Clergy Birthday Celebrants and Sacerdotal Anniversaries for the Month of May

Clergy Birthday Celebrants and Sacerdotal Anniversaries for the Month of May

BIRTHDAY CELEBRANTS

 

Buenviaje,-Fr-Joel May 1
Rev. Fr. Joel Buenviaje
41 y/o
Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buen Viaje
May 2
Rev. Fr. Ariel Bejo, OFM Conv.
51 y/o
Saint Maximillan Kolbe Parish
May 6
Rev. Fr. Noel Flaviano, SS.CC.
56 y/o
Pagkabuhay Parish
May 8
Rev. Fr. Christopher Santos
38 y/o
Ina ng Buhay  Parish
May 11
Rev. Fr. Alvin Balean
36 y/o
San Isidro Labrador Parish
May 16
Rev. Fr. Roland Jaluag
46 y/o    Kristong Hari Parish
May 22
Rev. Fr. Noel Cruz, MS
54y/o
Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage
May 23
Rev. Fr. Albert N. Delvo
57 y/o
Holy Cross Parish
May 23
Rev. Fr. Mario Sanchez
55 y/o
Good Shepherd Cathedral
May 28
Rev. Fr. Luciano Felloni
42 y/o
Our Lady of Lourdes Parish
May 31
Rev. Fr. Hernan Batomalaque
35 y/o
Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish

 

SACERDOTAL ANNIVERSARIES

May 12
Rev. Fr. Eucinei Antonio deSouza, FDP
3rd year
Mother of Divine Providence Parish
May 18
Rev. Fr. Antonio D. dela Cruz, O.Carm.
14th year
The Our Father Parish
May 18
Rev. Fr. Victor Emmanuel I. Clemen
30th year
Holy Spirit Parish

 

RCBN’s Annual Staff R&R

11150446_10152921891968042_3768090724969817781_nIMG_063011174795_10152921978773042_5667453678059264404_n11174902_10152924183508042_2888448141940020995_nRCBN’s Annual Staff R&R

By Kish Quintano

 

It was a much anticipated occasion…what was supposed to be a land trek turned to a plane ride (a first for many of us). But amid all the confusion of who was and wasn’t going, what to and what not to bring, and of deciding what reasonable budget can be for the food expenses of the group, we all found ourselves at the Cebu Pacific lounge all set to board a plane to Davao, home to the famous Philippine Eagle, durian and of course Mt. Apo. Yes, from April 13-17, 2015 some 22 employees of RCBN plus Bishop Tobias and Msgr. Rañada had their annual staff R&R in the Durian capital.

The trip, though admittedly expensive, proved to be worthwhile, for it became not just recreational but educational, spiritual, social and a formative experience.

The learning part came immediately on our first stop which was the People’s Park. We were face to face with life-size statues that depicted everyday scenes in the lives of Davaoeños. Then came the Museum where we were informed of the city’s rich history, including how it got its name plus we were shown small samples of the different houses of the eleven (11) tribes that comprise the original dwellers of Davao. After learning about its people and history we then got to know of the city’s flora and fauna, some endemic to the province while the others found all over our country. Topping the list was the visit to the Philippine Eagle Center where we saw some of our monkey eating eagles bred in captivity and were treated to a bonus of having our pictures taken while having an eagle in our arm. The Crocodile Park was a misnomer for there were a lot of animals there too like snakes, birds, ostriches, orangutans, and a lot more. Eden Nature Park was heaven for flower enthusiasts for there our eyes feasted on varieties and colors of flowers and plants most of which we have seen for the first time. The Island hopping was source of learning still for there we were informed of how the islands got their name plus being shown a giant clam (Taclobo) right in our midst.

For the spiritual part, we had the opportunity to hear Mass at the San Pedro Cathedral right on our first day and then again as we visited Fr. Danny in his parish where Bishop Tobias, Msgr. Romy and Fr. Hernan concelebrated the mass which was timely for it was his birthday too.

The social aspect was visible in the teambuilding games we had where everyone eagerly participated in, including our two nuns and in the fellowship we shared as we ate our meals in different venues. Each one got to mix with other staff members he/she rarely had the opportunity to talk with while working.

