From the Homily at the Mass in Manila Cathedral
by Fr. Rufino Sescon, Jr.
August 4, 2009
She Led From the Heart
Observing the recent events on President Cory’s funeral unfold, a young parishioner approached me and said, “Fr., we have never seen and felt something like this before. We have never grieved so much like this before!”
Indeed, for millions of young Filipinos, those of the X-Y-Z generation, what is taking place is unparalleled in history. We have never grieved so much like this before!
How could a woman, so frail in the eyes of the mighty and powerful, do this? How was she able to unite us, a people so fractured by politics, economics and ideologies?
I remember as a 14 year-old boy witnessing a presidential campaign. The lady candidate was defending herself against her rival’s accusations that she was inexperienced, that she knew nothing. Her brave reply was - Yes, she was inexperienced. She knew nothing. She knew nothing about stealing, lying, killing and cheating the people.
She was an amateur in the eyes of many. But thank God President Cory was an amateur. You see, the root word of amateur is amator, from amor – love. An amateur is driven mainly by one thing – love. Amateurs can only boast of their passion not their vast knowledge and erudite skills. Amateurs are motivated primarily by their dedication and sincerity. No wonder our Lord chose amateurs as his apostles. He selected people, vulnerable by worldly standards as messengers of the kingdom of God. The Church is alive because of amateurs – disciples simply in love with God.
Yes, President Cory was an amateur because she was driven by love – love for God and country. And because she was driven by sincere love, she led from the heart. Whether as president and commander-in-chief, wife, mother and grandmother, friend, parishioner and citizen, Tita Cory was led by sincere concern. Her heart was full of faith, hope and love.
And because she led from the heart, she captured the hearts of her people. She was ever true to her name, Corazon, which means heart.
Now, we see so much grief, so much unity, so much discipline because President Cory journeyed the longest and most beautiful distance a person can ever cover in life – from her heart to the heart of God, from her heart to the hearts of people.
Almighty God, you promised through the reluctant prophet Jeremiah that you would send us shepherds after your own heart. Thank you, Loving Father, for giving us Tita Cory. Now that she is on her final journey to your heavenly abode, may she intercede with us and for us, so that our beloved country may have shepherds, leaders, citizens after your own heart.
Almighty God, what we need now are not just experts, intellectuals and professionals. Our nation does not lack excellent and gifted people. Our country is hungry for amateurs, people who truly love, people who are sincere and truthful, people who are selfless and passionate for what is good, true and just. Hear our prayer. Send us shepherds after your own heart!
In my priestly ministry, I was blessed to encounter Tita Cory a number of times at Villa San Miguel and Greenbelt Chapel. But I was more blessed to witness the friendship of President Cory and Cardinal Sin. The red hat, which you now see hovering over President Cory and us, belong to Cardinal Sin. They were always sojourners in loving God and country. In life and even till their last breath, they both offered their sickness, sacrifices for God and country. They, together with Ninoy, are inseparable. And I believe the Good Lord deigned that we will remember them all well in history – August 1 (death anniversary) for Cory, August 21 (death anniversary) for Ninoy, August 31 (birth anniversary) for Cardinal Sin.
In one of her last public Masses, Tita Cory modestly said, “Ninoy did not only bring out the best in her. She also brought out the best in Ninoy.” President Cory is bringing out anew the best in us Filipinos. These days are full of grace. We are catching a glimpse of how a grateful people bestow love and respect. The whole world is witnessing a better form of Filipino unity – propelled by faith and hope. Hindi lang pala kaya ng Pilipino magkaisa sa boxing at kasiyahan. Sa pamamagitan ni Tita Cory, nakikita ulit ng mundo ang mas dalisay na pagkakaisa ng mga Pilipino – nagkakaisa sa pananampalataya, pananalig at panalangin. Our young people are now made to realize the power of prayer and affirm the primacy of integrity, honesty and sincerity in public service. The whole nation is waking up again. It is the dawn of a new day!
President Cory, because you led and lived from the heart you entered eternal life on the day of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Tomorrow, you will be laid to rest on the Feast of the Basilica of St. Mary Major. Tita Cory, because you led and lived from the heart, you were called by God as the Catholic Church in the Philippines celebrates the Year of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. God, whom you loved and served faithfully is now calling you to rest peacefully in his merciful heart.
May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ lead us to the Promised Land. May the God of Ninoy Aquino, Jaime Cardinal Sin and Corazon Aquino turn our mourning into joy, keep aflame the love in our hearts and multiply the graces we now behold. Amen.