[Mass of the Holy Spirit, ADDU, SY 2019-20, Martin Hall, June 25, 2019]
We begin this academic year with fresh insight into our University Vision.
We know we are a university. And as a university, we are dedicated to instruction, formation, research, and service to our community. But as a university, we are Catholic, Jesuit, and Filipino. We are Catholic because we proceed from the heart of the Church. We are Jesuit because we appropriate the mission of the Society of Jesus and the spirituality of its founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola. But we are also Filipino. Today, we understand ourselves to be Filipino emphatically in our love for and service of Mindanao. We open ourselves to the knowledge and skills of our contemporary world. But as a Filipino university community, we wish to dedicate that knowledge and those skills to the service of Mindanao.
In the context of this vision, we have a new understanding of our University Mission.
We appropriate the mission of the Society of Jesus. That mission today is that we participate in the Father’s work of reconciling humanity with himself, of reconciling human beings with one another, and of reconciling humanity with Creation.
This is not a new mission, but as old as our understanding of the Father looking compassionately onto us and our world estranged from him through our sin, and acting to reconcile us with himself by sending to us his only begotten Son as our redeemer. He effects this reconciliation through Jesus’ death on a Cross. Lifted up on this Cross, Jesus lifts us to himself, that we may be uplifted with him in reconciliation with the Father. To us, the Father and the Son send us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who teaches us about all that Jesus has taught us – that we are to love one another, that we are to put first the Kingdom of God, that we are to share His truth and life with all others, that we are to discover that what we do to the least of our sisters and brothers that we do to him – so that believing in Jesus we might be one with him and the Father and participate in his work of reconciliation.
Our participation in the Father’s work of reconciliation is possible only through the Spirit. Included here, is our openness to be continually strengthened in our faith by the Spirit so that we might grow in a profound love for the Father who creates and loves humanity so faithfully that when it alienates itself from him through sin, the Father undertakes to reconcile it to himself. In the Spirit, we gain profound insight into the value and dignity of humanity the Father loves.
In a world where humanity is estranged from itself, dehumanized through sin, we work in God’s Spirit to restore humanity to itself, reconciling estranged humanity with itself and with God.
In the context of Mindanao, we consider ourselves specially missioned to inter-cultural, inter-religious and inter-ideological dialogue, to respond to the needs of the Bangsamoro People, the newly-formed political entity, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), the needs of the Lumad communities, as well as to the concerns of rebels moved to extremes by the lack of social justice on this island. In response to widespread poverty in Mindanao, we are missioned to use our learning and savvy to create wealth, yet see to its equitable distribution. In this context, we are missioned to strengthen our instruction and research in science and technology and exploit this through technopreneurship. For the benefit of Mindanao, we are missioned to promote cultural understanding and friendship with our neighbors like China, Japan, and the ASEAN countries, many of whose peoples have yet to encounter the message and person of Jesus Christ. We understand that for this mission today, learning cannot be confined to basic education and a first academic degree, but that learning must be lifelong, and that the world of academe must interact more intimately with the world of work. Beyond this mission to the humanization of humanity, we are also missioned to participate in God’s reconciliation of Creation with himself by reconciling humanity with creation. We are thereby missioned to continue to protect and promote the environment, our common home. In pursuing this entire mission we are missioned to form ADDU sui generis leaders for life who throughout their lives would serve Mindanao; these graduates would be our most precious contribution to Mindanao. Because they would serve Mindanao for life, we are missioned to treasure and work with them in a shared mission.
It is in the context not only of a new academic year but of a deepened understanding of our Vision and a fresh understanding of our Mission that we come together at this Mass and pray, “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful servants.”
Today, in Mindanao, teach us about all that Jesus taught us, about what Jesus said about his oneness with his Father who had sent Him into our world. Teach us how, in Mindanao, we must be of the same mind of Jesus:
6Who, existing in the form of God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped,
7but emptied Himself,
taking the form of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross.
9Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place
and gave Him the name above all names,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:6-11)
where on the one hand we know the source of all truth, yet, on the other hand, we must unceasingly search for truth concealed in darkness, in fake news, in propaganda, in false promises, in legal prevarication, in misleading ideologies, in monied messianism and mendacious hypocrisy;
where on the one hand we know the creative source of all abundance and wealth, yet on the other hand must confront the most abject of poverty cruelly imposed by human beings on other human beings in the poorest of our nation’s regions: in XI, Zamboanga; X, Northern Mindanao; XII, SOCCKSARGEN; XIII, CARAGA, and in the BARMM;
where on the one hand we know in faith why we have hope undeniably, yet, on the other hand, must confront the most profound depths of despair sometimes in others, sometimes in the poorest of the poor, sometimes in the wealthiest of students, but sometimes even in ourselves;
where on the one hand we bow before our God all-powerful, yet on the other hand are so apparently powerless against personal and institutional and political and international abuses of power, like when a superior wounds an inferior for life, or a President decides against the financial interests of citizens, or when a country disrupts the world order to advance its own selfish interests;
where on the one hand we believe in your goodness and compassion, and yet on the other hand in the hardness of life beg for help in our disbelief;
In these tensions that we experience in being a Catholic and Jesuit University in the service of Mindanao let us recall Jesus’ words when he promised us the Holy Spirit:
20Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. …Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. (John 16: 20. 24)
Later Jesus said:…“A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
33“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16: 31-33).
Come, Holy Spirit. Drive us to truth. In seeking truth, give us passion, give us perseverance, give us grit. In faith, give us purpose, give us clarity, give us wisdom. In darkness, give us light. In confusion give us discernment. In sin, give us remorse; reconcile us to the Father, to his Goodness, to his Peace… In this world, give us the fruits of his work of reconciliation in his Son. Come, Holy Spirit: only in you can our University vision and mission be comprehended. Only in you can this Mission and Vision be fulfilled.