like May at the foot of the cross resist the culture of vulgarity and dirty words by saying more often words of respect and courtesy. “Thank you” and “Please” and “I am sorry”. Overcome barbaric tongues and obscene language by the power of good manners and civility. Revolt by being polite.

Like May at the foot of the cross, stand against the culture of bribe and graft in public life by living as a steward not as a boss. Everything and everybody is God’s; nothing and no one belongs to anyone. Remember the reality of death even as you live prosperously now. Sooner not later you will face the judgment of God. Revolt by being humble.

Like Mary at the foot of the cross, oppose the culture of name calling and slapstick jokes. Oppose it by choosing to be cultured and good mannered against all odds all the time. Celebrate what is right with the world. There is so much to celebrate. Revolt by being committed to decency.

Like Mary at the foot of the cross, stand against the tide of mediocrity, for leadership without vision is treason. We are all leaders in different ways. When you decide at home or at work, use common sense and reason; listen humbly to the wisdom of your enemies and most of all…pray. Stand up for excellence by being the best that you can be all the time.

Like Mary at the foot of the cross, resist the culture of death. In the name of God stop the killings of the unborn! In the name of humanity, hate sin and save the sinner. The criminal and the innocent both have human dignity bestowed not by human laws but by God. Let us overcome evil by the power of good.

This revolution of grace is not our own. It is for the soul of each one of us and for the soul of our nation. The whole of humanity wins in this revolution of love; no one is defeated except Satan, the prince of lies and king of darkness. This revolution has no dream to subvert; its goal is to inspire. This revolution is a rebellion against no one; it is only against sin. This is the revolution that Christ came for, the revolution He entrusted to us. Many among us are living proofs that this revolution is alive and they are our blessing.

Mabuhay po kayo health care workers and physicians; revolutionary front liners who risk your own lives that others may live. You have seen many deaths and we know your weariness; but we know that if we peep through your PPE we will see the face of God Himself in your weary faces… You are heroic revolutionaries of healing. You are Jesus for us in this pandemic.

Mabuhay po kayo teachers and educators. You struggle to teach by online learning against many obstacles. You care for the pupils like your own children. You will always be underpaid because only heaven can pay you as you deserve. You revolt against ignorance and illiteracy. Salamat po mga dakilang guro!

Mabuhay po kayo mga kababayang volunteers na tumutulong nang hindi nakikilala, tumutulong kahit sila’y nangangailangan din. Patunay po kayong ang Pilipino ay bayan ng magiting at hindi pasaway. You revolt against apathy and indifference. Salamat po.

Mabuhay po kayo mga sundalo at pulis, barangay tanod at barangay health workers. Mababa sa ranggo at maliliit ang suweldo subalit malakas ang kaloobang indahin ang init ng araw at lamig ng ulan gumaan lamang ang aming buhay. You revolt by showing us that public service is indeed honorable. Salamat po.

Mabuhay po kayo journalists and media friends. You stand for the truth and endure the blows. You are cursed and bashed; calumniated, defamed and slandered. Like Jesus you declare without fear the truth to Pilate despite his mocking. You are revolutionaries of truth and freedom.

Mabuhay po kayo kababayang Pilipino, mga mahal na kapatid kay Kristo. Maliit man o lihim, kubli man o lantad, tayong lahat ay likas na maka Diyos at makabayan.

Maghihilom ang bayang magiliw at masusugpo ang dilim. Sisikat ang madaling araw at muling ngingiti ang mukha ng Birhen.

Ang pag-ibig ng Panginoon ay mamamayani. Mabubuhay tayong muli at muling babangon. Sa awa ng Diyos at sa yakap ng ating Ina.