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‘You have a mission: to be Leaven for Social Transformation’

The first teaching night of the year for the CFC Metro Manila Mission Core was held last February 21, 2017 at the Christ the King Parish Church in Greenmeadows, Pasig.  The Most Reverend Broderick S. Pabillo, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila, was guest speaker on the topic of the laity as leaven for social transformation.


The teaching night, coming as it did after the Laiko-sponsored Walk for Life which CFC wholeheartedly joined, emphasized the Catholic Church’s stand on current issues affecting the faithful in the Philippines.


Bishop Pabillo, who is also the chairman for the CBCP Episcopal Commission on the Laity, started by asking, “What do you think is the role of the laity, being the biggest population in the Church, compared to the number of those who are ordained?”


Being the majority, Bishop Pabillo underscored that the laity is the “leaven”.


The prelate quoted St. John Chrysostom: “The leaven does not show its strength until it is brought close to the dough, and not just close, but mixed with the dough until it is indistinguishable,” adding that  “The leaven is what makes the dough rise. It has no effect if it is not close to the dough. Same with the laity as the leaven, it has no effect if we are separated from society.”


As lay persons, Bishop Pabillo reminded CFC that its mission is the transformation of society, simply because that is where the laity is. He expounded, “We are in our workplaces. We are in our schools. We are in our communities. We are in our households. And we are in our homes!”


The opening statement of Gaudium et Spes states that, “The joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the men and women of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted in any way, are the joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well.”


Kaya ang nararanasan ng karamihan sa mga tao, iyan din ang nararanasan ng mga Kristiyano,” Bishop Pabillo emphasized, adding that CFC members can never really separate themselves from society, that Christ has come to save the world and all realities. The bishop noted that all realities should be impregnated with the Good News that is Jesus Christ. The faithful, who are Christians, who are part of the population of the laity, who are part of the society, are the ones expected to do this. It is not limited only to those who are ordained but the mission of spreading the Good News is the mission of all.


To add to his point, Bishop Pabillo also said that as Christians, the laity should do everything in love. Quoting the Catechism for Filipino Catholics  # 1415, the bishop illustrated, “Through baptism and confirmation all are appointed to this apostolate by the Lord himself… the laity have this special vocation to make the Church present and fruitful in those places and circumstances where it is only through them that she can become the salt of the earth.”


For the CFC Mission Core to have an effective share in the mission, the bishop pointed to PCP II #419-438 for reference.


As lay persons, all are called to be communities of families of faith. The homes where families are built, and the households where CFC meets and shares with brethren are just some of venues that express this mission of spreading God’s love to the world.


It is also the laity’s mission to bring Christian presence in the world. Thus the bishops urged CFC to bring Christ where He is needed the most and in the most creative way. Bishop Pabillo suggested, “Dalhin ninyo si Kristo sa inyong mga boardrooms. Dalhin ninyo si Kristo sa mga malls.”


The prelate added, “Marami ang naabot niyo na hindi namin naaabot. Kaya iyan ang inyong special na gawain.”


The bishop also stressed that the laity is given the call to service and evangelization. How? By proclaiming the Good News and sharing Christ and the teachings of the Church with others. He asked the crowd, “How did you join Couples for Christ? Maybe it was not because of the preaching in the Church but because someone invited you. That is influence. Small, but it can make a big impact.”


The laity is also called to bring about social transformation. Catholics are called to wake up the sleeping giant and that giant is the lay faithful. While the churches are filled on Sundays, society remains a sick society. “But, this is where our mission is being exemplified,” the bishop reminded CFC. “Society needs transformation. Society needs evangelization.”


Relating to the realities of today, surveys carried out in all the continents in preparation for the Synod of Bishops on New Evangelization (2012) revealed some dangers: living the faith passively or privately; the rejection of education in the faith; the rupture between faith and life.


“It is clear therefore that we do have the mission to be Christ’s witnesses in this world of chaos,” Bishop Pabillo explained, citing the Compendium of the Social Teachings of the Church #67 on strategies of overcoming poverty which can be the laity’s share in evangelization such as Works of Mercy (poverty alleviation activities), Works of Development (poverty reduction activities), and Works of Justice (poverty eradication activities).


In this work of radical evangelization, the lay Catholics must take to heart the statement of Pope Francis last September 13, 2013 which the bishop quoted: “None of us can say, ‘I have nothing to do with this, how they govern.’ …No, no, I am responsible for their governance, and I have to do the best so that they govern well, and I have to do my best by participating in politics according to my ability.”



As a final word, Bishop Pabillo said, “Let us not be blind because we have urgent issues to be addressed. A few, to enumerate, are the issues on extrajudicial killings with around 7,600 already in 7 months, the re-imposition of the death penalty, the lowering of criminal responsibility to 9 years old from the current 15 years old and a whole lot more. Let our voices be heard. Let us not waste the opportunity to evangelize most especially in these trying times.” (Y. Dolorosa)

Added on Thursday, March 9, 2017


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