Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles said Mass Sunday in honor of the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the Philippines, celebrating the feast of the Santo Niño de Cebu.
“Today, we especially entrust ourselves to the Divine Infant, Santo Niño, as we continue to give thanks to God for opening the door of faith to the people of the Philippines, five hundred years ago,” the archbishop said during his January 16 homily at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
“And of course, we also recall that shortly after the door of faith was opened, the first Filipinos to come to America, arriving at Morro Bay, in 1587. It is beautiful to think about it and to reflect that Filipinos were here, worshipping and working in our country long before our country had a name.”
He added that “we give thanks to God today also for the rich Catholic heritage of the Philippines that has become such a beautiful part of our Catholic life here in Los Angeles, and in America.”
The Santo Niño de Cebu is a statue that was given to Juana, wife of the king of Cebu, after their 1521 baptism. It is widely venerated in the Philippines, and is now housed in the Basilica del Santo Niño in Cebu City.
Preceding the Mass, Filipino traditions were displayed on the cathedral plaza, and images of the Santo Niño were blessed during the Mass.
During his homily, Archbishop Gomez reflected on the wedding at Cana, saying that through the miracle performed there Christ “wanted to show us that the marriage of man and woman is a symbol of how much God loves each one of us.”
“God loves all of us, you and me, without conditions and without exceptions. God delights in you! You are a special treasure to him. This is the amazing truth of our Catholic faith.”
As a result, he said, “God has a mission for your life,” a vocation.
“Each one of us, no matter who we are, has a part to play in building up God’s kingdom of love and life. And it’s also interesting because that’s the meaning of the servants in today’s Gospel.
“Like those servants, we need to fill the water jars of our lives with the waters of love, with the waters of good works, works of mercy and service. And we do that in simple and ordinary ways. In our daily lives. Jesus wants to work with us, and through us. Through our good works, through our works of love. In our families. In our places of work. In our society,” Archbishop Gomez said.
“And this is the water that he will transform — that he will turn into new wine … But as we know, my dear brothers and sisters, everything starts from our obedience to the word of Jesus. This is especially — as we reflect on today’s passage of the Gospel — what Mary tells us in the Gospel today, when she tells the servants: ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ This is the key to the Kingdom. This is the key to holiness, to our vocation. To entering into the divine life — to do the will of God, to do whatever Jesus tells us.”
The day preceding the Mass, a food drive was held at Our Lady of Loretto parish in the city’s Historic Filipinotown. The food drive was organized by the Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council and the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department Community Advisory Council.