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Posts Tagged ‘Synod of Bishops’

The POOR, the CHILDREN and the LOST

Post Synod Ruminations

We came together confused yet willing to listen, hurting yet full of hope, feeling abandoned yet reaching out to help. We were a sign of contradiction for the world and for ourselves. We came as evangelizers in need to hear what is good and holy, beautiful and true ourselves. In prayer, we told Jesus our confusions and doubts, our hurts and pains, our sins and betrayals and He spoke to us and gave us hope. We recognized the Lord as he spoke to us in prayer and as he broke the bread. We can say with joy now, “We have seen the Lord”.

Indeed the new evangelization must be the written essays fruit of discernment coming from a Church in contemplation. Without contemplation, any action on behalf of evangelization is but a human exercise. Evangelization is an impetus coming not from intellectual hair splitting analysis or strategic planning but coming from above, from the Spirit who is constantly at work in the Church, the Spirit to whom Jesus consecrated His Church.

The new evangelization is neither a self defence of the Church for its self preservation nor a self protection from irrelevance. It is not for the sake of maintaining the status quo of the Church’s influence in a world that is so different from the world that the Lord Jesus offers to his disciples, a world to which the Church must never belong. It is not a self absorbed and self conscious attempt of the Church to re-invent itself to make it more attractive. In fact, the new evangelization is not for sake of the Church. It is for the life of the world pro vita mundi. It is for God who is at work in the world.

What must we do?

We must look for the poor. The poor are forgotten or ignored and have been made invisible and distant. The poor are not asking for charity. Like sheep without a shepherd, the poor cannot recognize their shepherds anymore because the shepherds smell differently. Indeed the good shepherd must smell like the sheep. The poor are not asking for money. They are asking for Jesus. They can get food from the social welfare agency. They can get medicines Order esomeprazole buy virginia buy esomeprazole online without dr approval cheapest buy esomeprazole how to purchase esomeprazole substitute over theВ  from the public clinics. They can be housed in government housing sites. From the Church, the poor want only Jesus. Who else can they turn to but the Church?

The poor ask for a little more of our time. They ask for presence without making them feel that we are in a rush for better things to do or for more important people to meet. The poor need to be assured that for their pastors, the faces of the poor is more important that the faces of their wristwatch.

The poor ask for friendship. The Church, while serving the hungry and the thirsty and the naked, must not forget that she is not a poverty alleviation agent of society but the conscience of humanity. It is our duty to make society understand that the poor ARE Jesus. It is the duty of our Church to make the poor understand that they are not too poor as to be unable to give Jesus to the affluent. The Church must be the conscience of the poor and the rich so that there may no longer be poor or rich; so that all may be one. Money is the least of all gifts. The first gift that we must give to one another is Jesus himself. At the sunset of our lives, we can only bring to heaven what we have given away. Nothing that has been given to us can be brought to the doors of his Kingdom, not even the graces we have received. Every grace is for sharing, for the building up of his kingdom and every bit of grace hoarded is lost. It is when we have truly emptied ourselves and given up all, that we can say we have loved like Jesus.

Where are the children?

The Church must look for the children and youth. The youth should not be told to wait for tomorrow to become relevant and important. The youth are the majority of the people of the world. Today belongs to them as much as the future. The new evangelization must be ready to give the youth a voice and the Church must lend the youth her ears and her heart. It is indeed only through the heart that we can hear the voice of the youth. Let us not wait for the youth to shout at us. Let us listen as they whisper. Let us listen to what they tweet and what they blog. Let us listen as they ask. We might not be able to answer all their questions and they do not expect us to do that anyway. If we can encourage the youth to talk as we to listen to them as Jesus listens and then teach them how to listen to Jesus, we will have a powerhouse in the Price of levitra professional cheapest vardenafil online generic pills 5mg for sale discount viagra Cialis the buy . Buy levitra without prescription 10mg prices Church not in the future but now. We do not need to be flippant and humorous to be with the youth. We just need to be Jesus for and with them.

Have we really lost the sheep?

The new evangelization must reach out to those who have been alienated from the Church. The hurting and the disillusioned, the misled and the confused, the ignored and the neglected must feel welcome and safe in the Church again. We the pastors must show that we are detached from the perks and privileges of our office; that our ordination is not a career ladder to pursue but a path of real service; that we can suffer without complaint; that we can be ignored and not begrudge; that we can let go generously without reluctance; that we can seek pardon without first offering excuses; that we can differ from those who do not share our opinions without losing civility and courtesy. Those whom the Church calls disillusioned Catholics say to us their pastors “We are not lost sheep”. In fact they say instead to us “YOU are lost shepherds”– that we did not really care for them. The sheep can endure our frailties but they cannot bear our arrogance in the confessional and the pulpit. Let us listen like Jesus did with the Samaritan woman by the well. The alienated are not asking for another desk to attend to them. They do not need an added survey to investigate their plight. They are only asking us their shepherds to return to the sheepfold and show them that we do care for them like shepherds for the sheep.

