Home Opinion Our shared vocation: The good news, the message, the truth

Our shared vocation: The good news, the message, the truth

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I STAND in behalf of the Church in extending gratitude and congratulations to your institution and to your mission in our society in spreading the news, truth, and information that our people need.

In the New Testament, Paul is not regarded as a good speaker. Si San Pablo, hindi po sya marunong magsalita. In fact, he was so lousy. In Acts Chapter 4, he was speaking, ang haba-haba ng kanyang preaching. He was speaking on the 3rd floor in a big building, nakatulog po yung isang kabataan dahil boring siyang speaker. Nahulog, namatay. 

Though St. Paul was not a good speaker, he was a good writer, like you. In spite of his handicap in speaking, he was a good writer. And you know, almost one half of the New Testament is written by St. Paul. Fourteen books, letters are attributed to him: the letter to the Romans, the first and second letters to the Corinthians, letter to the Galatians, letter to the Ephisians, letter to the Philippians, letter to the Colossians, the first and second letters of the Thessalonians, and so on. 

He was not a good speaker, but a good writer. Alam nyo, kinukumpara si St. Paul kay Apollos. Have you ever read of Apollos in the Bible? In one instance, he was mentioned. Sabi ng iba, “I am for Apollos,” kasi si Apollos daw magandang lalaki, magandang magsalita, magaling siyang mag speech, but he did not write anything. That’s why we don’t even know him now. “I am for St. Paul,” sabi ng iba, “I am for Apollos…” but in the end, we look back, it was Paul who wrote and established many of the letters and information of the New Testament.

I would like to see your mission like Paul. We have all our handicap but as you write, it will remain, it will be preserved, it will be far beyond our lifetimes. Den pung sinulat yu, deng likwan yu, hopefully we preserve them because these will be part of our legacy, far beyond our lifetime like Paul.

Magtaka ko pu siguru maka malutu ku pu. I’m not wearing this for any political party or personality, because this is the feast day of martyrs. Ustu pung maka malutu ing pari, atin mete para king kasalpantayanan. Den pung mete ngeni, St. Andrew Dung-Lac, he’s a Vietnamese, he was a convert to Christianity then to Catholicism, and then he was with his companion martyrs from Vietnam. Bali pu pilan ka… 117 martyrs. All of them were killed for their faith. We do not mourn for their death; we celebrate how they lived their life and died for our faith. That’s why we still have our church today. Atin pung metung a church historian, sabi na, “It is the blood of the martyrs that watered the seeds of Christianity.” Ang dugo ng mga martir ang tunay na nagpayaman sa binhi ng pananampalatayang Kristiyano. 

I was reading CPJ – Committee to Protect Journalist – article. Even among our ranks in the Philippines, we have 156 journalists, media workers killed in our country between 1992 and 2002. Some motivations are confirmed, others unconfirmed. I’m reading through them, apat pa lang yata ang na-resolved sa mga cases na ‘to. 

You know, like the Church, you journalists and you in the Pampanga Press Club also belong to an institution where you have martyrs where their blood also nourished our profession, out mission. 

Napansin mo ngayon, kahit naka-cellphone ka, basta may cellphone ka, you can pretend to be a journalist. You can send your own news, you can create your own content, you can have followers, you can have readers, you can be dancing, promoting a product, you can do the Tiktok, meron bloggers, YouTubers, sometimes they have more followers than us kasi very easy. Sometimes 1 million, 500,000. Very attractive. 

They are like Apollos in the times of the New Testament. They have many followers but our writings will remain. Noong nag-start po kami sa Men of Light, mayroon kaming humble TV show or talk show nina Bishop Ambo David… Nung nag-start po kami 20 years ago, sabi ni Randy David, kuya ni Bishop Ambo, “Ambo, di kayo magtatagal dyan, wala kayong pera,” kasi he was thinking of mainline show. We cannot afford to be in mainline television stations. Well after 20 years, we’re still here. Sabi po nung adviser namin noon, yun yumaong si Direk Marilou Diaz-Abaya, she was coaching us in our early years. Sabi niya. “Fathers do not worry about the technology, do not worry about the camera.” Kasi di kami marunong mag-camera, di kami marunong mag-edit, hindi kami marunong sa spotlight. Wala kaming technology mga pari. Sabi ni director Abaya: “Do not worry about technology, as long as you have the message, as long as you have the mission everything will follow. You can always buy a camera, hire somebody to edit for you. But your message, the good news is more important.”

I believe today the young people are so techie, and yet sometimes we ourselves sa simbahan pag nagmimisa kami mas gusto nila online. Pero the presence and the reality of our mission would invite us to be more dedicated to what we do. Ngayon po yung mga readings natin, nakakatakot. Ang tawag natin ngayon, “End Times.” Bakit po? Kasi sa Sunday, First Sunday of Advent na, patapos na ang ating panahon pero in Theology, ang End Times, di naman talaga nakakatakot. If you know kung anong gusto mong matapos. Ano ang End Times sa Christianity? Ano ang dapat matapos? End of the world daw? Ano yun? It is the fulfillment of time, it is the end of the world of injustice, the end of the world of corruption and untruth and deception, and also it is the end of the world of violence and war, the end of the world of abuse and poverty, then this is the end of the world that Christianity refers (to), we are very happy to welcome it. Kaya po yung ending ng ating gospel, when these things happen look up and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand. Hindi po tayo natatakot sa katapusan ng mundo, kung yung mundong matatapos ay yung mundong hindi natin gusto sa panahon natin. 

Mayroon po akong nakakwento na taga Sta Rita, umiiyak po sya kasi namatay yung uncle niya. Yung uncle niya nagbi-violin. Kaya lang hindi naman araw-araw may violin show, hindi na po siya makapag-violin sa kasal o sa mga prusisyon o sa mga gatherings, pero because he really loves playing the violin, it’s what he does best, nakikipag-violin daw sya sa mga kapitbahay nila sa mga ilalim ng halaman. Alas-3 ng hapon nag-violin po sila tapos po na heart attack po siya while playing the violin. Naiyak po yung pamangkin niya, pinagmisa ko siya. “Mete ya pu ing bapa ku, tatalnan nepu violin na makalunus ya, emiya pu adala ospital.” He had a massive heart attack, he was holding the violin when he died, and then sabi ko po dun sa pamangkin niya: “You know, your uncle, he must be very fulfilled. He died doing what he did best, playing the violin.”

Journalism, writing, media is your life. It’s what you do best. It is your gift, actually. Maybe some of you are trained into it, but I think it is also your passion. It is a gift from God. It is your calling. If you put it in a religious term, it is your vocation. In this way, I pray that with this vocation blossoms. 

I would like to repeat what I read about what they call the Journalist’s Creed:

“I believe in the profession of journalism. 

I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust. 

I believe that clear thinking and clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.

I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true…”

Nandito po ako not only to celebrate Mass. Nandito po ako to salute you, to continue your mission. Marami po yung nawala sa atin from our ranks, maybe we need young, fresh blood to follow this wonderful group. Minsan po nagsalita sa amin yung matandang teacher sa Ateneo… “Love your vocation with passion. It is the meaning of your life.”

I believe this is our shared vocation. The good news, the message, the truth. We need more of this today, until the end. May we not let go of what we do best. 

(Homily of Fr. Deo Galang at the Thanksgiving Mass for the 73rd anniversary of the Pampanga Press Club, 24 Nov. 2022) 

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