COMMUNICATIONS from the Bishop

No. 840          Diocese of Marbel, Philippines                    29 September 2015

  1. ANNUAL RETREAT

Fifty-one (51) priests and a deacon made their annual retreat, 21-24 September 2015, Holy Cross Spiritual Center, Calumpang, General Santos City.

Topic: “Mission Today – Perspectives for the New Evangelization”

1st session.  “What do you want to do for me?”

Dirty – Desire – Devotion (Lk. 18: 25-35)

Movements:    duty            desire           devotion

servant       friend           disciple

Devotion connotes sacrifice for the other.

2nd session. “Conversion – change – required for Mission (Lk. 4: 16-19)

Changes in Mission

  • Triune God, not Church, is the source of mission.
  • Goal is not the Church but God’s universal goal of salvation, the salvific plan of God.
  • Mode or Way of mission is not conquest but dialogue.
  • Motive for mission:

Past: salvation of non-Christians

Present: salvation of Christians

The 5 Shifts

  1. Activism to contemplation
  2. Individualism to collaboration
  3. Superiority to humility
  4. Only evangelizing to also being evangelized.
  5. Undertaking mission as a sacrifice to looking at mission as a gift.

3rd session.  “The Stranger and the Poor”

Two challenges to Mission Today (Ps. 27: 4-9)

EvangeliiGaudium: 2 challenges:

1st Growing multiculturality;

2nd Continuing poverty of our world

The growing multiculturality of the world is a privileged “locus”, a context for a new language of evangelization.  The continuing poverty of our society’s most neglected members is the source of a new perspective of evangelization.

This twin challenges invites us to seek the “other face” of God.  – the stranger and the poor.

Two biblical stories: (1) the stranger on the Road to Emmaus (Lk. 24: 13-24); and the poor on the road to Jericho (Lk. 10: 29-37).

Thus two summons: (1) from the border (stranger); and from the margins, the poor man lying half dead.

Summons from the border and the margins imply two particular challenges: (1) development of the language of the border – the unfamiliar and mysterious face of God that challenges and disturbs us; (2) the perspective of the margin – our solidarity with the poor reveals to us the unfamiliar face of God seen from the standpoint of the victims and marginalized

4th session.  “Blessed are You Poor”.  God’s preferential option for the poor (Lk. 6: 20-26)

Before, the poor were marginalized; now, they are excluded.

However, in Luke, Jesus said the poor will be rewarded with God’s Kingdom; the hungry, with satisfaction; the weeping with laughter; the outcast, great reward.

God’s providence is revealed in the Beatitudes.  God has a special place for the poor.

5th session.  “The Challenge of Multiculturality”

A Globalized World and a World Church (Rev. 7: 9-17)

Multiculturality’s challenges: Globalized World and World Church.

Globalization – a world being experienced as aGlobal village.  A contraction of time and space resulting in an easy life and a closer life.

Globalization – a result of massive movement of people.

The number of Christians in the Global North (Europe and North America) has shifted from 85% in 1900 to 33% in 2000; in the Global South (Asia, Africa) from 15% in 1900 to 67% in 2000.  Prediction: Year 2050.  Christians in Global South will increase to 75%.  Implications: re-evangelize Global North.

Mission as promoting a multicultural Church.  Characterized by: (1) a home for people of different cultures; (2) instrument of the intercultural dialogue; (3) sign of the all – inclusiveness of God’s Kingdom.

6th session.  “Our Response to Diversity and Difference”

Exclusion/Inclusion (Jh. 7: 40-52)

Exclusion Reasons:

  • instinctive response to difference Presumption –people who are different from us are a threat to the safety and stability of our community.
  • Any human group or organization is by nature exclusive.

Inclusion.  Christian ethos is one of inclusion.  SeeJesus’ examples (Lk. 7: 36-50), with sinners.  LK. 10: 25-37 – the 2 great commandments.  Also St. Paul (Acts 17: 16-30).  The Early Church – Council of Jerusalem, welcomes non-Jews

7th session.  “God’s Abundant Grace”

The Theological Vision.(Mt. 15: 21-28)

The theological vision behind the Christian ethos of inclusion is the phenomenon of God’s abundant grace.  Only by the grace of God can we have the openness required to extend ourselves to listen and understand another’s point of view with which we might disagree.  Several gospel episodes: Mt. 15: 21-28; Mt. 14: 15-21 (limited resources, abundant blessings.)

Conclusion

Grace is a gift.  It is abundant and immeasurable.  We do not earn it by good work or diligent obedience to the law.  It is out of God’s richness in mercy, kindness and great love that this grace was given to us in spite of our sin.

And so, the theological vision behind interculturality is the conviction about God’s abundant grace.  Thus we must also be convinced, in our life and ministry as priests, of the abundance of God’s blessings; he always gives them in abundance and never in scarcity.

Facilitator was Fr. Antonio Pernia, SVD, STD, PhD Pedagogy in Missiology (HonorisCausa),  Former REMASE Rector and Superior General, SVD (From the Summary by Deacon Jezreel)

Back to: 2015 COMMUNICATIONS from the Bishop

About bishopdinualdo

Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez is the Bishop of the Diocese of Marbel
This entry was posted in Diocesan Clergy Retreat, Mission, New Evangelization, Un. Bookmark the permalink.

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