FR. AL CASTILLO’s homily, in the Liturgical Celebration of the 7th Novena day at the Our Lady of Angels Seminary last night, recalled the first reading about angels being always with the Lord. Then he described the OLAs chapel as portiuncula (small portion, in English) which their chapel is. But like their patron St. Francis, who considered it home, the Franciscan Friars call it similarly. Like St. Francis, it is not only home, it is also their life.
“In a Franciscan’s life,” he continued, “Mary is always a mother. This is what we reflect on. That Mary became a place for the Son of God when the Father chose her to be the Mother of Jesus Christ. She accepted and, by accepting, she made herself available. The story of the vocation of Mary is like when God asks us to be His disciples. When Mary heard Gabriel’s message, the Child Jesus became dependent on her, the most intimate relationship between Mother and the Child in her womb, where she became the home of God, She is first of all a mother to Jesus, responding faithfully to all then things that happened to her. Later on, she was also obedient to her Son, as in times when He said it was not yet His time, at the wedding in Cana. Yet she knew who He was and told the manservants to “follow whatever He tells them.” And water was turned to wine, the first miracle of Jesus. Her obedience is a life of being a handmaid of the Lord. ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you, said an anonymous character in Mary’s life, which is why in the Magnificat, Luke tells us that all generations will call her blessed. Indeed, Mary becomes our mother. When Christ was nailed to the cross, He told His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son.’ Then Jesus refers to the disciple, ‘Son, behold your mother.’
“For those who would like to follow Jesus and become sons and daughters of Mary, vocation is not only acceptance and giving of one’s self, it is also a space for God to dwell. It is only the first step, accepting the call makes the self available. Like the time when, at the foot of the cross, Mary grows into her vocation. Like her, we should all let go and welcome a bigger family, true to all of us. When we respond to the Lord, we accept – and are accepted by – all families, patiently waiting for the Holy Spirit, which completed her motherhood. Every time we offer our faith to Jesus, we do not leave behird the Blessed Virgin Mary, she is part of Jesus, our humanity, our being disciples. Because it is hard to think that we revere Christ but set aside His mother. For us to accept her for making herself available to others is a blessed act, for ‘blessed is the womb’ becomes true when it enters the beatitudes: Blessed is the one who hears the Word of God and keeps it.”
Afterward, towards the end of the Mass, Fr. Edwin Dionisio, Guardian of OLAS, thanked San Jose ang Tagapagtanggol Parish, and the congregation that represented the church that night, not only for sponsoring the Novena Mass but also for giving them early vocations in the persons of Brothers Robin, Rodel and Marvin.
On the heels of Salve Regina, Fr. Al bestowed on the faithful the final blessing. Amen.