OPENING OF ACADEMIC YEAR 2015-2016
Homily of Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, D.D.
Father Provincial, Father Rector, my brother priests, brothers and sisters in Christ
Society needs schools because boys and girls need to learn, and society needs universities because men and women need higher learning. That is why we have UST because our children need to learn and our men and women need higher learning.
With the impressive academic gowns and insignia that you are wearing, I am quite sure the most painful, the most insulting word that anyone can say to anybody in the academic community is to be told: “Walang alam.” We don’t like the word. We don’t even like to think of ourselves as walang alam. We don’t even like to consider our children growing up [na] walang alam because walang alam means unimportant. Walang alam means being marginalized. Walang alam in our world means powerless, and there is none here in UST who can be called walang alam.
Unfortunately, UST is not only here to remove people na walang alam in society. UST is here to make sure that the “may alam” also becomes “may pinag-aralan.” Unfortunately, the two are quite different sapagkat maraming-maraming tao ang maraming, maraming alam subalit nabubuhay na parang walang pinag-aralan.
We can stock up knowledge, we can research and invent, we can make the world, in a manner of speaking, caught in awe at the intelligence we carry and yet, we can be parang walang pinag-aralan. Sino po yung mga taong maraming alam pero walang pinag-aralan?
First and foremost, mga taong walang pakialam. Walang pakialam.
Can you please say that together?Let us stay in the Church and beautify the Church. Let us work in the University and make the university a champion. Let us work in the classroom. Let us work in the laboratory and invent and research and discover. Let us leave the corruption in society to society. Let us leave the dishonesty of businessmen to economics. Let us leave the destruction of the environment. Let us leave the evils that we find in the society to society. Walang pakialam.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, please always remember that we educate our children, we educate our men and women in order to become leaven in society, not even just men and women for the Church, but to be good men and women, to be Jesus for society. The product of a good school is a good person, but the product of UST should be another Christ. And if UST is to produce other Christs, those other Christs should engage in social transformation. UST must contribute to society so that society becomes more beautiful and men and women in society become more Christ-like. Walang pakialam.
Universities of higher learning are not ghettos. Universities of higher learning are not separated from society. We are in the midst of society, and the students we produce, the graduates we produce, must be men and women for the life of the world. Provita mundi.
Kailangan tayong makialam because the Holy Spirit is not a spirit of indifference. The Holy Spirit is a spirit of courage. The Holy Spirit gets involved. The Holy Spirit operates in the lives of men and women, and we who work and study in this institute of higher learning, this Catholic University of the Philippines, must contribute to the transformation of society. Walang pakialam. Kahit mataas ang alam, kahit marami ang alam, kapag hindi marunong makialam, we become what Pope Francis calls “a self-referential Church.” Simbahang nakatingin sa salamin at Simabahang sinasabi sa salamin: “Ganda ko talaga!” Simbahang nakatingin sa sariling pusod kahit ang kapatid ay nagugutom, kahit ang mahirap ang may sakit. Walang pakialam. Ang walang pakialam wala ring pinag-aralan. Hindi sila natuto sa udyok ng Espiritu Santo.
The second sign that we who are educated, that we who study in a Catholic university are also formed into another Christ, is we are not people who are walang pakiramdam. Can you say that together?
Do you remember Pope Francis deviating from his prepared speech at UST, crying with those who cried and reminding us intellectuals in the academic community that the Christian who does not know how to cry is not a true Christian. The Christian who does not know how to laugh with those who laugh, how to cry with those who cry, how to suffer with those who suffer is not another Christ. Walang pakiramdam. We can learn and learn and learn, but please remember, it is only with the heart that we can see rightly. It is only with our heart that we can truly learn. May our heart go with our IQ because you know as well as I do, that there many people with high intelligence quotient, with very low emotional quotient, who disrupt relationships, who destroy dignity, who came only for themselves.
Ang una, walang pakialam. Pangalawa, walang pakiramdam. Can you say that together?
Ang pangatlo, walang hiya. Can you say the third one? Bakit mas malakas yung pangatlo? Nakatingin pa kayo sa akin.
The Holy Spirit is not a spirit of shamelessness. The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of guilt with hope. It is the Holy Spirit who shows us our sins, but it is the same Holy Spirit who shows us the face of our merciful God. Ang maraming alam na walang hiya, walang pinag-aralan.At UST, my dear brothers and sisters, please teach our children, please teach our youth, that there is sin, but there is also mercy. Do not just talk about mercy without talking about our human wretchedness because you can only understand the beautiful face of the mercy of God if you also understand the wretched condition of us sinners.
Kristiyanong walang hiya: tinatago ang Diyos, pinagmamayabang ang kasalanan. Itinatago ang Sign of the Cross, samantalang ipinag-mamayabang ang kasinungalingan.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, you and I don’t like to be called walang alam. I pray that as you overcome ignorance and seek higher learning, our education will not only be of the mind and the intellect. Let sensitivity and compassion, let guilt with hope accompany our education because the Spirit that will accompany our academic year is not a Spirit of ignorance, but wisdom. It is not a Spirit of indifference but courageous involvement. It is not Spirit of insensitivity, but mercy and compassion. It is not a Spirit of shamelessness, but guilt with hope.
May this new academic year that we open today lead us to understand that our mission is not only for higher learning but for deeper holiness. The product of UST must be saints.