Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ in his homily emphasized the importance of contemplating upon the life of the Virgin Mary amid challenges that the country, especially Mindanao, is currently facing.
Resonating with this year’s fiesta theme “Mother Mary: Companion of Every Beloved, Gifted, and Empowered Atenean in Mission for Mindanao,” Tabora said that people can honor Mother Mary “by contemplating, by regarding, and by gazing upon her in heaven.”
Although the Solemnity of the Assumption is still on August 15, students and staff from the Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) flocked to the San Pedro cathedral earlier today to welcome the 71st Ateneo Fiesta with a mass dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
During the homily, Tabora stressed the relevance of contemplation to the AdDU community.
“It is a contemplation we shall be happy to enter into- to give us encouragement and to give us hope as we are too often consumed by the worries and concerns of this world,” he said.
“Even in the midst of the fiesta we may be so concerned with getting all the preparations right, getting all the contracts signed, getting all the actors in place, getting all the students hyped up enough to participate in all the carefully planned events that we forget who we actually honor,” he added.
Tabora also outlined the worldly concerns which may distract or blind people from things beyond the ‘now.’ According to him, these include video games, money, the need to respond to poverty in Mindanao, and the struggle to create wealth.
“Life on earth is not defined by its defeats, despair, and death in an unending now. It is defined by a future of heavenly glory. It is this future which triggers our freedom when we get caught in the maelstroms of money, money, money, or consume, consume, consume, or even of build, build, build,” he emphasized.
As a conclusion to his homily, Tabora implored the Virgin Mary to be “our companion in our accepted mission for Mindanao.”
The said celebration of the Holy Eucharist was presided by Fr. Primitivio Viray, Provincial Superior of Jesuits in the Philippines. Accompanying him and Fr. Tabora were five other priests from the Society of Jesus.
The fiesta mass is the first of a series of events for this year’s Ateneo Fiesta, which runs from August 12-14, 2019.