The new evangelization is not a call for new desks and new commissions. It rather calls for a new attitude of ministry, a new outlook at the world, a new way of being. The new evangelization is a call to conversion and that call is addressed to the evangelizers. If the evangelizers will not, the world will not believe. It is the poor and the children, the least, the last and the lost who will bring us to heaven.

In our homilies, I admonish you my brother shepherds to be extra sensitive to the needs of the children and the youth. The youth do not need hair splitting theological nuances during the homily. They are not expecting quotations from exegetes. They want to know the Gospel according to you, from your prayer. They only need to hear again and again that they are loved by God and loved by the Church. Let us speak the language of the poor when we preach at Mass and when we teach outside the liturgy. Talk about money during the homily is offensive. It does not inspire at all. Using telenovela characters as illustrations during homilies has no place in the sacred liturgy; it demeans it; it is vulgarity. In our homilies, let us be extra attentive to the confused and hurting, disillusioned and angry Catholics. Scolding parishioners during the homily is not good news at all. The Gospel is rich enough to inspire and ignite hearts. Let us use the homily to teach humbly, to inspire constantly and to bring joy to the laden and discouraged. One of the obstacles to new evangelization is the long unprepared Sunday homilies.

We are not afraid of the setting sun. We can walk through the night held securely by the hands of the Lord. The beauty of the moon and the brilliant stars will carry us through into the dawn of another beautiful day, the day of the Lord! Behold, he makes all things new!


Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

Rome, October 29, 2012

Intervention Delivered by Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas at the Synod of Bishops: HUMILITY, HOLINESS AND CHARITY

Dagupan City – 13 October 2012. Below is the intervention delivered by Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas at the Synod of Bishops being held now in Rome since October 8 until October 28. Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas is one of the four Filipino bishops representing the Philippines in the Synod. The other Filipino bishops are Archbishops Luis Antonio Tagle, Jose Palma and Romulo Valles. Miss Joy Candelario and Father Renato de Guzman, SDB are also attending as observers.


in the New Evangelization

by Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas

Lingayen Dagupan, Philippines

Comments on Instrumentum Laboris 37-38

Before we begin our common apostolic action for new evangelization, it will be advisable to first examine our ecclesial and personal consciences and ask “Why is there a strong wave of secularization, a storm of antipathy Nexium 400 mg, Ordering Nexium online, buy esomeprazole online, Cheap Nexium for sale, Purchase Nexium online, Order. Esomeprazole, Cheap Nexium or plain cold indifference towards the Church in some parts of the world necessitating a new wave of evangelization programs?”

The new evangelization calls for new humility. The gospel cannot thrive in pride. When pride seeps into the heart of the Church, the gospel proclamation is harmed. The task of new evangelization must begin with a All the essay deep sense of awe and reverence for humanity and her culture. We must remove our sandals for the land on which we stand is holy ground before we came. We cannot resort to the power of the sword to convince the nations that the Gospel has power. “My kingdom is not of this world,” the Lord said. Humility is truth. Humility is seeing ourselves the way God sees us. Humility is solidarity with the rest of wounded humanity. The Church is holy because of Christ. The Church is a community of sinners because of us. Simplicity of lives and humility of heart are indispensable tools for evangelization. Evangelization has been hurt and continues to be impeded by the arrogance of its messengers. The hierarchy must shun arrogance, hypocrisy and bigotry. We must punish the errant among us instead of covering up our own mistakes. We are humans among our human flock. All our beauty and holiness we owe to God. This humility will make us more credible new evangelizers.

Secondly, the new evangelization must be done by new saints and we must be those saints. The great poverty of the world now is the poverty of saints. Whether we come from the first world or third world countries, everybody is looking for models to inspire and emulate. Our youth need models to inspire them. They need living heroes to ignite their hearts and excite them to know Jesus and love Him more. And we are so poor in this regard. Evangelization is not about something we do but something we are. Evangelization is not about projects and programs and plans but allowing God to work in our lives. Letting God be. Contrary to the popular dictum that we cannot preach to empty stomachs, Mar 24, 2011 – Cheap High-Quality Pills Here! Cheap levitra without prescription viagra deals viagra canada generic best price and High quality. Cialis usa. our experience in the Third World tells me that the gospel can be preached to empty stomachs but only if the stomach of the preacher is as empty as his parishioners.

Lastly the new evangelization must be a call for new charity. We will be credible bringers of Gospel joy if the proclamation is accompanied by its twin messenger of charity. The proclaiming lips must be accompanied by outreaching hands for service. We must multiply Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and Saint Vincent de Paul. We must stay focused that, as we give bread and build houses, as we bring healing for the sick and liberation for the afflicted, all these we do in the light of the Kingdom of God. The best gift that the Church offers is not food or houses or legal aid. Our gift to the poor is Jesus, only the love of Jesus, always the love of Jesus. Our bread will turn stale and our medicines will expire but the mark of the love of Jesus is the charity that we must always long to share. The charity of Jesus is the gift of Himself. The charity of the new evangelization must be the gift of Jesus.

The new evangelization needs a new humility; a renewal in holiness and a new face charity for it to be credible and fruitful.


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