On the eve of the Grand Mission Festival, Rev. Fr. Andrew Recepcion gave a very timely teaching about the state of mission in today's world to the members of the CFC Mission Core Group (MCG) at the Christ the King Parish in Greenmeadows, Quezon City.
"As missionaries today, we are confronted with the reality of a globalizing world." Fr. Andrew said as he explained the concept of a "runaway world" based on the study of British sociologist, Anthony Giddens. The concept basically states that the world today is no longer controlled by men but rather by globalization which give humans little control over a more complicated world.
Fr. Andrew then discussed the basic missiological orientation on mission - that the mission is in crisis. However, we are not to look at it as a problem, but a beautiful reality, because as Fr. Andrew expounded, "It is only in crisis that we allow the Holy Spirit to break through the human frailty to make God's word prevail. Crisis is the normal state of the church."
The Four Crises
"Mission today is beyond geography. It means going to where we are and where God sends us." According to Fr. Andrew, this is the first crisis, the crisis of a runaway world, of changing mission contexts. The second is the crisis of faith, the lack of passion for the Gospel and the deficiency of faith stamina against struggles and doubts.
This, according to Fr. Andrew, is due to a shallow understanding of faith. "What we need is reasoned faith, faith that we understand, faith that we can defend." The third crisis is the crisis of compartmentalization, the wrong perception that mission can be reduced to just "doing something," or that mission is simply "work." The fourth crisis is the crisis of opposition and competition, the conflict between hierarchy (clergy) and charism (laity).
"Amidst these crises, we must go back to the mission mandate," reminded Fr. Andrew. "The mandate to proclaim the Gospel does not change. The content of our proclamation is the living Lord.
The way to encounter the living Lord is through faith." Fr. Andrew declared that "the heart of faith is Christ. It entails total surrender."
What the Mission Needs
Fr. Andrew went on by discussing the three needs of the mission today: silence, presence, and proclamation.
Silence is the existential disposition that allows the Word to dwell in us, to speak to us, and to renew us. Only when there is silence can we tap the presence of the Lord, His presence in us and in the face of every person we see. Proclamation is a daily witness of life, and only when there is the presence of the Lord can we proclaim.
In facing the crisis of a runaway world, our response must be to embrace humanity, to believe that every neighbor God has placed beside us is our mission space. To the crisis of faith, the appropriate response is to radiate Christian joy, the source of which is God Himself. To have unity of word and deed, to apply the principles of a harmonious life, is the answer to the crisis of compartmentalization. Being co-responsible with the Church is the resolution to the crisis of opposition and competition.
Fr. Andrew concluded by quoting Pope Benedict XVI's statement on the newness of Christianity which "can only come from the gift of being with and being in Christ." He challenged the members of the MCG to make mission a way of life, a life project with God. By Aiza Garnica