For Pope Francis, a homily can make or break a Mass. “May your homilies never be boring,” he advised a group of newly ordained priests. “May your homilies touch the hearts of the people because they come from your heart, because what you are telling them is what you carry in your heart.”
“Boring” is hardly what you would call Rev. Fr. Joseph Fidel Roura’s homilies. Parochial vicar of the Basilica Minore of the Immaculate Conception (Malolos Bulacan Cathedral), Fr. Fidel delivers such impassioned sermons— complete with gestures, jokes, music, and videos— that the faithful can’t help but listen. (Read: Meet the My Pope Philippines Outstanding Parish Priests of 2021)
“Integrating the modern way in the service of the Gospel to reach as many people as possible” is how he describes his style of preaching. It’s a style that has earned him over a million followers on Instagram and Facebook, and more than 200,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, Three Nails and a Cross.
Here are three lessons from Fr. Fidel that we can apply in our lives, presented as always in his trademark earnestness and intensity.
Pangit na karanasan, hindi hadlang sa kabaitan.
Disappointment. Betrayal. Deception. That’s life for you, an endless series of blessings and letdowns. To protect yourself from getting hurt, you turn cynical, bitter, and angry. How can you see and appreciate genuine goodness when it comes?
By choosing not to wallow in negativity. “Yes, you cannot keep those hurts from coming. But definitely, you can keep them from staying!” bellowed Fr. Fidel in his January 22, 2021 homily. So go ahead, acknowledge your bad feelings. (Read: A Heartfelt Prayer for Widows)
“Just feel it, but do not feed it,” he said. “Tulad ng ibang pakiramdam, lilipas din ‘yan.” And take your cue from Jesus, who experienced the worst of the worst—from betrayal and abandonment to torture and crucifixion—yet managed to ask His Father to “forgive them for they do not know what they do.”
Mas maraming mabuting nangyayari sa taong consistent ang pagpapakabuti.
When some people do good deeds, they expect God to reward them instantly. “Madalas kasi mainipin tayo,” said Fr. Fidel in his December 11, 2020 homily. “Gusto natin may kapalit agad, may palakpak agad, ma admiration agad, may kita agad.”
But God’s blessing isn’t transactional. Rather, it’s transformational— “Sa grasya at awa ng Diyos, tinutulungan tayo na mas lalo pang maging tunay ang ating pagpapakabuti.” (Read: Rajo Laurel Says Kindness Is Never Out of Fashion, and We Love Him for It!)
Goodness that is insincere or comes with an agenda can only get you so much. Besides, God’s priority isn’t just to give us the blessings that we desire, reminded Fr. Fidel.
“Ang mas prioridad ng Diyos ay ang tayo ay baguhin, tayo ay tunay na pabutihin. Ito ang pinakamagandang blessing na pwede natin makuha sa kanya: na tayo ay unti-unting maging katulad Niya.”
Minsan kailangan natin lumayo para matuto.
You have your whole life all figured out— or do you? In his November 9, 2020 homily, Fr. Fidel said sometimes you just have to take a step back from the circumstances of your life to discern if what you are doing and whom you are doing it with are in keeping with what God wants for you. Life’s like a dance, he says, with God leading all the way.
“Tama ba ang sitwasyon at disposisyon natin? Tama ba ang tiempo ng sayaw ng ating buhay?” Reflect on these questions while quarantine measures are still in effect. (Read: 5 Ways to Strengthen Relationships While Social Distancing)
Ask yourself, Do you want to go back to your pre-pandemic life? “Ito po sana ang ating pagnilayan upang pagkatapos ng lockdown ang buhay natin ay mas maging makahulugan.”