Of course the recreational side was the time we got to go to places where we could just sit back, relax, enjoy the view and the company, eat foods we don’t normally have in Manila,  and sleep and wake up without worry of being late. All these at no or let’s say minimal expense.

Lest we forget there was the formation side too when Msgr. Rañada gave us a talk on working together as one team towards achieving our Bishop’s vision. He made us realize the strengths of our group but at the same time think of ways on how to remove the obstacles that inhibit us from working towards our goal of working as one team-the RCBN Team.

As a bonus to all that, here in Davao, I got to see our Bishop truly enjoying the place. There were times you’d see him dancing as others sang at the karaoke. As we played games he slept or watched as the mood struck him. But best of all I saw him truly enjoying and savouring the food. He would take seconds and say “ang sarap ‘no”.

In hindsight the Lord was very good to us. We were all just after the rest and recreation but He gave us more, so much more.

PPCRV Launches “One Good Vote” Election Campaign Nationwide

PPCRV Launches “One Good Vote” Election Campaign Nationwide
by AC Wilson

one-good-vote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 16, 2015— The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) launched “One Good Vote” as the flagship program for voters’ education and advocacy in preparation for 2016. “One Good Vote” is a grassroots and faith-impelled process of strengthening the personal and social consciences of the Filipino people by voting well and good and by rejecting all forms of vote-buying. PPCRV calls on all Dioceses to begin the training of trainers and volunteers early this year and to strategically select a particular sitio as a focal area for implementation. More than eighty (80) Dioceses are expected to participate.

The Diocese of Novaliches, through Rev. Fr. Antonio E. Labiao,Jr. takes charge of the module-making and preparations for the trainor’s training. They got a lot of insights working closely with Dilaab Foundation of Cebu, a non-profit, volunteer-driven, Christian movement helping the Filipino nation journey together towards integrity through deeper discernment.

In the primer distributed to all participants during the launching held at Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila, the words One, Good, and Vote were described. Briefly, “One” does not mean just “I” but “We” and emphasizes on the coming together of people to rebuild a nation by organizing for clean, honest, accurate, meaningful, and peaceful (CHAMP) elections. Whereas, “Good” means choosing a communion for the positive, the life-giving, and the hopeful vision of a society marked by GoodGovernance and respect for the Common Good. Lastly, “Vote” is a call to action.Good Votes are well-thought ones, based on values and tested criteria reflected in the “May KKK ba ng Kandidato mo?” Tool for Reflection included in the said program. Here, KKK stands for Karakter, Kakayahan, at Katapatan. Come May, PPCRV will follow-up the launching with a nationwide training of trainers.

 

Makibahagi sa Pagtatayo ng Ating BAHAY-PARI

Message of the Bishop

bahaypari-bishop

Kadalasan ang ating mga Diosesanong Pari ay walang mapuntahan at matirahan sa pagsapit ng kanilang katandaan. Ganun din naman kadalasan sa panahon ng kanilang kapaguran, karamdaman, panghihina at katamlayan kinakailangan nilang lumayo at dumayo pa sa ibang lugar para lamang ang kanilang pangangailangang magpahinga, magpalakas o magpagaling ay matugunan.

Sa itatayo at pagyayabunging Bahay-Pari sa ating Diyosesis ng Novaliches ang mga paring naglingkod sa atin at kasalukuyan pang naglilingkod sa mga pamayanan at mga parokya natin ay mabibigyan na natin ng maganda at maaliwalas na lugar, ibayong tulong, mabuting, pangangalaga at wastong pagkalinga. Ito ay nararapat lamang nating gawin at ipagkaloob sa kanila bilang tanda ng ating pagkilala at pasasalamat sa taos puso nilang pagbabahagi at pagbibigay ng sarili sa ating lahat bilang Simbahan.

Kung ating iisipin ang pinakamasiglang bahagi ng kanilang buhay at mga mabungang panahon ng kanilang kabataan ay kanilang ibinigay sa paglilingkod sa atin. Kaya naman pakundangan sa kanilang buhay, lakas, panahon, dunong at galing na ginugol nila para sa pagpapastol sa atin, hindi nga ba dapat lamang na atin naman silang tulungan at kalingain, damayan at arugain lalu’t higit sa mga huling panahon at sandali ng kanilang buhay?

