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Abp. Soc: Challenging CFC for the New Year

“The glory of God is shown in the Arena! The glory of God is revealed through Couples for Christ!”

This was the opening exhortation of His Excellency Most Rev. Socrates Villegas, D.D., CBCP President and Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, when he celebrated Mass at the 2016 International Leaders Conference of Couples for Christ held on January 9, 2016, at The Arena, SM Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.

Addressing the more than 15,000 CFC leaders from all Philippine provinces and from various countries around the world, Archbishop Villegas said that “A good leader asks questions and a good leader should be able to answer his own questions.”

He invited CFC to reflect on three (3) questions:

  1. What makes you happy?
  2. What makes you afraid?, and
  3. Where are you going?

What makes you happy?

According to Archbishop Villegas, one answer can be found in the Gospel readings for the day (Luke 3:315-16, 21-22). He said that to be happy, the one big word is “give”. “Giving” is what should make us happy; not stable family, good job, popularity, friends or gadgets. To be able to give my popularity, my powers and all that I have to the Lord is what should make us happy. We should be able to find our happiness in giving, not accumulating.”

He exhorted the CFC leaders to accept the challenge of St. John in the Gospel – to be “giving leaders” and to “find happiness in giving away until we have no more to give.” He added that “people who do not give do not become richer. They die early. They die even before they stop breathing.” 

He invited everyone to be like John whose “greatest joy was to die a martyr’s death. What a joy to give my life for my beloved!”

He explained that as a measure of how much Jesus loves us, “Jesus Christ did not write a check. He did not send dollars. He did not light a candle. Jesus Christ gave himself because the greatest measure of love is to give without measure.”

What makes you afraid?

The big word in the Second Reading (Acts 10:34-38), according to Archbishop Villegas, is “sin” and “St. John asks us the question: what makes you afraid?”

He highlighted that there is only one thing that a leader must fear – SIN. He should not be afraid of losing power, being ignored, being suspected, being forgotten, of death, debts, of being fooled, robbed or getting sick, old, and alone. These should not make us afraid because “nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ, our Lord.”

Instead, he said leaders should “be afraid of sin” or as St. John cautioned “to be on guard against idols.” He explained that idolatry is “not creating images and statues; idolatry is attributing power and giving importance to somebody lesser than God. Leaders of Couples for Christ, be afraid of only one: sin! Be afraid of only one: putting something or somebody on the same level as God.”

Archbishop Villegas, however, emphasized that an “even greater fear than sin is the fear to ask for forgiveness.” He advised that we should not be afraid to ask for forgiveness.

“God will always forgive. Do not say, ‘I’ve sinned much.’ Instead, say ‘I have been blackened by sin and yet I am beautiful because I am touched by God’s love’.”

Where are you going?

Finally, the Archbishop asked: “Truthfully, where are you going? Where do you want to go?”

He reminded the CFC leaders that “All leadership should lead to Heaven.” If not, “you must be leading (your people) to some other place that is away from God.” He described Heaven as “God’s will obeyed; where God is obeyed and no one else.”

To end his homily, he posed the question that resonated in the hearts of all present: “Where are people going through your leadership?”

During the Prayers of the Faithful, the Archbishop prayed over the CFC leaders for help to find joy in giving, not to be afraid of anything but sinning and the grace to always find God’s will.

Before giving his final blessing, he exhorted everyone to be “truly prayerful Couples for Christ”. The best way to do this, he explained, is first, to hear Mass daily and receive daily communion. Second, to pray the Rosary at home with the family and third, to go to confession once a month. If faithfully

done, the Archbishop emphasized, “these will bring renewal in the Church and Couples for Christ will start it.” (Arnel Santos)

Added on Saturday, February 6, 2016


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