The Heritage of Love: Remember, Celebrate, Believe

Photos by Jonathan L. Yu (H4G), Student Council Executive Board

The following Homily was delivered by Rev. Ernald M. Andal, SJ last 6 November 2013 during the Institutional Mass with Catholic Rite of Ancestral Veneration.

AV broDuring Halloween, dead people usually get bad press!  They are either seen as creepy ghosts or crazy zombies.

But here in Xavier School, we ought to know better. Today in this Mass, as one family, we will honor our departed ancestors. In a special way, we shall honor the memory and the heritage of our family and friends , as well as the Jesuits and their companions who have gone ahead of us and have served the Lord well. They, along with others, have brought us goodness and blessings. They have taught us wisdom and values. Through their lives, they have brought us closer to our loving God.

And so today in honoring our beloved dead, in honoring their memory and heritage of love, we shall as one family REMEMBER, CELEBRATE, and BELIEVE.

We remember Paul Hsu Kuang Chi, a brilliant Chinese scholar and an astute Chinese government official. He was a great friend of Fr. Matteo Ricci. As you know, it was because of his goodness and protection that our great missionary Jesuit ancestor succeeded in entering the previously exclusive Chinese court. We remember, too, Fr. Jean Desautels, S.J.  He refused to waver in his zeal to proclaim God’s great love to the Chinese even as he and his group were expelled from the Mainland by the Communists. It was because of his vision and hard work that we are in this great school today. We also remember Fr. Ismael Zuloaga, a passionate Jesuit who is a giant in Xavier School’s history. Under his term as the school’s Director, Xavier expanded in numbers, faculty, and prestige. We owe a lot to them. But it is not just because of them that we come together today in this Mass and remember ultimately God’s goodness.

We remember, too, the likes of our own ancestors. We remember for instance our beloved grandparents and other family members who have passed away.

They have worked so hard to bring stability in our families. We remember our other departed loved ones, even our family’s friends who have one way or the other brought us blessings and joy as well. But more than material prosperity, we remember them for giving us good character, a reputable name, and a bright future. In them, who have been men and women for others, we remember God. We remember God whose graciousness brings forth to this earth goodness that can be seen, goodness that can be heard, goodness that can be felt in these beloved and honorable people.

Our memory of them gives us and the Church reason to celebrate with hope. Our ancestors also lived lives like ours. They also faced problems and difficulties, but with God’s grace, they tried to do what is right and shared what is good to others. They leave us with their heritage of love. And that is why we are here, ardently praying now in this Eucharist.

And so we believe in faith. We believe then that the path they took is also made available to us through Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, the Life. This, by the grace of Christ, is what we as a family ought to celebrate and believe in: We have received what is good from our ancestors and so we must pass on what is good to the next generation.  We have inherited the bountiful goodness that they have generously handed on to us. They now ask us to carry on with their dreams and their values.

And so I end with this short video about this teenage boy who struggles to learn a difficult lesson. In the end he shall realize that the true treasure that his dying grandma is giving him is no other than her heritage of love.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybxNkpS5q-g

My Xavier School community, not all dead people are scary and creepy. Our dearly departed ancestors are definitely not. They leave us and challenge us with their heritage of love . With grateful and hopeful hearts then, let us honor them today and remember, celebrate, and believe.

AV ari

 

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