Kaya naman inaanyayahan ko kayong tumulong at makibahagi sa pagtatayo at pagtataguyod ng Bahay-Pari ng ating Diyosesis ng Novaliches. Ito ay isang magandang paraan at kapuri-puring pagpapahayag ng ating pagmamahal, pagmamalasakit, pasasalamat at pagkilala sa ating mga pari, sa kanilang pagkatao, kabutihan, pagsisikap at pagtitiyaga na tayo ay mapabuti at mailapit sa Panginoong Diyos, at gayun nga ay tuluyang mapalapit sa Kanya. Halina at ating itayo ang Bahay-Pari ng Novaliches at ating siguruhin ang mabuting hinaharap ng lahat ng mga paring pastol at lingkod natin.

 

Nagmamahal,

bishop-signature

 

 

 

bahaypari-inside1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A multi-layered building next to the church of the Visitation of Our Lady Parish

For Retirement:

• Five (5) Service Rooms for Assisted Living

• Two (2) Infirmary/Convalescence Wards

• Reading and Visitors’ Lounge

• Gym, Dip Pool and Therapeutic Rooms

• Inner Courtyard and Lawn Garden

 

bahaypari-inside2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Retreat and Recollection:

 

• Conference Hall (60 pax)

• Fifteen (15) Service Rooms

• Consultation and Prayer Room

• Lounges

• Dining Facility and Kitchen Service

• Game Room and Mini Bar

 

BAHAY PARI
Novaliches Clergy
Retreat and Retirement Home
Construction and Development Board

Chairman
His Excellency Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD
Bishop of Novaliches

Vice-Chairman
Rev. Msgr. Jesus Romulo C. Ranada
Vicar General for Administration

BOARD MEMBERS

Rev. Fr. Antonio Labiao
Vicar General for Pastoral Affairs

Rev. Fr. Marlou Lemaire
Oeconomus

Rev. Fr. Rudy Tulibas
Construction Project Manager

Engr. Alan Alfiler, MPIC, ASEP
Structural Engineer/Consultant

Arch. Dhorie M.C. Candelaria, FUAP
Architect/Building Plan and Design

Mr. Isabelo Bascuguin
VOLP Pastoral Council Vice Chairman

Mrs. Estelita Macalaguim
Former CLAN President

 

 

A three-storey building with basement parking and roof deck, the proposed Novaliches Bahay-Pari will house the clergy retreat and retirement facilities of the Diocese. To commence construction in May 2015, the Bahay-Pari when completed is to serve immediately as home for three of our retired priests in the Diocese and for two others set to join them in three years time.

On the ground floor of the Bahay-Pari building is the main administrative office where five service rooms for retired priests are available. A common dining room and kitchen facilities, a visitors’ parlor and lounge are provided for convenience and for community life. A courtyard lawn garden sits in the middle of the facility. Across it are two infirmary or convalescence wards, each with three beds fitted with ICU equipment. A nurse and doctor station next to them completes the clinical facility with a nurse quarter for even greater ease and accessibility. For spiritual and sacramental needs of its residents, a short walkway links the Bahay-Pari to the Visitation of Our Lady Parish Church next door.

Right above the administrative office is the main retreat facility. Although mainly for the use of the Clergy, this facility will also be open to other groups. On the second floor is a conference room for sixty persons. A dining area and kitchen facilities, a consultation and prayer room, lounges and reading places with a good view of the courtyard garden below gives the area an air of space and convenience. Serviced by an elevator from the ground up for even greater mobility for residents and guests, this service floor leads to the upper third floor where one finds fifteen service rooms with individual balconies. This more private living quarters has a double room and the rest single rooms. Lounges dot the area from where one can take a look into the open garden court two levels below.

Finally, on the topmost level of the building is the roof deck for storage and laundry facilities. With ample space yet available right on this floor, residents and guests still have a place here for group dynamics. An exercise room or gym, a sauna or dip pool, a game room and a mini bar complete the facilities where priests can relax or simply enjoy a good mountain view of the Sierra Madre Range.

