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DIOCESE OF NOVALICHES

Commission on Faith & Formation


Social Communications and Media Ministry
Christ The King Parish, Atlas Street, Filinvest 2,
Batasan Hills, Q.C. 1126 * 5145318 / 5145312

4TH WORLD APOSTOLIC CONGRESS ON MERCY (WACOM 4)


CELEBRATION OF THE MOST HOLY EUCHARIST
DAY 5 - JANUARY 20, 2017 - Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, Balanga, Bataan

Transcript of the Homily of the


Most Rev. Ruperto Santos, D.D.,
Bishop of Balanga

His Excellence Most Reverend Archbishops and Bishops; His Honorable Albert Garcia, Provincial
Governor of Bataan; His Honorable Jose Enrique Garcia, Congressman of the 2nd District of Bataan;
Her Honorable Geraldine Roman, Congresswoman of the 1st District of Bataan; my dearest brothers
and sisters in Christ, our beloved devotees of Divine Mercy, on behalf of the Diocese of Balanga, let
me express our profound gratitude and sincere appreciation for your coming.

You have blessed our beloved Province of Bataan with your gracious presence. Your active
participation here is indeed Gods mercy in action. Whenever we invoke, Lord have mercy, God
answers us through you who are here with us today. Truly, we are Gods mercy in person for one
another.

Let us see what is all around us. Let us look at the sea and its water. Let us observe the wind and feel
the heat of the sun. Let us look at the houses which are old yet still strong and useful. Just across,
behind us on the farthest side, is the church, unfinished, yes, but it was the Cathedral of Balanga after
the war during the heroic Fall of Bataan. It is reconstructed and it will be--and we are like that.

We might fall or fail but our hope is not lost. Our will is unwavering. We will stand up straight and,
today, the Province of Bataan, the Diocese of Balanga, has risen to this grace-filled World Apostolic
Congress on Mercy. Tuloy po kayo sa Bataan! Welcome to Bataan!

Everything is beautiful, everything is calm and


peaceful. Indeed, we can affirm what the Book
of Genesis says, God saw all that He had made
and it was very good. And with you, it is the
best and most blessed event and celebration.

Even mahirap at mabigat. Yes, it is difficult and


even expensive. We did not give in. We did not
give up. Sa awa ng Diyos, tayo ay makakaraos!
Yes, with Gods mercy, we have made it! Mga taga-Bataan, maraming salamat! Palakpakan po natin
sila! Let us give a round of applause to Bataan. Maraming salamat, Bataan!

We recall in this place how our Catholic faith came to our shores in 1521, almost 500 years ago. The
long voyage of the Spanish missionaries, also in this Pacific Ocean, surely was not like todays very
nice and very friendly weather.

The journey at that time was long and very tiring. They could have encountered storms, have braved
the dangerous winds and violent waves . Yet they endured everything and they came. They arrived
with purpose, with a mission: it was to preach the Gospel, to bring Jesus to the farthest ends of the
earth, to share Gods love to all. They were on a mission to share His mercy.

Likewise, your coming here, like the early missionaries, have brought you also some hardships. There
were also some difficulties. You performed sacrifices and you are here. In spite of everything, God
made sure that you will be safe and sound and our World Apostolic Congress on Mercy, a success.

It is not accidental that you are here. God called you to be here. There is a purpose or a noble cause
that God brought you to our Country and specially to Bataan. It is mercy, everything is because of
Gods mercy.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, it is with mercy God called and chose us today for two essential
tasks. And what are these tasks?

First, our mission is mercy, and we are now new missionaries of Gods mercy. Second, our message is
mercy, and we are now messengers of Gods mercy.

First, we have prayers to perform, we have lectures to live by, we have work to share, and that is our
mission and our mission is mercy. So from here, we have to bring and spread mercy to your country
and to the world. What is this mercy? Mercy is Jesus, and He says, I have come that they may have
life, life in all its fullness.

John 10:10 says, Anyone who is devoted to mercy must defend life. Anyone who loves mercy is he
who promotes and protects life. Anyone who shares mercy propagates and respects life. Remember,
we are all new missionaries of mercy from the Philippines to Asia, from Asia to Europe.

Here in todays Gospel, those who brought the woman to Jesus were after her summary execution--
extra-judicial. They presented her to Jesus not
out of fraternal pity. It was not to save her, not
to rescue her from her shameful past or sinful
life. They wanted her to be punished and not
just to punish but to die a very violent death.
There was no sympathy or pity from the crowd.
No one is there to defend her. No one is there to
protect her. All they wanted was her blood to be
shed on stony pavement. There is no
compassion. No one is merciful.
Jesus was silent. He was silent because He was ashamed of the attitude of His people. Jesus could not
understand nor accept why His very own people were happy and demanding for the death of this
hapless woman.

How can one rejoice with death penalty? How can one pride himself of killing in the name of God or
just because of religious belief? How can we not be ashamed of our corruption and destruction of our
environment just because of money and profit? How can one be glad with the spilling of innocent
blood or the destruction of lives because of human trafficking?

Jesus was silent. He was silent because He feels the fear and anxiety of the woman. Jesus shares with
her humiliation and brokenness and Jesus bent down. Jesus writes on the ground with His finger. To
write is to think, to take time. It is to recall and to remember.

