WHAT REALLY MATTERS
Homily delivered by Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas during the Mass held last August 1, 2010 at La Salle Greenhills, Mandaluyong City on the occasion of the first death anniversary of President Cory Aquino.
How time flies! How fast time flies! It does not feel like it has been three hundred sixty five days since President Cory left us to return to the house of the Father. The grief is still fresh. The tears on the cheeks have dried but not the tears in our hearts. We remember how the skies shed tears too as her lonesome casket was transferred from Makati to La Salle Greenhills a year ago. We remember how the heavens cried abundant tears as we traveled from Manila Cathedral to Manila Memorial Park. How can we forget the Cory magic that hovered over the whole nation as we grieved the death of our favorite Tita?
How time flies! How fast time flies! How can we forget seeing Noynoy on the television that early morning of August first last year telling the nation that his mother and our mother had passed away. He was only a son, a grieving only son of a dearly beloved mother. We did not see a senator; we did not see an official of government. We only saw in him ourselves, our ordinary selves—he was our brother because his mother was ours too. That morning Noynoy represented us—saddened by the irreparable loss, afraid to face the emptiness that was sure to ensue. In Noynoy, we saw ourselves, like in a mirror, that early morning of August first.
How time flies! How fast time flies! Like a whirlwind, the wake and the funeral of President Cory awakened in us a new spirit of nationalism, a resurrection of lost pride as Filipinos because we remembered again that we are a race worth dying for. In 1984, the reluctant widow of our hero accepted the challenge to lead us. Last year, the reluctant only son followed the example of his heroic mother, laid aside his personal convenience and animated us to be united in the fight against corruption and the pursuit of national healing and progress.
How time flies! How fast time flies! But throughout the swift sequence of events in our lives, one thing only remained unchanged—the love of God for all us. It has not aged. It has not changed. It has not weakened. It never flew away like time! And I am sure it will never die! The love of God for us has not changed because it has always been full since the moment God started loving us. And it is this love that is our reason for gathering together today.
When we remember the death of President Cory, we remember how time flies, how everything is fleeting and trivial and unimportant. One thing alone is important—God in our lives. Everything else will pass away.
Everything is temporary. Life is a journey. This world is not our home. Remembering President Cory today gives us a good occasion to be reminded of the truly important things in life and the things that do not really matter. Death is certain for all of us. We do not know when and where and how. We are only sure that some day we will die like President Cory. Anytime God can say to you and me: Your life will be demanded of you in a few minutes and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Indeed, Ecclesiastes in the first reading today reminds us: Everything is vanity. The Sunday readings today help us to focus on the truly important and lay aside the trivial and fleeting.
The memory of Tita Cory teaches us the greatness of simplicity. Her memory is a sterling lesson of detachment from power and prestige. Her life was a story of full and unconditional dependence on the power of God and the strength of prayer. She was our most prayerful President who never missed a chance to encourage us to pray and whose example of prayer, translated into her life, was a source of inspiration for so many. She gave us her best when she was our President and yet she remained detached and unaffected by the trappings of power and prestige. Everything is vanity! God alone is enough!
Ballsy, Pinky, Viel and Kris, thank you for allowing the prayerful piety of your mother to continue through you. Thank you for continuing her legacy of simplicity and indifference to the glitter of popularity.
Kris, as you continue to stay in the limelight of show business and go up higher in your career on television, remember: All of these will pass. Your beauty and talents are not yours; they are God’s. You will find your real happiness, as your mother did, not on being in the limelight but by being the spotlight lighting the face of Jesus.
President Noy, your indifference to the embellishments of power is edifying and almost incredible. Thank you for restoring our trust in government and for showing that public officials are indeed honorable people. As you continue to lead us to the land of our dreams, do not forget June 30, 2016. Make it easy for your successor. You know how hard it is to inherit a corrupt system. Don’t do it unto your successor. Everything will pass. The nice things will end. The problems will also end. At the sunset of your Presidency, you will only be judged according to how much you have loved. In the end, only love will remain. May you be our most available and loving bachelor President.
Today, brothers and sisters, Tita Cory teaches us: I died last year. Someday you will die too--mamamatay rin kayo!--sooner than you think. All things will end but do not be afraid. God will always be there for you without end. God is more than enough!
The Roman Catholic
Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan
(Central Pangasinan, Philippines)