Project construction cost of the Bahay-Pari is FORTY MILLION PESOS (40M). With initial funds coming from the Diocese of Novaliches amounting to FIVE MILLION PESOS only drawn from the Priests’ Bination-Trination Fund (i.e., savings of stipends priests receive for their 2nd and 3rd Masses), the project to be completed would therefore need an additional THIRTY-FIVE MILLION PESOS. This we hope to solicit from priests and their generous friends and benefactors.

15 donors of P1,000,000.00 each = P15,000,000.00

10 donors of P 500,000.00 each = P 5,000,000.00

20 donors of P 250,000.00 each = P 10,000,000.00

30 donors of P 100,000.00 each = P 3,000,000.00

40 donors of P 50,000.00 each = P 2,000,000.00

Total Amount of Gifts/Donation P 35,000,000.00

A priest with his community, relatives or friends who either individually or collectively give ONE MILLION PESOS as contribution to the Bahay-Pari construction project can have the privilege to dedicate a room in the name of this particular priest to remember him by and celebrate his priestly life and ministry.

For Inquiries: Mrs. Kishwer Quintano at the
Vicar General Administration Office
461-5067 / 461-5074

For Donation:

• Please make checks payable to:
   RCBN BAHAY PARI

• For bank transfer: Metrobank C.A. 437-7437905041

 

bahaypari-locationmap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Social Action Commission CST-Start Workshop 2015

The Social Action Commission CST-Start Workshop 2015 

By: Mayen Acebron, RSW

This year is the “Year of the Poor” thus the Social Action Commission (SAC) Diocesan Team has designed the Catholic Social Teaching (CST)- Starter Workshop for parish leaders such as the parish EXECOM and Ministry Coordinators. The main objective of the workshop is to provide parish leaders with basic knowledge on Catholic Social Teachings as guiding principles for the activation and strengthening of SAC programs in their respective parishes. This is a great opportunity for parish leaders to understand the situation of the poor and eventually work hand in hand with their SSDM coordinator in empowering the poor families in their respective parishes.

This workshop will be conducted per vicariate for two consecutive Saturdays.  There were two vicariates that have already completed the workshop.

[slideshow_deploy id=’913′]

The Good Shepherd Vicariate was the first vicariate to experience the workshop last February 21, 2015 at Caritas Novaliches office. It was attended by fifty four (54) parish leaders from seven (7) parishes. The second part of the workshop for the same vicariate was conducted on February 28, 2015 and it was attended by forty three (43) parish leaders.

The Vicariate of San Bartolome was the second one to attend the CST-Starter Workshop last March 21, 2015 at Caritas Novaliches office. It was attended by twenty-three (23) participants from five parishes.   On their second day March 28, 2015 twenty (20) leaders attended from four (4) parishes. The Christ the King of the Universe parish did not have representatives that day.

Vicariate  Proposed Date forWorkshop
Holy Spirit Vicariate and

 St. Peter Vicariate

May 9, 2015 and May 16, 2015
Ascension of Our Lord Vicariate May 30, 2015 and June 6, 2015
Our Lady of Mercy Vicariate June 13, 2015  and June 20, 2015
Ina ng Lupang Pangako Vicariate June 27, 2015 and July 4, 2015
San Isidro Labrador Vicariate July 11 and  July  18, 2015
Our Lady of Lourdes Vicariate August 8, 2015  and August 15, 2015
Sto. Nino Vicariate September 1, 2015 and September 8, 2015
Christ the King Vicariate October 10, 2015 and October 17, 2015

Below is the upcoming schedule of CST-Starter Workshop for other vicariates in the Diocese. For inquires and clarification of venue and other workshop related concern you may call Caritas Novaliches office on their telefax 3741280 or email ssdmnova@yahoo.com .

