On this second year anniversary of the Papal Coronation of the image of Mary Help of Christians in the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan. We have come together to listen to the word of God and two symbols surface. Two important symbols that are very important also in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians.

The two symbols refer to Peter. The first symbol is the rock. The second symbol is the key. Jesus said to Peter,  “you are rock.” And then Jesus said to Peter, “I will give you the keys.” Why are these two symbols important? Because these two symbols refer to the power given to the church. The rock is a symbol of power and the key is a symbol of authority. Some people have power. Some people have authority. But very few people have power and authority at the same time. Because there are some people who have power but they are not credible. There are some people who have power but we don’t like to follow them. There are some people who have power but we are afraid of them instead of loving them. And there are some people who are helpless and yet they have authority. There are some people who seem weak politically, economically and yet we listen to them. We respect them. So what is power? What is authority? And how can we have power and authority at the same time? Parents have power over their children. But some parents complain “my children do not obey me. I have lost my authority.” So how. How do we keep power and how do we keep authority?

Returning to the word of God.

The first word to remember is integrity. Integrity. Integrity comes from our mathematical word integer. An integer is a whole number. So integrity means whole. Integrity means there is no division. Integrity means there is no interior or exterior because what my eyes can see is what is inside. Integrity means I have no dark secrets because my closet is always open and it is light. It is lightened. Integrity means I have no skeletons in my closet because my closet is always open and I do not keep dark secrets. I do not keep skeletons. Integrity means whether there are people 100 watching me or there are 1 million people watching me or I am alone in my room. I will do the same thing. I will think the same thought. That is integrity.

Integrity does not care whether people are watching or not. Integrity does not care whether I will be arrested or not. Integrity just means there is no conflict within me. There is no division within me. My heart, my soul, my mind, my body are one. And, people who have integrity are credible people. That is why we get so devastated when our so-called heroes when our so-called role models crumble before our eyes because we start to see that their feet are made of clay.

Integrity, parents you complain that your children do not listen to you. That’s true, but be careful because even if our children do not listen to us, they are watching you. They are watching you and what they see is more important than what they hear. Because we believe by example not by words. Integrity.

The second word is innocence. Related to innocence is ignorance. If you have ignorance for sin that is innocence. If you are two years old and you ask, “Why is there light?” That is innocence. If you are 50 years old and you ask, “Why is that light?” That is ignorance. Now you understand the difference. There are things we are supposed to know. There are there things we are not supposed to know. And there are things we have known that should not have been known. Ignorance simply means, I have lost my innocence, I have shattered my innocence, and I repair my shattered innocence by a life of penance. Peter, Peter had power. Peter had authority.

But Peter had lost his innocence because he was a coward. Peter had lost his innocence because he was impulsive. Peter had lost his innocence because he wanted to run away from the cross. How did he the regain it? By opening himself to the Lord and then people started to understand that what Peter was saying was not from his lips, but from the Lord. Innocence.

And the third word about power and authority is invisible. Invisible. What do we mean by being invisible? Yes, we can see with our eyes but when we look with our hearts, we say it is the Lord. Yes, we can touch with our hands, but when we allow our minds and our hearts to touch then we are able to explain, it is not him. It is Jesus. That was Peter. That was John. That was James. That was all the apostles. It was so clear after Pentecost that every time they spoke. They were not coming from brilliance, from IQ, from intelligence. They were coming from a power from above and that power from above entered their bodies and came out of their lips, and it was very clear. They were only channels. Yes, they were only channels they were not the source. That is invisibility.

We have water that flows through the pipe. But who cares about the pipe unless it is broken. We are all pipes. We are all channels. Channels of grace and the power of God just enters and exits through us. Look at those three words integrity, innocence and what is the third word?

And that is the Blessed Virgin Mary. That is the Blessed Virgin Mary. A woman of integrity that there is no guilt in her.  A woman of integrity that is totally innocent from sin.  A woman of integrity who could never be accused of being unfaithful to the Lord but a woman who was also invisible. Because her last word in her life was at the wedding at Cana. She just said,  “Do whatever He tells you don’t listen to me. Don’t look at me. Look at my son and listen to my son because my son is the only one who matters.”

My dear brothers and sisters. You have power. We should have also authority.

But take care of the authority that God has given you. Take care of it by a life of integrity. Take care of it by a life of innocence that is the fruit of penance and when you have done what you’re supposed to do, do not ask for recognition. Do not ask for appreciation. Huwag kang manunumbat sa nagastos mo. Huwag kang manunumbat sa pagod mo. Huwag kang manunumbat. Huwag kang magkwekwenta. Huwag kang maghihingi ng sukli sa lahat ng sakripisyo mo. After the love is done be invisible and to God be the glory.

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