Your excellency Bishop Fidelis, Monsignor Oliver, the Reverend Fathers, the Parents, the Sisters, our dear Graduates my dear Seminarians, Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
One of you will receive a Bachelor’s degree, the rest will receive Master’s degrees. What does that mean when you receive a degree certifying that you have risk that you have completed the bachelor program, it only means that you are now a professional.
Four years ago, you received your bachelor’s diploma certifying that you are professionals.
Now when the rest of you receive your Master’s degree diploma it means that you are now masters, magisters, maestro. It means you are teachers.
So, what you have received you must give because you have been gifted. Then you must also give because you have been taught. It is now payback time. You must teach because you have been blessed. It is time to return the blessing and you must be a blessing for others.
The Commission in Higher Education says that you are indeed bachelor’s degree holder and master’s degree holders. Systematic theology. Pastoral ministry. Philosophy. That is what the government says but what do we say in the church? That you have received these degrees. It is actually a Bachelor’s in paradox. It is actually M.A. – Master of Arts degree in contradiction.
As a master as a bachelor’s degree holder, you will be signs of contradiction. God-willing, you receiving Master’s degrees will receive ordination in God’s time. And what does that mean for you? You’re going to be a sign of contradiction because while you are called to be shepherds, you are also called to be lambs. While you are called to take care like a shepherd, you will be also called upon to be killed like a lamb of sacrifice. The shepherd is also a lamb. In normal life that cannot happen because the lamb is lamb and the shepherd is shepherd. But in the life of the church, the shepherd must be a lamb and the true shepherd must be ready to be slaughtered like a lamb.
You will be called “Fathers” but as you are called fathers generating life, you must be ready to be mothers also.
Can you see in one person the same fatherhood and motherhood? You can see that in the graduates of Mary Help of Christians Theology Seminary. You are not only called to be Fathers of the community, you are called to be mothers who nurture, who give tender care to the community. You are not only a father who is firm and a point of unity in the family, you are also called to be the mother of sweetness, the mother of tenderness, the mother of compassion and mercy. Contradiction. By your title you’re Masters. By your title, you’re a bachelor degree holder. And you will be teacher. But I hope you will never stop being pupil.
It is a paradox that the good teacher must always be a pupil and it is only by being a good pupil that you can become a good teacher. The authority of a teacher comes from the humility of being pupil. The power to teach comes from the humility to accept the need to be taught.
Paradox of paradoxes. Contradiction of contradictions. That is who you are.
You are being called to be the sign of contradiction Himself, the lord Jesus. As a father, be a mother. As a shepherd, be a lamb. As a pupil, be a teacher. The world will not understand who you are but the Lord knows who you are. And the Lord wants you to be like Him.