 

 

 

 

Diocese of Novaliches Advocates “Huwag Kang Magnakaw” Starting with this Lent’s Call for Transformation

Diocese of Novaliches Advocates “Huwag Kang Magnakaw” Starting with this Lent’s Call for Transformation

by AC Wilson

photo-novaliches-advocates

In solidarity with the anti-corruption campaign spearheaded by His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle of the Archdiocese of Manila, the Diocese of Novaliches covering parts of Quezon and Caloocan cities joined the call for “Huwag Kang Magnakaw” as a theme for personal reflection and as an advocacy for good governance from the beginning and throughout the Lenten season. Came 28th of March, 1:00pm, at the Parish Center of Good Shepherd Cathedral Shrine in Fairview, Quezon City, Rev. Fr. Atilano “Nonong” Fajardo, CM, Public Affairs Ministry Coordinator of the Archdiocese of Manila, shared about the “Huwag Kang Magnakaw” campaign with around 400 lay members of the Diocese of Novaliches. With the challenges faced by our country today, and  aware of the grave repercussions of stealing and thievery in both personal and social consciences, this gentle yet striking reminder of the 7th Commandment is truly relevant and auspicious given the current issues we face as a nation. The gathering served as a space for reflection, with hopes of leading people to reconciliation and transformation, both personally and as a community. The said event was organized by the Public Affairs Ministry of the Diocese of Novaliches under the leadership of Rev. Fr. Antonio E. Labiao, Jr., the Vicar General for Pastoral Affairs and our Bishop of course, the Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, D.D.

 

Bishop’s Message to the PREX Convention

11150226_10206938545209133_3537264174615129959_n

Bishop Antonio Tobias delivering his message at the 13th National PREX Convention in the University of Southeastern Philippines Gym in Davao City 

Message
2015-04

 

Dearly Beloved and “Mga Kuya at mga Ate”:

Peace of the Risen Christ!

My heart is filled with thrill and excitement as the Parish Renewal Experience (PREX) Movement, through the National Association of Parish PREX Secretaries, gathers and invites all PREX graduates in the 13th National PREX Convention on 17-19 April 2015 at the University of Southeastern Philippines Gym, Davao City.

It is with great pleasure for myself to be invited and give the Welcome Remarks on the said significant convention as we consider PREX as the evangelizing instrument to renew parishes according to Philippine culture and condition.  PREX as conceived by Fr. Charles A. Gallagher, SJ, helps in the spiritual formation of Catholics which needs to be renewed in relation with his fellow Catholics – as a family in a Catholic Parish.

As PREX graduates, we must be inspired by the words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis when he said: “All of us need to grow in Christ.  Evangelization should stimulate our desire for this growth, so that each of us can say wholeheartedly: ‘it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.’” (Gal. 2:20) (Evangelii Gaudium #160).

“Spirit-filled evangelizer means evangelizers fearlessly open to the working of the Holy Spirit.” (EG #259)

My sincerest congratulations and warmest felicitations to all the PREX graduates (Ates and Kuyas), my brother priests and organizers of this National Convention!  To God be the glory!

Chancery, Regalado Ave., Fairview, Quezon City, 24 March 2015.

 

                                                            Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, D.D.

                                       Bishop

Gospel Reflection: 5th Sunday of Easter – May 3, 2015

5th Sunday of Easter – May 3, 2015
CONNECTED: RELATED

Slide1

❤  CONNECTING: COMMUNING

Slide4The lunar module Eagle, carrying astronauts Aldrin and Armstrong, landed on the moon July 20,1969. After the successful landing, Aldrin took time to give thanks prior to walking on the moon. He brought out this sheet of paper with his prepared message and contacted home base. His message went:

Apollo Buzz Aldrin-communion-1a

“This is the LM pilot. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever, wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours. And to give thanks in his or her own way.”

He kept this secret for a long time because of a lawsuit brought by Madalyn Murray O’Hair over the reading of Genesis on Apollo 8.

aldrinHe describes what he did next: “I poured the wine into the chalice…. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup. It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon and the very first food eaten there were communion elements.”

0 apollo 11 breadJust before eating and drinking the elements, Aldrin read this passage from the Gospel according to John:

Apollo Buzz Aldrin-communion-2a“I am the vine, and you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.”

