Cardinal Tagle last Dec. 15 in what is most likely his last advent recollection in the Philippines before he leaves the country for his Vatican post.
Cardinal Tagle: Be kind, Be forgiving
WELL-BEING - Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit (The Philippine Star) - December 31, 2019 - 12:00am

At the Araneta Center last Dec. 15, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle led at least a thousand people in what is most likely was his last Advent recollection in the Philippines organized by Jesuit Communications.  Pope Francis last Dec. 8 named Cardinal Tagle as prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, a Vatican Cabinet post.

While the recollection and Mass ended with tearful goodbyes, Cardinal Tagle quickly reminded everyone that the event was not for him and about him but about the message of Christmas. 

He started the recollection by pointing out how angels figured prominently all throughout the nativity story. An angel appeared to Zechariah to inform him that his old and barren wife Elizabeth would give birth to a son, John the Baptist. The Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear a son Jesus, while an angel appeared to Joseph in his dream to not be afraid to take the pregnant Mary as his wife.

Angels are always involved when something from God is about to happen, when something divine and human are being connected. Cardinal Tagle calls on us to be angels in this world of rising false testimonies.

He quoted Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, Chapter 4:25 to 32, which aptly describes how we are called to be bearers of truth. “So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”

“If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good, hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”

“And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (New Living Translation Holy Bible)”

As the angels are bearers of good news like the birth of Jesus and his resurrection from the dead, Cardinal Tagle encourages us to “be the voice, be the guardian of the nearness and closeness of God.”

In contrast, he said that lies and fabricated stories lead to sin and death. Such as when the serpent and Eve connived to fool Adam into biting the forbidden fruit. Or when rumors and false accusations led to the trial, crucifixion and death of Jesus.

Cardinal Tagle quoted an expert who defined fake news as fabricated with the deliberate purpose of deceiving others and encouraging them to pass on the fake news. He added that while today is an information society, it is lamentable that it is not a knowledge society. We should not just gather information but we should search for knowledge. We should be critical and search for truth.

He is further saddened by the growing culture of superficiality. “It is not enough to stop spreading false testimonies. We should spread good news. We should put away false news.”

Former President Barack Obama also had strong sentiments about youth activism and irresponsibility in social media in one of the Obama Foundation summits this year. 

“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re always politically ‘woke’ and all that stuff. You should get over that quickly. The world is messy; there are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids, and share certain things with you,” Obama said.

“I do get a sense sometimes now among certain young people, and this is accelerated by social media, there is this sense sometimes of, ‘The way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people,’” he said, “and that’s enough.”

“Like, if I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right or used the wrong verb,” he said, “then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself, cause, ‘Man, you see how woke I was, I called you out.’”

“That’s not activism. That’s not bringing about change,” he said. “If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far. That’s easy to do,” Obama concluded.

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