The Archbishop-elect of Manila, Luis Antonio Tagle, was installed today in his new position. The full text of his inaugural homily has not yet been posted on the official website of the Archdiocese of Manila, but it has already appeared on at least one blog from the Philippines. (The full text can be found here.)
Much of the attention on this youngish prelate has been focused on his ecclesiological views in the light of his affiliation with the "Bologna school". It is an affiliation that continues to color his theological vision if the following passage from his inaugural homily as Archbishop of Manila -- especially the second paragraph -- is any indication (emphases are Rorate's):
...First of all, the mission of the Church should be wholly directed by the Lord who is always present as Shepherd and guide. Human efforts should continue but unless the Lord directs the catch, we labour in vain. We know that the Lord guards His Church. He keeps watch with us on those long nights of confusion and helplessness in mission. When in spite of our good intentions and efforts there are still multitude of hungry people we cannot feed, homeless people we cannot shelter, battered women and children we cannot protect, cases of corruption and injustice that we cannot remedy, the long night of the disciples in the middle of the sea continues in us. Then we grow in compassion towards our neighbors whose lives seem to be a never ending dark night. But in our weariness the Lord comes. Advent never ends. He is the shepherd promised in the first reading from Ezekiel. He will come to his sheep where they are scattered when it is cloudy and dark. He is near. He is Emmanuel. But we need to hear his voice and to follow hi direction. We need to see realities with His eyes. We need faith. Without faith fueled by love, we cannot truly be a missionary Church of Jesus Christ. It is only by the vision provided by faith that the Church could meaningfully casts its nets in the vast seas of the world and history. They may be murky to human eyes, but the Lord sees where the fishes are. The new evangelization requires putting in the mind and eyes of the Lord again, a transformation coming from prayer. Then we see differently. A child, especially the unborn is no longer seen as a burden but a gift, the youth are not a problem but a promise, women are not objects but persons, labourers are not machines but partners, the poor are not a nuisance but our jewels, and the creation is not an object of manipulation but a sign of God’s sustaining love. These and many more comprise the Church’s miraculous harvest from the seas of mission if only we see with the eyes of Christ. Whenever we see as the Lord does, there is hope!
Secondly, we need to follow the Lord in our mission not singly but together as the disciples did. Mission is an ecclesial event. We will be together in failure, in listening to the Spirit, in beholding the God’s miracles, and in hauling the nets to shore. As it was then, so it is today. The ordained, the religious and the lay faithful, including non-Catholic Christians are called to one mission, though in various states of life and with a diversity of gifts. When we take different boats and even compete against each other to get the better portion of the catch for our own teams, we are not engaging in mission. Divisiveness and destructive competition will only help sink the boat. Let us look to the one Shepherd who gathers his sheep instead of scattering them. It is the Lord!