Commenting on his Communion experience alone on the moon, Aldrin says, “I sense especially strongly my unity with our church back home, and the Church everywhere.” (Source: Guideposts Treasury of Hope)

For, indeed, we, as Christians, remain united and connected to Jesus by three ways, in particular:

Slide61) By gathering in His Name. Jesus told His disciples, “Where two or three come together in my name, I am there with them.” Mt 18:20 When we gather in Jesus’ Name, we have his promise that he’s there with us.
✓Gather your relations in His Name. Gather as a family, as friends, siblings, in His Name. Pray together. Create occasions where prayer may be shared.

Slide72) By Reading and Explaining His Word. Jesus told his disciples, “Whoever listens to you listens to me.” Luke 10:16 When we hear the Gospel read and explained, we have Jesus’ promise that we listen to him.
✓ Be a part of a Bible sharing and study group if you can. Read the Bible on your own, in your own free time and pace. Live the teachings you gather and learn from our lecturettes.

Slide83) By Eating and Drinking His Body and Blood. Jesus told his disciples, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I live in him.” John 6:56 When we share the Lord’s Supper, we have Jesus’ promise that he’s united with us.
✓ Don’t give up your Sunday worship for anything in the world. The Eucharist is the highest and noblest form of connecting and relating with God!
❤  CONNECTING: BEARING FRUIT

Slide9In the early days of the Berlin Wall when emotions were still very much on edge and hostility was running high, truckloads of garbage were dumped over the wall from the eastern sector onto the western side. Everyone in West Berlin was outraged at such a terrible deed. The topic of conversation on every street corner, in every home, was how best to get revenge.

Slide10Then the word went out from Mayor Willie Brandt that every flower, every petal, every bit of green that could be gathered was to be brought to an appointed spot at the wall.
Then all that beauty and fragrance was thrown over the wall to the eastern sector. And above the wall a great banner was hoisted.

Slide11Slide12As the banner was unfurled, these words were revealed: Jedes gibt, was er hat. (Each gives what he has.) The East German government had thrown garbage; the West German people threw back flowers.

Slide13What do you have to give? What fruits are you producing? Let us remember that the fruit we produce in our lives is consistent with our character. John 15:1-8 gives us the formula for successful fruit-bearing. For a Christian to be fruitful, he/ she:

Must be connected to the right source
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you.”
Keep a right relationship with God. Let Him be the God of your character. Keep to your spiritual devotions and resolutions of discipline.

Must be pruned and disciplined to be fruitful.
“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit., while every branch that bears fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
We will become fruitful only as we become disciplined. Pruning is the price for production. What areas in our lives do we need pruning? What habits do we have that are not productive?

 Must realize that God’s purpose for his children is fruitfulness.
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
Bawal ang Tamad na Anak ng Diyos.
Titus 3:14 Let our people learn to devote themselves to good works to supply urgent needs, so that they may not be unproductive.
1 Thes 4:10-12 … Nevertheless we urge you to progress even more… to mind your own affairs, and to work with your (own) hands, as we instructed you, that you may conduct yourselves properly toward outsiders and not depend on anyone.
Pag-malakas ka at may-kakayahan, be productive!Slide14

Are you Connected to Christ?
Do you Commune with Him?
Are you bearing fruits for His Glory?

Pope Francis opens 2015 Year for Consecrated Life

AP2716033_Articolo(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis delivered the homily on Monday afternoon at Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, being celebrated to mark the feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the World Day for Consecrated Life, in the context of the Year dedicated to the same. Below, please find Vatican Radio’s English translation of the Holy Father’s prepared remarks.

**********************************************

Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

2 February 2015

Before our eyes we can picture Mother Mary as she walks, carrying the Baby Jesus in her arms.  She brings him to the Temple; she presents him to the people; she brings him to meet his people.

The arms of Mother Mary are like the “ladder” on which the Son of God comes down to us, the ladder of God’s condescension.  This is what we heard in the first reading, from the Letter to the Hebrews: Christ became “like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest” (Heb 2:17).  This is the twofold path taken by Jesus: he descended, he became like us, in order then to ascend with us to the Father, making us like himself.

In our heart we can contemplate this double movement by imagining the Gospel scene of Mary who enters the Temple holding the Child in her arms.  The Mother walks, yet it is the Child who goes before her.  She carries him, yet he is leading her along the path of the God who comes to us so that we might go to him.

