“With that uncertain future, with lockdowns and quarantines, we should all the more appreciate the gift of life that our Heavenly Creator has granted us.” – Bishop Julito B. Cortes
READ: HOMILY OF BISHOP JULITO B. CORTES during the 72nd Charter Day Mass
To our honorable Mayor Ipe Remollo, the honorable members of the Dumaguete City Council, Heads of Departments, Barangay Chairmen and members or representatives who are here, guests from the different sectors of the community, brothers and sisters in Christ good morning and happy 72nd Charter Day of our beloved city of Dumaguete.
I am thankful that our local officials have decided to commence this historical moment of the city with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at this Presidencia historical place.
With this celebration of the Holy Mass we are in effect proclaiming that, we in Dumaguete, are God-loving people. We acknowledge that we are God’s people and that in everything we do we always seek God’s counsel and blessing.
2020 has been a difficult year for all of us, not only here in the Philippines but in the whole world. That is why I think we doubly rejoice during this opportunity.
Despite the limitation because of the pandemic we are able to celebrate though livestreaming. We rejoice that we are still able to celebrate the city’s charter day and rejoice that through God’s grace we have remained alive, we are still alive we should be grateful to that.
Definitely we mourn to our loved ones or friends who have died because of the virus and from other causes. We honor and expressed collective gratitude to our frontliners in the city who have served well those with covid-19 virus and other illnesses.
But given how our lives have become unimaginably uncertain beginning March and even up to now. With that uncertain future, with lockdowns and quarantines, we should all the more appreciate the gift of life that our Heavenly Creator has granted us.
All the more that we should value life, ours and those of others. All the more that we appreciate the presence of loved ones and friends with us.
You and I could not have arrived at this moment in our lives and then now a history as a city. If we were not resilient the past seven or so months to a fight. Our theme, the theme you have chosen “Resilience in the midst of the Pandemic” very appropriate.
Because resilience has been our way of life the past months, example those dismissed from work and left with no stable monthly income. Many of us have found ways to cook and to sell them online.
Splurging money on clothes and food in the past, many of us are now content to wear old clothes and even have the generosity to offer clothes to others who may need them, like the victims of the recent typhoons.
It in the past, some of us were often out during the night for good time with our friends and barkadas. Now, many of us have been forced to stay indoors and in the process found time with family and loved ones in meals and in prayer.
So it is possible, it is possible to be resilient, to live simply, to curb unnecessary spending and in the process survive.
Today, however we find ourselves more resilient. Let us reach out for those in the sectors of our society, in our city who are really having great difficulty in responding to the challenges of the pandemic.
According to the proverbs, a chain or a kadena is a strong as its weakest link. If we apply that to Dumaguete, our city is as strong as its weakest members or the attention we give to them.
In particular, those who go hungry for some time, the day-to-day wage earners who are still without jobs, young children and our senior citizens, those who are sick and who may not have the means to buy the medicines they need, those who are depressed or those who are suffering from mental illness in whatever form because of the pandemic.
The Lord, during these trying times, has shown us the fragility of our lives. But he has also shown us that together we can survive and emerge victorious over this pandemic.
As Pope Francis said in an interview last April 17, and I quote, “an emergency like covid-19 is overcome in the first place by anti-bodies of solidarity. These enables us to respond together to the many evils that are affecting so many of our brothers and sisters across the globe”.
And then he continued to say, “we cannot allow ourselves to write the present and future history by turning our back on the suffering of so many people. The hope is that our response would be marked by hope, faith and charity”.
Our prayers to our city and its citizens and to all of your who lead and serve us, may our Patroness, Saint Catherine of Alexandria, enlighten us on our ways of reaching out to our brothers and sisters in need.