Sharing my notes from the homily of Cardinal Luis Tagle, Archbishop of Manila last Wednesday, when he led the celebration of the reopening of Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila:
1. It just dawned on me that I took canonical possession of the Archdiocese of Manila on Dec. 12, 2011 and one of my first decisions as the new archbishop was to close my cathedral.
2. The story is too long and profound to share with you. But let us realize that this is the 8th rebuilding in the more than 100 years of history of the Archdiocese of Manila. Buildings that have gone down because of fire, earthquake, wars, but a building that does not remain down. It just refuses to be dead. It rises.
3. From what I’ve seen the past two years (of work on the cathedral) let me answer my own question, how does one rebuild a church? What does it take to rebuild a church?
a. generosity of the people – that’s how a church is reconstructed
Companies, individuals, simple faithful … people so many to mention. God knows who you are.
We cannot reconstruct, rebuild and strengthen the Church without generosity of spirit… Generosity with resources, expertise, dedication – they all need to be fueled by faith: love of God, love of the Church, devotion to Our Lady.
4. That’s why I know, especially for our brethren who are going through great trials brought by earthquake, typhoons, people-made calamities like that in Mindanao in Zamboanga, people affected by Pablo, Sendong, those in Samar, Leyte, Iloilo, Cebu, Capiz, Aklan, Palawan, Nueva Ecija – I believe that in the same way Manila Cathedral collapsed into rubble, rose up and is now so beautiful again – the Filipino nation can rise up! (my translation from Tagalog)
5. We are celebrating the reconstruction, the retrofitting of Manila Cathedral, which is not just a building, but a living symbol of community of faithful that has journeyed through centuries.
5. As we strengthen our place of worship, we learn how to truly worship, and I’m thankful to God that the readings for today are about true worship. Lo and behold, when I opened the missal, I said, Lord, the choice of the day was really yours, it was not ours.
6. The essence of worship is just to worship because God deserves such worship.
7. As we reopen this place of worship, let us commit ourselves to the worship of the true God, and let us commit ourselves to ignoring idols, for example, idolatry of money, power, lust…
8. Jesus tells us in the Gospel, “If you remain in my Word, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free – free from idols, free from inspiration of false gods – that’s the fruit of true worship: truth and wisdom in Jesus Christ.