Photo by Enrique Agcaoili/The LANCE.
An advent mass was held at the Colegio Chapel on December 20, 2018 in the morning attended by the Letran community from students of all levels, together with administrators, faculty and non-faculty employees of Letran.
The mass was presided by the Rector and President, Rev. Fr. Clarence Victor C. Marquez, O.P., while Rev. Fr. John Stephen Besa, O.P. delivered the homily.
From his homily, Fr. Besa expressed his awe for how lively the people are in Letran during the annual week-long celebration of Colegio Week. “Dito pala sa Letran kapag Colegio Week gabi na tumatakbo pa. Ang programa kaliwa’t-kanan kaya kaming mga admin nagkakasalubong kami para tumingin at makidalo sa palatuntunan, sa mga programa”, he said. After citing many events that transpired during the week-long celebration, Fr. Besa could only express joy for all that has happened. “Sobrang saya, napaka saya sa loob ng Letran!,” he added.
Being a former parish priest in the island province of Camiguin and former Director of Lyceum Camiguin, he shared how he celebrates Christmas, “Ako po’y pinagbigyan ng pagkakataon ma-assign sa isla. At nagbigay ito ng kakaibang pananaw ng Pasko.”
Comparing the many lights that brighten the city during the Yuletide season, he talked about the darkness in the island provinces where you could only look at the night sky and the stars. “Kung dito sa Maynila, dito sa sentro, maraming Christmas lights”, he said, “Sa isla, kapag 10:30pm na wala ng kuryente sobrang dilim ang makikita mo na lamang ay ang mga butuin sa langit.”, he added.
He also expressed confusion with how people nowadays celebrate Christmas leading to how the Virgin Mary felt confused on why she was chosen to bear the Lord’s only begotten Son. “Tulad sa ating ebanghelyo, naguguluhan ang ating mahal na Ina”, he said, “Ikaw ba naman sabihan, teenager ka bigla kang sasabihan, ‘Sumasaiyo ang Panginoon’.” The gospel delivered was based from the Luke 1:26-38 that tells how the angel spoke to the Virgin Mary that she will bear a son then suddenly leaves her.
He then reminded everyone to imitate Mary on how she heeded God’s call to have a more meaningful Christmas. “We are being reminded not only to be merry, but to be Mary,” he said.
“Tulad ni Maria, ang magpapasaya sa atin sa darating na Pasko ay ang pagtugon sa atin Panginoon,” he ended.