Here’s my homily yesterday, 6 April 2018, Friday in the Octave of Easter, on the occasion of the Thanksgiving Mass for our Batch 2018 Completers.
“Deja vu” is a French expression which literally means “already seen.”
It is used to label that strange feeling you get, when you are in a situation that eerily reminds you of a similar scenario which you already saw before.
I have a couple of examples:
- Our Bosconians’ fixing their hair and uniform every single day, just before they report for the line formation.
- Studying and reading notes up until the last second before they receive the test questionnaire.
- At kahit na bawal ang cellphone sa classroom, they will snap a class photo–and, at times, together with their teachers–just so they have something to post in FB or IG.
And we see these “deja vus” year after year after year.
The Gospel reading we heard earlier also gives us a deja vu: Our newly risen Christ shows Himself to Peter, by the Sea of Galilee.
This reminds us of their very first meeting in that same place, where Jesus called Peter to be a “fisher of men.”
It was the Lord who chose Peter to be the leader of His disciples.
Jesus would build His Church on this very rock.
He would be hailed to be the first ever Pope.
Make no mistake about it, Jesus chose Peter neither because the former was the most brilliant, nor the most eloquent, nor he had sterling qualifications.
We’re just fresh from celebrating the Holy Week. And we will remember that Peter betrayed Jesus, not just once, nor twice –but three times over!
In other words, it was not Peter’s qualification that got for him the job.
The answer lies in Jesus. It is because of Jesus. It is because of the Lord!
Dear completers, you’re moving up to the next level.
By a happy confidence, we mark this thanksgiving Mass on this first Friday after the Easter Sunday, we look on the heart of Jesus, which symbolizes His great love for us.
Here in Don Bosco, we instilled in you to frequently visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament once you arrived in the campus, during your break times, and even before you go home. Because we want you to develop a profound friendship with Jesus.
Dito sa Don Bosco, adik din tayo sa Misa. We are not just contented to celebrate Mass once a month, but we do it every week. And so is the sacrament of confessions.
This tells us how you have grown in your friendship with Jesus through these sacraments which are very dear to St. John Bosco.
During my priestly ordination, the bishop reminded me in his homily that the Lord has chosen me to be His priest, not because I am the most intelligent, nor the holiest in our batch–but because it was Jesus’s mercy.
And, in this homily, I wish to pass on to you that gentle reminder, “Pinasa lang kayo ng Diyos dahil sa awa Niya!”
May kasabihan tayong “Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa.”
In the first reading, we heard how Peter was pushed back, harassed, and intimidated for having invoked the name of Jesus.
However, he stood firm. And this very effort, coupled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, resulted to the conversion of many.
Our dear Bosconians, we are challenged to follow his example of standing firm for Jesus, especially in these times when the truth appears to depend on popularity, or on the number of likes.
As you move up to the next level, you bring with you the light of Christ, ignited by your respective families, and guarded jealously by your family here in Don Bosco Makati.
Don Bosco, the saint, I am certain, looks forward to another deja vu. That is, for him to see each of us in heaven.
In a place he fondly calls the “Salesian Garden.”
And if that happens, we can say that, we have ultimately moved up.