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CONGRATULATIONS, REV. ARCHIE!

First of all, allow me to congratulate Bro. Archie for choosing to be brave. In asking the Church to ordain you as a deacon in for presbyteral ordination, you have chosen to be brave. Today we need people who are brave and courageous. The word courageous has its root from the Latin word “cor” meaning heart. We need people with a big heart, people who are committed and faithful to their commitment, people whose strength and bravery comes from the heart.

The deacon we ordain this afternoon, Bro. Archie is called to a particular mission within the Church: he is called to witness to Jesus who serves. This is not a mission which is separated from the life of the Church. Deacons are called, rather, to witness to one of the essential characteristics of the mission of Jesus: to serve. Anyone who is called to ministry in the Church is called not to be served but to serve. A self-serving Church is not the Church of Jesus Christ.

Pope Francis said that the Church is called boldly to speak out of herself and go towards the outskirt, not only the outskirt of place but also to the outskirts and frontiers of human existence. Pope Francis reminds us that God never closed within Himself but always reaches out to us, so ministry in the Church can never be inwards looking and focusing on ourselves. He even added when the Church does not break out of herself in that way she becomes self-referential. The self-referential Church keeps Jesus within her and does not let him out. A self-referential Church believes that she is her own light and stops being a witness to the true light. A self-referential Church fails to know Jesus and can never be witness to Jesus.

Dear Bro. Archie, today the Church confirms your vocation in the church to serve. In the first reading, the prophet Isiah reminds you that you are sent to bring forth justice and hope to the people. You are asked to be strong for you are given as a covenant to people, serve as a light to open the eyes of the blind, bring freedom to prisoners and those who sit in the darkness. Be grateful to the Lord for you have seen the light. You were saved from the death when you got typhoid fever in college. Your experience of working with the Passionist Fathers in Holy Cross Parish, Calumpang, General Santos led you to discover answer to some important question in life like why the name “Passionist”? It sounds “heavy” to carry. It made you realize what God has planned for you. You are the lone survivor among the four postulants. your ten years of journey in the seminary has set the path of love and service. The love of God expressed in the Cross is the greatest expression of love for humanity.

In the second reading, Peter tells his fellow workers to be serious and discipline in prayer, to maintain constant lobe which covers a multitude of sins. Peter reminds you Bro. Archie that you are meant to be a good steward of God’s grace by speaking through His words and serving with His strength glorifying God in all things through Jesus Christ. With Him you can accomplish your mission to teach, to serve and establish justice on earth.

The Gospel Jesus gives us basic principles of the kingdom in terms of ministering to people. Three times, he predicted his coming passion and in each occasion, the apostle could not just understand Him. What we heard in the gospel is part of the third prediction of the Passion. The apostles thought and saw things with the standards of the world, i.e. to seek for power and prestige. Jesus takes the opportunity to teach them an important truth about the kingdom. He comes not to be served b to serve and give His own life after the life of Jesus which is a life of service and giving of Himself. To know, love and serve Jesus is to make Him present by you actions and by your witnessing.



OTHER POSTS

In this ordination, as I hand you the book of Gospels, I will give you a mandate: “Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach”. You are asked to live a life of integrity and coherence with the Gospel.

Dear Bro. Archie, ministry in the Church requires deep freedom from all attachments to material goods and ideas. It requires a different attitude towards creation which is not ours. It requires detachment from the things which could make your ministry inward looking. It requires putting yourself aside rather than being self-referential.

Service involves giving. Through His self-giving love unto death, Jesus reveals to us the real depth of God’s love, the love which is the essence of the Blessed Trinity, which receives out and enter into your heart so that like the prophet Isiah, St. Peter and the apostles, you can in turn experience the divine life within you.

Be Jesus for others, think, act and live in Jesus’ way. Amen.

Homily delivered by Bishop Ness F. Ongtioco during the Diaconate Ordination of Bro. Archie G. Bago, C.P. at Our Lady of Pentecost Parish, C. Salvador Street, Varsity Hills, Loyola Heights Quezon City on August 26,2016


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