Transcript of Homily of the Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, D.D.; Concluding Mass; 3rd Diocesan Liturgical Congress

My dear brothers and sisters in the Liturgical Apostolate of our parishes…I am happy to have you all together in this Liturgical Congress of our Diocese. I would like to thank Fr. Bobot for the good attendance of a real “congress”.

Our Liturgy is a prayer of the Church. A prayer and worship of the Whole Church. It is a prayer and worship, the high worship and the high praise of the whole people of God as one. And therefore, in our Liturgy, the expression should be oneness. Oneness in prayer, oneness in posture, oneness in our own singing, oneness in our words and responses.

I would like to stress to you the expression of this oneness in this Liturgical Conference.

Our posture. At the first part of the Mass during the Readings: Readings of the Word of God. In the First and Second Reading, we sit. In the Gospel, out of respect for the Gospel, we stand. Every Reading should be very clear. The Word of God should not be wasted during that time. And that Word of God, which we listen sitting down or standing out of respect.

Sitting down because we show our being disciple when we sit down before the Lord’s Word, when the Word of God–when God speaks to us. In the Liturgy, God still speaks to us in the present time, in His words so that His word is always fresh. Do not think that because it is written in antiquity that it is old. No! Every time the Word of God is read before us and proclaimed, that Word is fresh here and now! It has meaning for every one of us.

And when we are listening to the Word of God, my dear brothers and sisters, the posture is listening! We do not read from your own individual missals. We do not read that powerful Reading from your own misalette. That is why we should lead our Faithful little by little from that misalette that we all read during and when the Word of God is being proclaimed.

Then, because God Himself is the one speaking to us–to you individually, to each one of us individually–we listen attentively. When the Word is finished, when God has spoken, we say that we have received the Word of God, we say, “Thanks be to God!”

And we give a certain a silence after that. So that each and every one of us is given a time to illuminate the Word of God that has just been proclaimed, especially after the Gospel. After the Gospel, we sit down but there should be silence…After the Gospel, on Sundays, the priests we are bound to give the homily–short but meaty…

The homilist is speaking an explanation of the Good News…now, after that, again, silence. Hindi makatapos ng Homily ng pari, “let us all stand”. Give time. Why? The priest has just spoken to explain. Give a little time so that God will be the one to speak to each and every one in the audience. In that gathering of people that is praising God–the right place and the right worship.

My brothers and sisters, this is what I would like to emphasize in this Liturgical Conference: during the readings, little by little we lead out from the habit of the misalette…veering the people little by little, so that we all will be trained to listen.

Of course, I hope–I like this Church, this Sanctuary, the Santuario kasi ang klaro ng microphone. I wish all Churches were like that. Do not waste the Word of God by having a bad microphone. So pagbalik ninyo from this Conference to your parishes, check the microphone in your parish and tell your priest, “Father, masama ang ating microphone. Hindi namin nakukuha ang Word of God.”

Sometimes the microphone is the good, but the reader reads very fast! Parang automatic na lang ang Word. You have to pause and take time and really proclaim the Word. You know my dear brothers and sister, this is already proclamation, this is already evangelization kasi once na lang tayo magmeet ng Sundays–the Day of the Lord, and we are encouraged to come with our own people to worship God.

So this is the emphasis for this Liturgical Conference…and I hope what you learned from this, you will plant this in your parishes. Otherwise, sayang ang Conference! When you return and stay the same, bakit pa kayo pumunta rito? Para lang may…sana nga every time you have this, we come and learn something.

God bless you!