Ligaya ng Panginoon 2017
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"Do Not Hold Back - Surrender, Offer, Sacrifice!"
How time really flies! Another year has passed and it is good to recall and celebrate God’s faithfulness to us.
There are many reasons why we ought to be joyful, and the main thing that stands out is because we have a God who is all loving and whose faithfulness has endured all these years.
GOD’S WORD TO US OVER THE LAST 3 YEARS
In 2015, we summed it up with ‘EXPAND OUR HEARTS, OUR REACH AND OUR MISSION’. It was followed up last year with a firm yet stronger call: ‘MORE SACRIFICE AND COURAGE FOR A MISSION GREATER THAN US’.
How much more is more?
And now, at the very day, we see the familiar resounding words: ‘DO NOT HOLD BACK - SURRENDER, OFFER, SACRIFICE!’
I could imagine many of us telling ourselves, “here we go again.” And this is where I think we can fall into a trap. That is, if we start thinking that the emphasis of these words are primarily about us and our ability to offer, our ability to surrender, to sacrifice, then we may we be missing the point. While it is true that our response does matter, the Lord’s sovereign plan will take place, regardless of that response.
I believe that “more” is about God and the wealth of grace that He alone provides. The ability to surrender more, to offer ourselves more and to sacrifice more that we are already doing – all these come from Him, from His overwhelming grace and power that He wants us to avail of.
While He challenges and asks more from us, as we participate in His mission and its new expressions, He will supply, He will strengthen, He will provide – plus more!
We need to grow once again in our total reliance on the Lord, His leading, inspiration, strength and provision. Let His Holy Spirit be that second wind that will allow us to surrender, to offer and to sacrifice.
In other words, we can do more, because He has more.
Many times, we quote this line: “Our God can never be outdone in generosity”, as inspired by the writings of Saint Paul. Why? Because He did it first and showed us how He was the One who gave and did not hold back. He gave us His only Son! And throughout our 42 years of existence, we have been lavished with that generous love and faithfulness. Because such is our God, we His people can also be generous.
ACTS OF GENEROSITY
Over the last year, many of you gave more of yourselves in terms of time, talent and other resources for His service, took on additional and difficult services, tried out new things that may not be your comfort zones. I will not do justice to enumerate all the various selfless and heroic acts of generosity from many of you serving – brothers and sisters with fulltime jobs, doing different roles and expressions of pastoral work inside and mission work outside, or even serving at the background for these activities and programs.
Generosity is a fitting response to a generous God, and that it is what He looks for if we are to radically respond to where He will bring us in the coming years.
‘ALREADY BUT NOT YET’
Simply put, the Lord is not done with us yet. We continue to be a work in progress, like a clay in a potter’s hand but that which He has already made useful and continues to make useful as He sees fit, despite our sinfulness, despite our weaknesses.
Secondly, we need to be reminded. We are creatures who easily forget. We are all capable of being unfaithful. So (it’s just right) to be reminded.
Lastly, as we move on, we need to be further sharpened. 42 years? The Lord may just be starting. It could be our children, or our children’s children who will do the more difficult part of the mission. Our task is to hand over a Ligaya that is faithful to our life and covenant and always prepared for mission.
One thing I’m certain, the Lord is truly at work in our midst, and that we “are being transdormed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, from this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.”(2 Cor 3:17-18).
Lord, fill us with gratitude and generosity for all You have done for us. Take our lives and all that we have as an offering of love for You, who are our All, who are our Joy!
Excerpts from the talk by Andy Juan, Senior Head Coordinator, during the Ligaya ng Panginoon 42nd Anniversary celebration in July 2017 in SMX, Pasay City.
An Appeal for Prayers & Vigilance
Dear brothers and sisters,
By this time, we are all aware of the situation in Marawi City and I am sure many among us have responded to the crises through prayers and intercessions. And in the midst of our various personal, family and community concerns, we also want to maintain and sustain a heightened awareness of the goings-on in the lives of our fellow Filipinos and our nation as a whole.
I am re-posting here a statement of the Catholic Bishops of Mindanao which calls for prayers and vigilance during this time of trouble in Marawi. I hope that you will find the time to read this and bring these concerns in your individual and communal prayers. This goes without saying that as Ligaya, we share the same posture as our Church leaders in this unfolding event.
May the good Lord look kindly on the innocent victims of the terrorist atrocities in Marawi City and may our civil and military leaders have the wisdom to address this difficult situation in restoring true and lasting peace in Mindanao.
God bless our people and our nation.
On behalf of the OLC,
29 May 2017
"Head out into the deep"-Duc in Altum
Our call is to be a Community of Disciples in Mission.
Our core mission is evangelization and building communities.
We proclaim the Good News; and we gather people together to be joined with one another for support; as we put ourselves in positions of influence to serve as a leaven and a light in our environments; and where necessary, we defend Christian truth and morality both in Church and society
We are also called to be a Community. We are called to be a people, to serve one another in covenant love, and out of our committed relationships, we become a bulwark and a source of defense and refuge for many, a prophetic people that lives radical Christian lives and thus witnesses effectively for Jesus, and a servant people that speaks to Church and society to stand for Christ’s call to holiness and righteousness
In other words, living our way of life is not separate from our mission, but it is very much a part of it. Our community life many times in fact serve as our strongest witness for evangelization and building communities.
“Come and see” is our invitation. Hopefully what we’ll hear as a response would be: “See how they love and serve one another”
Given this background, where could the Lord be leading us today? Our 2016 prophetic banner reads: “More Sacrifice and Courage for a Mission Greater Than Us”
A mission greater than us
The walls are being expanded. The Lord seems to be saying – make room: make room in your hearts, make room in your homes, in your community, in your service.
God seems to be changing the categories of what’s in or what’s out in our mission agenda.
We are just a part, not the whole. God is all about a Bigger Mission. We are privileged to participate in His grand plan and action, the full picture of which we do not know.
Our future is at stake. The implications of what we are doing today are not just for this present time and generation. We ought to prepare for the long haul. A lot of the fruits of our work will take a while to build.
Our individual and corporate response today to mission, our action or inaction, our resolve or indifference, will have a bearing on the future of the next generation, impacting our children and our children’s children.
Of course, God can fulfill His plans with or without us. The question is – are we going to allow ourselves to be part of the plan, part of His grand rescue mission - of saving lives? Or will we just watch from the sidelines?
A new courage
There is another angle of courage that the Lord is saying to us - that is the strength and ability to go further than where we are - to go into the deep.
Jesus said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking.”
Bishop Barron called Jesus’ jumping into Simon’s boat as “an invasion of Grace”. Thus Simon’s transformation has begun, when he uttered: “I will let down the nets.”
When the Lord Jesus gets into your boat, He will ALWAYS lead you from the shallows into the depths.
There is a growing call to reach out to areas and peoples we’ve never reached out before. There is a growing sense to help and serve the wider Church - especially the training of lay leaders.
There are new opportunities to contribute to the work for stronger marriages and work with young people, especially high school students in public schools, on values formation.
And there are still many other opportunities in training of leaders and sharing the Good News through social media.
As a community and as individuals, where are the deep portions you are afraid to go? Why are you playing too safe? What is your comfort zone?
Ask the Lord what he wants us to do with our lives – our time, our talent, our money, our family.
Don’t accept spiritual mediocrity - Go into the deep.
Excerpts from the talk by Andy Juan, Senior Head Coordinator, during the Community Conference, in February 2017 in St. Paul Pasig.