Celebrating the traditional “Simbang Gabi” Mass for the Filipino community in Rome, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle challenged the faithful to never be ashamed of witnessing Jesus Christ.
In his homily in St. Peter’s Basilica on Gaudete Sunday, a special Sunday of Advent that calls on Catholics to rejoice in the Lord, he urged the churchgoers to bear witness before the world to the Gospel both in word and deed.
“Ang pagsaksi natin minsan ikinakahiya natin,” Tagle said. “Para maging ganap ang kaligayahan natin, sumaksi at magpakatotoo na si Hesus ang manunubos. Paano? Sabihin mo ‘naranasan ko.’”
A witness, the pro-prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization emphasized, is someone who does not shine a light on himself but turns the spotlight on Jesus.
“Hindi siya nakikipag agawan ng liwanag kay Hesus. Siya ay nagpapatotoo sa tunay ng liwanag,” he said.
And for people to be joyful witnesses of Christ, the cardinal encouraged them to pursue a closer connection to Jesus through prayer.
“Huwag putulin iyong ugnayan sa Panginoon. Kapag wala tayo ugnayan sa Panginoon hindi tayo pwedeng magpatotoo,” Tagle said.
“Napakalaking kaligayahan kapag tayo ay nakakapag-patotoo kay Hesus…. siya ang makilala, ako ay pupunta na lang sa background. Ganun ang saksi. Para mangyari iyon, manalangin lagi,” he added.
The basilica was filled with Filipinos residing in various parts of Italy’s capital.
The Mass was organized by the Sentro Pilipino Chaplaincy in Rome and was led by its new chaplain, Scalabrini Fr. Ronan Ayag.
Among those who concelebrated the Mass was Cardinal Silvano Tomasi, who is also a Scalabrinian missionary and served in the ministry for migrants for many years.
Tagle also encouraged the Filipinos to live out of being true witnesses of Jesus wherever they are.
“Ipakita niyo ang katotohanan ng pagiging Pilipino at sumaksi tayo sa liwanag ni Hesus,” he said.