Homily: Old Girls Day Mass

The homily of Fr. Luis Lorenzo, LC, delivered during the Old Girls Day Mass in the morning of October 16, 2022, was beautiful.  It touched the soul and many teared while listening to him.  By special and popular demand, here is the full text of his uplifting, inspiring homily.

Fr. Lorenzo is the Regnum Christi Youth and Vocations Director, DLSU chaplain and parti-time ADMU Loyola Schools chaplain.

Nothing without Faith, Never without Passion

Assumption College Velada, 16 October 2022

It was the year of our Lord, 1997. Fidel V. Ramos was president. The exchange rate was at 29.45 pesos to a dollar. Beverly Hills 90210 and The Nanny were showing on Studio 23 (if you still remember the channel!). And “Ok ka, Fairy ko!” was in its final season. But unknown to greater society and eleven-year-old me, a new batch of Assumptionistas was graduating that year and had put together a motto for their yearbook, “Nothing without Faith, Never without Passion.”

To the silver jubilarians of this year’s AC Velada, thank you for the kind invitation to celebrate and pray this Eucharist with you, and for this timeless message which, quoting Tab Estacion, has become a gift you have tried sharing with others, now for twenty-five years: “Nothing without Faith, never without Passion.” Let’s try reflecting on this theme a little more guided by today’s liturgy.

First, “nothing without faith”. Our First Reading tells of an epic battle in Jewish history. On one side of the plain stands the vast people of Israel guided by the Lord, and on the other stand the Amalekites, a pagan people whose only intent is to pillage, plunder and destroy. The brave general Joshua leads the Jewish people into battle while their great father Moses positions himself on higher ground to pray for victory. Whenever Moses’ arms are raised, the battle goes well for them. But whenever he lowers them from exhaustion, it gets worse. Until Aaron and Hur, the closest relatives of Moses, come to his aid and support their brother in prayer. Then, victory is assured, and fearless Joshua finally destroys the enemy. Certainly, this all could not have happened without faith!

But how does one define this “faith”, especially that of an Assumptionista? I needed to “phone a friend”, who consecrated her life to God just recently! Her answer, “The faith AC taught me helped me reflect on the intentions of my actions: ‘what’s my why?’ and helped me convert that question to ‘who’s my why?’” So, where did the Israelites get their strength? From Someone whom they knew was more powerful than the darkness and danger and despair… Someone whom they knew loved them.

My dear sisters (I don’t think you classify as my Titas yet), whatever your battle today is or maybe that of your families, God, the Lord of Heaven and Earth is with you! He is Love once crucified but now risen, promising victory and healing and peace to those who turn to Him and seek His help. Nothing without faith leads to everything with it!

Second, “never without passion”. In our Gospel, we find this widow who doesn’t stop nagging a dishonest judge, but eventually persuades him to help her. At first it seems that Jesus is praising this “nagging”. (It kind of reminds me of the Titas of Manila who always seem to have this mysterious power of persuasion. Ang babait naman nila!) But Jesus is actually honoring the widow’s persistence, her drive, and her passion for a cause.

This word, “passion”, comes from the Latin “passio” or “pati, patior”, meaning “to suffer”. Because it’s not easy to be passionate about something. It will always demand some sort of sacrifice, and yet we choose to. We beg, we sweat, and we try, because remembering my friend’s words, we aren’t suffering for ourselves. We suffer for others. We suffer for the why and for the who. We suffer for love! Never without passion then means to never stop fighting for the people we love.

I asked one of my student officers at the Ateneo, also an Assumptionista, “How did AC teach you to be passionate?” She answered, “Every year we have fundraising for a certain cause, could be in the form of our fair, alternative Christmas parties, to bring joy to communities during the festive season… but my favorite of all would be immersion. Though it varies person to person, I would say that up to this day I still remember the family I met in my 4th year immersion because of the kindness they showed me, and their openness to welcome me into their home. This act of kindness truly showed me God’s unconditional love, teaching me to live my life this way in every opportunity that I can. With love, comes passion to put into practice because as Saint Marie Eugenie said, ‘Love never says: I have done enough!’”

Dear Sisters, Titas, Lolas, mom… be comforted to know that twenty-five years since 1997, even as presidents have changed, the peso has weakened, our favorite shows gone and done, and those yearbook grad pics, well… but this faith and passion of the Assumption are still very much alive and beating in the hearts of the young, who in turn inspire us once more to believe and to love. Please allow me to close with this prayer of St. Marie Eugenie:

“It is for You alone, O my God, that I am here. You are the all of my life. My thoughts, my words, my affections are all for You. And although I can’t always be at Your feet, my life must be, in a way, a constant prayer. Prayer must be the soul of my life. May each one of my thoughts, of my occupations, be directed towards the fullness with which I want to belong to You. Amen”

May this fullness which she speaks of be yours and mine, both now and always, as we continue to live nothing without faith and never without passion!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *