One hour and a half didn’t seem heavy for more than a hundred faithful from all over the island along with the clergy and religious who listened attentively to the Advent Talk of His Eminence Luis Antonio Tagle, DD, last Saturday evening at Mt. Carmel Cathedral.
With his natural and humble persona and his occasional humor, Cardinal Tagle spoke about Missionary Discipleship in the context of the Season of Advent.
“There is a kind of waiting that fulfills”, says Tagle. “Someone is coming,” he said. “Not just something but someone! That someone is the Son of God who will fulfil the prophecies of old – liberation, human dignity, freedom, and peace based on justice and truth. With this, who will not be excited?”
Advent is the shortest of all seasons but in fact it is part of daily life. Life is a perpetual waiting for the coming of the Lord.
Cardinal Tagle reminded everyone that in Advent it is not only we who wait for the Lord, but the Lord also waits for us. “The Lord has come but since we do not live by his example, it seems that he has not come. He has already come but those who is supposed to receive him has not receive him to the fullest.”
He then spoke of missionary and discipleship as a never ending Advent. “You never say I am already a disciple, a missionary. There is nothing else to learn, to wait for. If we think in this way, then Advent has failed. We need to be always excited to welcome Jesus to make us better disciple and missionary and every day we wait also for ourselves to come to Jesus.”
The literal meaning of the word ‘disciple’ is a student. To be a disciple is to be willing to learn, to be teachable. A disciple is a perpetual student of Jesus Christ.
Cardinal Tagle explained that being a disciple of Jesus does not begin by our choosing but by His choice. “He choose those whom nobody will choose. Therefore there is no room for pride and selfishness in discipleship because we have no merits to claim except the mercy and compassion of Jesus.”
“Jesus was a good teacher. He knows the capacity of his disciples and He promised to send them the Holy Spirit so that the learning process will continue.”
“That discipleship however, getting to know Jesus, being with Jesus learning from him is not just for our personal sanctification. It is not just for personal growth even if that is important. Jesus spent time teaching and forming us so that he could sends us on a mission”, says the cardinal. He emphasized the intimate connection between being a disciple and being a missionary. “We cannot be missionary without being a disciple first. If I am a disciple then I am a missionary and if I am a missionary then will learn over and over again from Jesus.”
The Advent talk concluded with a question and answer forum where some of the faithful were able to share and ask relevant questions to Cardinal Tagle.
This was his first ever visit in Saipan after having been invited in the last four or five years. Despite a delayed arrival late Saturday afternoon, the Archbishop of Manila engaged the people of Saipan with his usual self.