Homily of the Master of the Order
Very Rev. Fr. Bruno F. Cadore, O.P., MD
July 4, 2019 | Inauguration of the UST Hospital – St. John Paul II Building
As I said in the beginning, it’s really a great joy for me to be with you today, to inaugurate our University’s new hospital, and I thank you for wanting to organize this moment before the end of my term. I am very grateful to the Provincial, the Rector, and all the community of the University and the province for that. This is an opportunity for me to express my deep gratitude to the Province of the Philippines for its attention to the development of the University of Santo Tomas, its commitment to this institution, its determination to bring the project, such as this project, to its completion.
As we know, the development of this project has not been always easy. It’s not easy to have this kind of project in this big organization, this big University. Well, today we celebrate in a certain way its achievement. I’m with you, I’d like to thank the Lord for having given us the grace to overcome the difficulties, to promote the common good, which is our common mission to all here in the Philippines and beyond the Philippines through the outreach of our students in so many countries all over the world.
I had during my nine years [as Master of the Order] the chance travel all around the Order, and in so many places, I met at least one or two or more students of the University of Santo Tomas, so the diversity of the University is large as you know. I am personally, particularly touched that this occasion is, in a way, the end of my term.
This Gospel of the Paralytic, on this day, offers a sort of short lecture for doing, thinking the theology of care. Personal care is first a service that is part of the modern of the context of humanity, of the human community. They present him, the paralytic, and seeing their faith, He [Jesus Christ] asked the paralytic to rise up. There is a community who did care for the sick, and in so doing, the community of the hospital, the University community, is entrusted by all of humanity to take care, in the name of humanity, of each sick person coming here. We are not just at the service of sick people. We are doing that at the service of all of humanity: taking care of sick people on behalf of the whole human community.
That’s what happens in a hospital, even more in a University hospital. Caring for people is caring for the community we belong to. To take care has basis on one’s scientific or technical competence is not only to act, to deploy this competence in the service of the ill or others, but also to act in solidarity of all in humanity. Care is the service of the person, in the name of this duty of solidarity with those who are most vulnerable.
This philosophy of care must be at the heart of this project. The care is always aimed at restoring the patient’s ability to carry out his or her health with confidence and support of all. We are here to take care, to cure sometimes, but more than all, to give once again confidence to each patient in his own life, his or her own capacity, ability to live among the human community.
The first Reading is really important for us. Abraham had to discover, to understand something you, as health providers, you are called to discover everyday. You, we if I can still say “we,” need to take care of people but Someone Else will cure your patients. At one point, we have to give all our knowledge, all our energy to take care in the best way, and then we have to take a step back and let Him cure those whom He entrusted to us.
The real sacrifice Abraham had to make was this kind of sacrifice, to commit his life, his project, his desire to help the generations after him, to come and present with generosity but also progress. What he did, what his life will be, I’d like to understand that the Lord was welcoming all that, telling him “Love. Make him come back, and let Me say that ‘This son is not just your son; He is my son.’” [Dear doctors,] This patient is not just your patient; he is My son; she is My daughter. The care of people requires this humility, to leave the floor to the only One who can create and create again and re-create all those who will be entrusted to this hospital.
Obviously, the care of people also requires scientific and technical competence. This is why we are all delighted with the opening of this new Hospital. It is not just an exploration for research that is here. Having placed care at the front of our discernment, we can say that this University hospital chooses to take care of each of our patients who are confined in it, [and make them feel] compassion for the patient, as a stimulus for research and the implementation of explorations, of treatments, most proportionate to the imperative to resolve the health imbalance from which the person can suffer.
From the beginning of this celebration, we heard that this Hospital is a sort of place, I dare to say, a sort of temple of compassion, and if the Hospital is this kind of place of compassion, it means that yes, knowledge, and research, and study are important for you and for all the students who will come here, but compassion will be the fount of knowledge, and research, and care.
To this end, our hospital is the University hospital, deploying the training and support, on one hand, of the experience of compassion, and on the other hand, the most competent teaching of the state of knowledge in biomedicine. This is our duty: to help each of our students to discover that he or she is not able to learn medicine but also to let compassion take his or her life, in order to make him or her the best possible doctor, to provide care and consolation in the same way.
Today’s Gospel also suggests that we should not isolate the care of the person as a unit. “Get up and walk; your sins are forgiven.” The point here is not to make an equivalence between sickness and sin, but rather to highlight the two levels of attention that Jesus pays to the paralytic. Certainly, He can heal Him and make him walk again. While to those attending this will seem extraordinary, but more than that, He can also make the paralytic live again, to remove all those that are preventing him from living, to give again all he could have done, he could have been before. Jesus did not only give the paralytic the chance to find his place in the human community, but He also gives him the grace to discover again that he has his place in the communion of God’s friends.
Thus, brothers and sisters, the work of a hospital in a Catholic university is very special. It realizes something that is like a sacrament; something that says beyond the visible reality the mystery on which care is based: God’s love, God’s compassion, God’s fidelity, God’s presence. Catholic hospitals say something in this way, but the Church herself is a sort of band of companions for compassion, to help humanity discover that the secret of Creation is God’s compassion, which means that what happens to one among us is the concern of our Lord.
This is why at one moment, I suppose, the University of Santo Tomas one day, speaking with the Lord, will say: “Lord, we would like to take part in Your journey of compassion for the humanity You created and want to create again each day.” This is my wish for you in this day of blessing of this new hospital: to make our community of this University able to ask the Lord to give us the grace to be ambassadors of God’s compassion in this world. And to ask him to transform our community into a compassionate community through Christ today and forever. Amen.