MANILA, Philippines – Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged Catholics to be a "rock" for the abandoned and abused, among others, as the Catholic Church marked "Pope's Day" on Wednesday, June 29.
Wednesday is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, two great apostles of Christianity.
In his homily at the Manila Cathedral past 6 pm on Wednesday, Tagle referred to the belief that Peter is the "Rock" on which Jesus Christ built the Catholic Church. Peter, the leader of the 12 apostles of Jesus, is also considered the first pope.
Tagle described Paul, on the other hand, as "the great missionary or apostle to the nations," who was once a persecutor of Christians.
"My dear brothers and sisters, in different ways and in different states of life, we are all called to be apostles," Tagle said.
The cardinal added: "We are also called to be the rock on which are built families, neighborhoods, hospitals, schools, shelters for the abandoned and the abused, parishes, dioceses. We are called to be the rock, stone, not because of our innate capacities, but because God trusts in us – God whose mercy never ends."
Tagle then explained "true greatness."
"We learned from the readings and from the testimony of Peter and Paul that true greatness happens only when we are open to God's mercy," he said.
Receiving 'God's graciousness'
In his homily on Wednesday, the cardinal also criticized too much "self promotion."
"Our world today is made up of people who want to make a name for themselves, and the more people we have of that type of thinking, 'I want to make a name for myself,' nothing is built up," he said.
Tagle said Peter and Paul "welcomed the mercy of God, did not resist God's mercy, did not persevere in pride, in self promotion, improving themselves, but humbly received God's graciousness."
"That made them great, and that made them the foundation of the Church, continuously being built up by Jesus Christ," he said.
The cardinal ended his homily by appealing for prayers for Pope Francis, whom Catholics believe is the successor of Peter. Francis himself has requested prayers since he became pontiff in 2013.
Joining Tagle in the Mass on Wednesday was the papal nuncio or the Vatican ambassador to the Philippines, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto.
Pinto began the Pope's Day Mass by blessing an image of Peter, vested in red the way its counterpart in Rome is vested on June 29. – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at email@example.com.