And Jesus remembered His foster father Joseph. Yes, there was a time when Joseph was confronted
with a woman betrothed to him but found to be with a child and the law of Moses calls that woman
should be stoned to death.

Yet Joseph did not condemn. He accepted, he took Mary as his wife. Jesus was now in the shoes of His
father Joseph, and Jesus was merciful like His father. Jesus gave her another chance to rise from her
shattered life. For Jesus, that woman could still make a fresh start with her life. There was still hope.
That contrite woman could still reform and recreate her life.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, be silent and let us take time to write with our fingers like what Jesus
did. And we will remember that there was a time, even more than once in our lives, at the hour of a
violent death or in the danger of an incurable disease or at the moment of impending shame or
disaster, God did not cast the first stone. And instead, God delivered us from evil, gave us our daily
bread, and turned our water into wine.

Yes God has saved us. God is indeed merciful. God grants that woman His mercy, Jesus is Mercy. Jesus
is her Mercy and Mercy is life. That woman receives her life back. She continues to live.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, reflecting deeper the common denominator of the seven
corporal acts of mercy is about life. It is to sustain life, not to make it suffer. It is to prolong life and not
to suppress it. It is to maintain life and not to murder it. Remember mercy is life and mercy is the
seventh commandment, Thou shalt not kill, Exodus 20:15.

Now mercy is our mission. Mercy is life and this


is our mission as you go back to your home and
to your communities. Whenever we encounter a
migrant or a refugee, remember he is a person
and he has a life to live.

Even if anyone has sinful or scandalous past,


remember that person can still be redeemed
and renew his life. Even if he is the worst sinner,
he can still be sorry and correct his life. There is
hope, there is still help, and there is still healing. It is because of our God is God of mercy.

Mercy is not to take matters into our hands. Mercy is not to cast the first stone. It is mercy to open our
hands, hold them tight and help them live with dignity and without discrimination.

Second, during these five days, we sit and we listened; and we sung and moved around. And when we
return to our country or to our churches, we have to speak and share what we have witnessed,
learned and experienced from here. Mercy is our message, our word is mercy and mercy is Jesus, the
Word made flesh.

In the Gospel of St. John, Peter professed, Lord to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.
(Chapter 6:68)

Anyone who is merciful speaks the Word of God. The word from our lips inspire, not dehumanizing;
respectful not offensive; encouraging and not hurting. Anyone who is a devotee of mercy speaks
forgiving words. Anyone who is a disciple of mercy imparts saving words. Remember mercy is our
message; our word is mercy. And we are now new messengers of mercy to the whole world.

Here in todays Gospel, those who brought the woman to Jesus spoke of accusing and abusive words.
Their words were to trap Jesus and to undermine His teachings on love and forgiveness. Their words
were to discredit Jesus and to destroy that woman.

And yet the words of Jesus are mercy and compassion. With his merciful love, Jesus considered her as
a person to be saved. He did not condemn nor condone her. Jesus gave her a second chance for a
better life. He offered her a fresh opportunity to repent and to return to God. Jesus opened her eyes
and heart to the sublime life with and of God.

And the life of God is mercy. Thus, the verdict for Jesus for that woman was compassion. The sentence
is forgiveness. The word is mercy and Jesus said to her, Neither do I condemn you. Go and from now
on, do not sin anymore.

My brothers and sisters, reflecting deeper the common denominator of the seven spiritual acts of
mercy is about words. And they are words which are truthful and liberating. They are words which
build up the character and improve human relationships. Those are words which renew the person
and uplift our spirits.

Fake news and trolls are not mercy. They are lies.
Bullying and Internet Bashing are not mercy.
They are offensive and violent. Verbal abuse and
gossiping are not mercy. They are character
assassination.

Remember mercy is words and words is our


message and mercy is the eighth
commandment, "Thou shalt not bear false
witness against your neighbor." Exodus 10:16.
As we go back and return to our respective places, we may encounter that nameless woman in todays
Gospel. Or people with hidden motives or for personal interests may bring to us that kind of woman in
our presence. And let us remember then what we have learned today, that you and I are new
messengers of mercy. Mercy is our word and mercy is our message.

Confronted with that situation, we should be like Jesus, merciful, who was not preoccupied with
public image. He was not concerned with social acceptability and popularity ratings. Jesus rejected the
idea of revenge. He set aside the notion of self-satisfaction. He projected the mission and message of
mercy and compassion.

When Jesus said, Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her, He
was telling His listeners to examine their right to judge. Do they have the right and duty to judge and
to condemn just because of their position and social status? What they have done in the first place to
help and to heal the woman?

Remember always your mission here on earth is mercy. Jesus was asking them, "Have they been
gentle and understanding towards the womans humiliating situation? Or did they aggravate her
condition?"

Remember then the message you are imparting and mercy is your message.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, as we are about to conclude this blessed World Apostolic Congress
on Mercy, Jesus is telling and sending us as missionaries and messengers of mercy. Mercy is our
mission, our message is mercy. As we go back home as missionaries and messengers of Gods mercy,
we will experience and encounter His ocean of mercy.

Look around us and let us see and observe the water in the ocean. When our sailing becomes rough
and the waves turn turbulent, let us put our faith to Jesus and we cry out, Jesus I trust in you, and He
will bring us safely back home.

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