Hango sa Homiliya ng Lubhang Kgg. Socrates Villegas, D.D. Metropolitanong Arsobispo ng Lingayen-Dagupan sa Araw ng Ordinasyon sa Pagka-obispo ni Fr. Narciso V. Abellana
In Verbo Tuo
Although a bishop receives the Gospel Book and shares in the magisterium, the teaching office of the Church, the first duty of every bishop is TO LISTEN because God is Word. God is Voice. Kaya nga po mga minamahal kong kapatid, bawal na bawal ang obispong bingi! Kung bingi ang tenga, pwedeng mag-hearing aid. Pero kung bingi ang puso, paano magmamahal? Kung bingi ang isip, paano matututo? At kung ayaw matuto dahil bingi, paano pa magtuturo?
The first duty of a bishop is TO LISTEN TO JESUS. To make the voice of Jesus the only familiar voice in his heart and mind. Believe me Bishop Arci, ngayong Obispo ka na darami ang mambobola sa iyo! Maraming-marami ang magsasabi sa ‘yo Bishop Arci, ang gwapo mo. Huwag kang maniwala! Sapagkat iisa lamang ang boses na dapat mong pakinggan bilang Obispo. And if Jesus will tell you, “Narciso you have been made ugly by sin, you have been blackened by human weakness, but you are beautiful because of the mercy of God.”
God looked at us with mercy, and he called us. Miserando atque eligendo. God looked at us and saw the sin in us but he chose to be merciful rather than vengeful, and in his mercy he has called us. Bishop Arci, listen to the word of Jesus. Because at the end of the day, it is only the voice of Jesus, the true shepherd of the Church that should matter for all of us, bishops. Listening to the survey, listening to statistics, listening to the opinions in the editorials are good. But they are good only up to a certain point. At the end of the day, my dear brother bishops, it is only the voice of God that should be our criterion. In Verbo Tuo, according to your words, dear Lord, and I listen to you and let your voice be my only rule.
The second quality of a bishop is to be like Jesus, to live like Jesus, to love like Jesus. According to your word, I will lower the net. You told me dear Lord, I will be like you, I will plunge into the deep. To be Jesus is the duty of every bishop. To be Jesus is the duty of every priest. My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, kung bawal ang paring bingi, kung bawal ang obispong bingi, mas lalong bawal ang obispong mapagkunwari.
Hypocrisy among church men is a very serious sin that continues to make the Church bleed. Hypocrisy in the Church is worse than hypocrisy and corruption in the government. Because the corruption of the best is the worst. When those who hold the body of Christ, when those whose voice God uses, when those whose hands God uses to bless, become pretentious pastors. Hypocrisy inside the Church is crime crying to heaven for vengeance.
Bishop Arci, just give us Jesus, only Jesus, always Jesus. You might not give us food for our stomachs. You might not be able to construct roofs for our heads. You might not give us clothes for our naked bodies. You might not be able to visit us and release us from prison. Just give us Jesus. In his life here on earth, Bishop Arci, Jesus did not cure all the sick. Jesus did not raise all the dead. Jesus did not reach out to everybody in need. Jesus just gave us the love of the Father. And give us the love of the Father every time you speak.
You are Jesus for us and when you visit every parish, when you visit every community, it is a Visitatio Dei. It is a visitation of God. Believe me Bishop Arci, when we see you, we see God and when we see you we thank God. Something will happen to you today Bishop Arci that our hearts only can understand. That is why we have to put special vestments on you so that our eyes may be helped to understand. Truth, my dear brother, you are Jesus and be Jesus for us: at the altar, on the streets, in the fields, on the bus, in the bishop’s house, in every parish rectory. Talk like Jesus, love like Jesus, live like Jesus.
Finally, my dear brother, after the duty to listen and after the duty to be like Jesus, the third duty that I entrust to you is: be brave. Do not be afraid! Do not be afraid to cast the net lower. Do not be afraid to love. Do not be afraid to be a good bishop. Do not be afraid. You are very lucky today Bishop Arci, the people of Nueva Ecija, the people of Romblon and from all over the Philippines, they are all represented here. And maybe a month from now, you will be watching the video of this ordination and look at the photos of this beautiful day, and there will be joy bubbling in your heart.
But believe me Bishop Arci, there will come a time in our life as bishops, when looking at the ordination pictures, will no longer excite us but bring us pain. When you are lucky you have pairs of hands clapping for you. It will come, the priests will hurt you, your brother bishops will hurt you, the Church whom you love will hurt you, the parishioners for whom you are willing to die will hurt you. But do not be afraid! Be brave! Take courage! Because it is during these moments when Jesus on the cross gives you a loving encounter and a loving embrace with him. Do not be afraid Bishop Arci. It is a heavy task but the grace of God is more than enough.
Bishop Arci, please allow Romblon to make you a saint. Please allow the episcopacy to make you holy. Every grace that you need will be at your service. Every grace that you need will flow forth to you. Allow God to make you a saint. Allow Romblon to make you holy. And allow your pastoral ministry to sanctify you. Bawal ang obispong duwag! Take courage! God is with you and if God is with us who can ever be against us? In verbo tuo, laxabo rete!
We will pray for you that in the years ahead, you will always be a listening bishop, and you will show us that you love us by listening to us. May you always be a bishop according to the heart of Jesus and may we see you and see no longer Narciso, but Jesus. We will pray for you so that you may always take courage, be a brave bishop. Brave enough to be saint in the Church!
Let us pray for each other, Bishop Arci. This is my first ordination of a bishop and I am very anxious. First of all, because it is my first time; and second, because you are older than me. But in this brotherhood, age does not matter. Love is blind. Bishop Arci, take courage! According to the words of Jesus, be ready to cast your nets lower into the sea.
May I request you to bow your heads and in the silence of our hearts, pray that we, too, like our shepherd Narciso, may learn how to listen more, may learn how to be Jesus even more, may take up the courage to be saints.