FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
BEING MISSIONARY FAMILIES OF CHRIST
January 28, 2020
2 Samuel 6:12-19
We are Missionary Families of Christ. We are families on
mission. Our charism and call is evangelization founded
on family renewal. Both family and mission are of prime
importance. But at times the two make competing demands
on our time, energy and resources. How do we strike the
right balance, and make optimum use of our time, talent
The specific ways forward will be different for different
people. A lot would depend on the stage of our marriage
and family life. Are we newly married, do we have very young
children, is our time taken up by livelihood by which we
provide for our family, are we already retired, are our
children grown up, and so on. So what we look at are basic
principles by which we can discern the way forward.
What are these principles?
First, we seek to please God and not man, including our
family. Our family members might not want us to spend so
much time with God’s work and rather focus more on
the family.Our family members might disapprove of how we
conduct ourselves in giving our all to God. But we just
look to what is pleasing to God and act accordingly.Such
was the case with David. In bringing the ark of the Lord
into the City of David, he danced before the Lord with abandon
and great joy (2 Sm 6:14-15). His wife Michal did not like
it, as she thought his action was beneath his dignity as
king, and even ended up despising him in her heart (2 Sm
6:16). She had her own idea as to what was right, but it
was not what was right with God.
Second, we must work to have our family live in Christ,
as we are to be a family of Christ. A primary aspect of
our care for our own family is their relationship with God.
Our blood relatives are an “accident” in that
we did not choose them but we all were simply born into
a family. But God chose each of our family members to be
part of our family. What is of utmost importance then is
not our relationship by human blood but our relationship
through the blood of Jesus shed for us all. We are brothers
and sisters of Christ. And so we must work such that our
own blood relatives get to know and live Christ. Then we
really will become the family God intends for us to be.
“For whoever does the will of God is my brother and
sister and mother.” (Mk 3:35b).
Third, since we are part of the larger family of God, and
since God’s concern is not just for us but for all
His children, then we prioritize God’s family over
our own family. We of course should never neglect our own
family, which God has entrusted particularly to us, but
we must also not use the needs or desires of our own family
to keep us from serving our brethren in Christ. Such was
the case with Jesus himself. While he was ministering to
people, his mother and relatives arrived and asked to speak
with him. Instead of excusing himself and going to meet
them, which the crowd would perfectly understand, Jesus
said to them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”
(Mk 3:33). He answered his own question and pointed to the
people around him. “Here are my mother and my brothers.”
(Mk 3:35a). We serve not just our own family but the whole
family of God.
Fourth, we engage our family in the work of mission, as
we are to be a missionary family. This mission is to make
Christ known, not just to our own family, but to the world.
But in doing so, we will become engaged in spiritual war.
So we are called to be holy warriors. In this we realize
that God is not just Father(and that is about family), but
God is also a holy warrior. “Who is this king of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in war.”
(Ps 24:8). We are strengthened as a family to enable us
to do God’s work. Our home is fortified in order to
become a base for mission.
We are Missionary Families of Christ. We look both to our
own family and to our larger family or community, so that
we can look to serve the larger Church and the world. We
are always “of Christ,” doing the will of God,
giving priority to His work, seeking to please Him, serving
Him, and making Him known and exalted by all. In doing so,
we will be doing what is best for our own family.
* * *
THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
SPIRITUAL RENEWAL AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
1 John 4:19-5:4
In the Church today there is the tension between spiritual
renewal and social justice. There should be no dichotomy
between the two, as both are part and parcel of Christian
life and work. But unfortunately there is. There are those
who work at spiritual renewal but hardly have any concern
about the poor. On the other hand, there are those who are
so-called social justice warriors but who give in to the
culture of death in pursuing their goals.
look at the Sustainable Development Goals of the United
Nations, to which our Church has subscribed to. The ultimate
goal is a world without poverty. In pursuing this goal,
there are the thrusts, among others, of zero hunger, gender
equality, clean energy, and climate action. These would
seem to be good, but on closer scrutiny, these bring in
the culture of death. To achieve the goal, there is the
promotion of such evils as LGBT and abortion. Blaming much
of poverty and climate change on overpopulation, it looks
to drastically limiting the population of the world. That
necessitates the whole gamut of the culture of death.
is authentic Christian teaching?
we look not only to God but also to our neighbor. We are
to love them both. “If anyone says, ‘I love
God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; ….
This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves
God must also love his brother.” (1 Jn 4:20a,21).
We are all children of God. So we must be concerned about
our brothers, especially the least of our brethren.
we look to justice in the world. Justice is giving to everyone
what is his due. To the poor is due a equitable share of
the world’s goods. But the goods of the world are
under the control of the rich and powerful. So Solomon prays
that the king “may govern your people with justice,
your oppressed with right judgment” (Ps 72:2b).
social justice, basically work with the poor, is at the
heart of the Christian faith. Jesus himself took on the
words of the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord
is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings
to the poor.” (Lk 4:18a). God has a preferential option
for the poor. So should we as Church.
what is glad tidings? It is the gospel. It is the proclamation
of salvation in Jesus. It is announcing the coming of the
Kingdom of God in our midst. Now if the Kingdom of God is
firmly established in the world, then there will be social
justice. The poor would not be deprived but would properly
be cared for.
with much of social work today, here is the problem: there
is work with the poor, but Jesus and the Kingdom of God
have been left out. There is a drive for social justice
but not for spiritual renewal. The focus is on man and not
on God. There is feeding of the body but not of the soul.
With acceptance of the culture of death in social development
programs, work with the poor has become work against Christian
morality and faith.
Jesus was sent “to proclaim liberty to captives ….
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Lk
4:18b,19). He was called to proclaim and of course
to do the actual work of “recovery of sight to the
blind, to let the oppressed go free” (Lk 4:18c). The
two go together. The proclamation and the actual work. The
good news is not just material or physical well-being, but
spiritual well-being. The poor are fed not just with physical
food but spiritual food.
when messengers of John the Baptist asked Jesus if he was
the Messiah, he said to them, “Go and tell John what
you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the
lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead
are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to
them.” (Lk 7:22). If we follow the logical flow
of contrasts that happen (blind see, lame walk, etc.), then
Jesus should have said “the poor become rich.”
But no. The poor have the gospel preached to them. This
is the gospel of the Kingdom.
social justice without spiritual renewal is not what God
intends. Rather, there is spiritual renewal, and social
justice will naturally flow out of that.