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Homily of Fr. Joey Evangelista MJ

(The following is the homily of Fr. Joey Evangelista MJ, on June 29, 2010, feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.)

I have known Sr. Letty only for a short time. We got well acquainted and became friends. This happened I think because we shared two things in common: we both love to talk and to have a good laugh. Despite the short time that I have known her, there is one thing that I am almost sure she would want us to do right now, that is, to celebrate life. She would not want us to grieve and to dwell on what could have been; she would certainly urge us, in her own special way that the sisters and Doctora Baby I am sure know, to praise and thank the Lord for the gift of God that she was to many of us. Most importantly, inappropriate although it may seem, I think she would  also want all of us to have good laugh tonight. But I will leave that to Sr. Letty, she often complained of my being a scene stealer in their community when it came to making people laugh. For once I will not steal her thunder. How will she do it you may ask? I really don’t know, but we know Sr. Letty, she has a way of getting her way.

Today, we celebrate the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, I was told by two sisters early this afternoon that today is Sr. Letty’s feast day as well. Her religious name, I was told, is Pierre Chanel. Pierre, being the French for the name Peter and not the place in Tondo where ships dock. If Sr. Letty would have had her way, she would have named today’s feast, the feast of Peter, Paul and Letty. I think the Lord would not mind that for in fact she shares many of the attributes of these two saints. Well, she has the big mouth of Peter and the forthrightness of Paul. Don’t get me wrong, if I use the term “big mouth of Peter”. If you read the New Testament, you will find Peter standing out because he always had to speak first. Take the gospel reading today, for example, when Jesus asks them "who do you say that I am" blurts out almost immediately “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” He was right on this occasion because Jesus clarified later that it is the heavenly Father who has made this known to Peter; God had put Peter’s impulsiveness to good use. Sr. Letty has a way of speaking her mind, and I believe that God made use of this in Sr.Letty, particularly in her ministry to abused women.

Like Paul, Sr. Letty prefers to call a spade for what it really is, a spade.  Remember when Paul scolded Peter when the problem of circumcision came up in the Christian community, when Gentiles became Christians?  I would like to believe that Sr. Letty had this same forthrightness of Paul. It may not have pleased everybody I think, and she may have gone too far on some occasions, you know her better than I do. But I think we will all agree that Sr. Letty would not be Sr. Letty if she did not call a spade a spade.

She had the big mouth of Peter and the forthrightness of Paul. Indeed, tonight, we do not mourn Sr. Letty’s death but celebrate her life. Together,  with Paul she can say:

I have competed well; I have finished the race;
I have kept the faith,
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, 
which the Lord, the just judge
will award to me on that day, and not only to me,
but to all who have longed for his appearance.

Today is not a day for sorrow. Today, we celebrate life, it is the feast of Peter, Paul and Letty.