Jesus walked the same path as we do, and showed us a new way, the “new and living way” (cf. Heb 10:20) which is himself. For us too, as consecrated men and women, he opened a path.

Fully five times the Gospel speaks to us of Mary and Joseph’s obedience to the “law of the Lord” (cf. Lk 2:22-24,27,39).  Jesus came not to do his own will, but the will of the Father. This way, he tells us, was his “food” (cf. Jn 4:34). In the same way, all those who follow Jesus must set out on the path of obedience, imitating as it were the Lord’s “condescension” by humbling themselves and making their own the will of the Father, even to self-emptying and abasement (cf. Phil 2:7-8). For a religious person, to progress is to lower oneself in service. A path like that of Jesus, who “did not count equality with God something to be grasped.”: to lower oneself, making oneself a servant, in order to serve.

This path, then, takes the form of the rule, marked by the charism of the founder.  For all of us, the essential rule remains the Gospel, this abasement of Christ, yet the Holy Spirit, in his infinite creativity, also gives it expression in the various rules of the consecrated life, though all of these are born of that sequela Christi, from this path of self-abasement in service.

Through this “law” consecrated persons are able to attain wisdom, which is not an abstract attitude, but a work and a gift of the Holy Spirit, the sign and proof of which is joy. Yes, the mirth of the religious is a consequence of this journey of abasement with Jesus: and when we are sad, it would do us well to ask how we are living this kenotic dimension.

In the account of Jesus’ Presentation, wisdom is represented by two elderly persons, Simeon and Anna: persons docile to the Holy Spirit (He is named 4 times), led by him, inspired by him.  The Lord granted them wisdom as the fruit of a long journey along the path of obedience to his law, an obedience which likewise humbles and abases – even as it also guards and guarantees hope – and now they are creative, for they are filled with the Holy Spirit.  They even enact a kind of liturgy around the Child as he comes to the Temple.  Simeon praises the Lord and Anna “proclaims” salvation (cf. Lk 2:28-32,38).  As with Mary, the elderly man holds the Child, but in fact it is the Child who guides the elderly man. The liturgy of First Vespers of today’s feast puts this clearly and concisely: “senex puerum portabat, puer autem senem regebat”.  Mary, the young mother, and Simeon, the kindly old man, hold the Child in their arms, yet it is the Child himself who guides both of them.

It is curious: here it is not young people who are creative: the young, like Mary and Joseph, follow the law of the Lord, the path of obedience.  And the Lord turns obedience into wisdom by the working of his Holy Spirit.  At times God can grant the gift of wisdom to a young person, but always as the fruit of obedience and docility to the Spirit. This obedience and docility is not something theoretical; it too is subject to the economy of the incarnation of the Word: docility and obedience to a founder, docility and obedience to a specific rule, docility and obedience to one’s superior, docility and obedience to the Church. It is always docility and obedience in the concrete.

In persevering along along the path of obedience, personal and communal wisdom matures, and thus it also becomes possible to adapt rules to the times.  For true “aggiornamento” is the fruit of wisdom forged in docility and obedience.

The strengthening and renewal of consecrated life are the result of great love for the rule, and also the ability to look to and heed the elders of one’s congregation.  In this way, the “deposit”, the charism of each religious family, is preserved by obedience and by wisdom, working together. And, along this journey, we are preserved from living our consecration lightly and in a disincarnate manner, as though it were a Gnosis, which would reduce itself to a “caricature” of the religious life, in which is realized a sequela – a following – that is without sacrifice, a prayer that is without encounter, a fraternal life that is without communion, an obedience without trust, a charity without transcendence.

Today we too, like Mary and Simeon, want to take Jesus into our arms, to bring him to his people. Surely we will be able to do so if we enter into the mystery in which Jesus himself is our guide.  Let us bring others to Jesus, but let us also allow ourselves to be led by him.  This is what we should be: guides who themselves are guided.

May the Lord, through the intercession of Mary our Mother, Saint Joseph and Saints Simeon and Anna, grant to all of us what we sought in today’s opening prayer: to “be presented [to him] fully renewed in spirit”.  Amen.