The Bishops Homily – Day 6 Misa De Gallo

Day Six: Misa De Gallo
21 December 2016 and the night before (Simbang Gabi)
Sg 2: 8-14 or Zep. 3: 14-18
Lk. 1: 39-45

Introduction: After the angel’s Annunciation to Mary of her becoming the mother of Jesus, our Savior, the first thought that came to her mind was to “set out and travel to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah” to be of help to her elderly cousin, Elizabeth, pregnant with her child. Helping someone in need or serving the various kinds of poor in our society is the best way to express our thanks, our Eucharist to God for his many benevolent blessings to us. The models and inspiration of communion on this sixth day of Simbang Gabi/Dawn Masses is Mary’s genuine care and concern to someone in need on one hand and Elizabeth’s humble welcoming acceptance of her cousin’s help on the other.

(1) One of our young priests died last week, 13 December 2016 at the age of 42 just after 5 years of Ordination last 23 September 2011. He is Fr. Joel (Jose Eliseo) B. Buenviaje, Jr., Parish Priest of Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buenviaje in old Balara, Diliman, QC. He left with his death the following Projects: 272 Scholars from the Parish and his 11 Personal Scholars; Tutorial called Project LIFE to 32 Youth; Weekly Food Packs from Albergus with additional items like rice from the Parish for 100 persons; a promised Food Packs for Christmas to 200 Families; and a weekly Catechism for 40 Wives and 22 Husbands and a 78 years old sick man by the name of Buddy Salvador who is abandoned by his family now under the deceased Priest’s care. I thank all the people who contributed to his projects in lieu of flowers during his wake.

(2) Since this Diocese has the greatest concentration of poor people and informal settlers or urban dwellers in Metro Manila, every parish is challenged to have a few pro-poor projects; otherwise, it is at risk of appearing merely as business enterprise! I thank the Faithful of the Diocese for supporting the parishes with their Balik-Handog and other ways of helping their Church through tithing and other means of support like outright donation for their parish like for the construction of Kristong Hari Parish—the upcoming Shrine for the Youth in the Diocese. For the time is coming soon when all semblance of paying for the sacraments and other church services will not be the ordinary way of supporting your Church anymore.

(3) Today is the 51st year of my Ordination to the Priesthood. My way of thanking God for the gift of Priesthood to me is sending students from poor families to finish College as a way to draw families out of poverty. That was how I finished as a priest myself through the help of a family that adopted me. Up to now, I remember them at my Mass together with my parents and the many benefactors that helped me throughout my priestly life. Help a priest or a Religious and you will have someone praying for you.

Conclusion: May we grow in the habit of helping the poor because God has been good to us more than we deserve like Mary. And may we be humble enough to receive help when we need to like Elizabeth.

Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD
Bishop of Novaliches

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