THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2011
THE CROSSROAD: OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
March 14, 2011
most fundamental thing God says to His covenanted people is
this: “Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.”
(Lev 19:2). Peter echoes this, when he says, “as he
who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect
of your conduct, for it is written, ‘Be holy because
I am holy.’” (1 Pet 2:15-16).
does it mean to be holy? To be holy is to be set apart. When
God chose the Hebrew slaves in Egypt, He intended to set them
apart to serve Him and to show forth His glory through them.
Thus He entered into covenant with them at Mount Sinai.
be holy is to truly reflect the image and likeness of God,
into which we were created. To be holy is to become true disciples
of Jesus, and live out his salvation and lordship in our lives.
To be holy is to respond to the call to proclaim the good
news of Jesus throughout the world, and to allow the Holy
Spirit to guide, inspire, refresh and empower us. To be holy
is to be like God, reflecting His plans and intent for the
life of the world.
become a holy people, we need to obey the commandments of
God. Holiness does not just happen. It comes, certainly by
the grace of God, but as we respond to that grace and strive
with all our heart to live according to God’s designs.
On our own we could never attain to holiness, which is the
attribute of God. We would quickly veer away and give in to
our flesh and the allure of the world. So God shows us the
way, and gives us very specific ways of living (Lev 19:3-18).
that with every commandment, God ends with: “I, the
Lord, am your God” or “I am the Lord.” God
keeps bringing us back to Himself. It is only He alone who
knows the way of holiness, and who can bring holiness into
our lives. But even given this stern reminder, we still go
astray. We recognize the Lord, but we do not live according
to His will. This is why Jesus himself said, “Not everyone
who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom
of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father
in heaven.” (Mt 7:21).
Now what is the will of our Father in heaven? First, certainly
it is obedience to His commandments, for these are His very
way of life for us. The commandments are what God tells us
to do. But there is something more. It is what we tell God
we will do for Him. It is when we freely enter into a commitment
to Him for a certain way of life. For us in CFC-FFL, it is
our covenant. According to God’s call to us in CFC-FFL,
according to why God raised us for the work of this third
millennium, He invites us to enter into community, and to
make the covenant. We are not forced to do so. But when we
do so, then our covenant becomes part of God’s will
for us, intended to further His purposes for the life of the
do we commit to? We commit to be God’s followers, who
will pray and read the Bible everyday. We dedicate ourselves
to building a strong family for Christ, including strongly
defending the culture of life. We commit to be active members
of our community, faithfully attending meetings and supporting
our work with our financial resources. We commit to witness
to the world of God’s love, including helping build
the Church of the Poor.
major aspect of our commitment, and indeed this is the charism
and call of CFC-FFL, is to evangelize and do mission. We are
an evangelistic and missionary community. We exist to evangelize,
within the context of family renewal. Not to do this would
negate the very reason for our existence.
This brings us to the gospel of today. This is about the judgment
of the nations at the end of time. It is when Jesus separates
the sheep from the goats. The sheep are those who go off to
eternal life, while the goats are those who go off to eternal
what is the criterion? It is what we did or did not do for
the least of our brethren (Mt 25:40,45). It is whether we
did works of mercy, showing God’s compassion on the
hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and
we traditionally look at the above persons to be the materially,
emotionally and socially poor. A case may also be made that
these persons are Christians, probably Christian missionaries,
who suffer due to their preaching of the gospel. But I would
like, for our purposes today, to identify these persons as
those who are spiritually poor in the world, who need to be
reached and touched by the gospel.
taught about the beatitudes. In the gospel of Luke, the poor
refer to those who are materially and socially poor (Lk 6:20-22).
In contrast, in the gospel of Matthew, aside from addressing
the economically poor, there is more emphasis on the spiritual
nature of people’s needs (Mt 5:3-11). Thus Luke has
Jesus saying “Blessed are you who are poor,” while
Matthew has “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”
In Luke, “Blessed are you who are now hungry,”
while in Matthew, it is “Blessed are they who hunger
and thirst for righteousness.”
we can see the richness of Jesus’ teachings, with varying
dimensions of life and application. So we look to how Jesus’
words at the judgment of the nations impact on our life and
Who are the “least brothers” of Jesus? They are
not only those who are deprived of the material bounty of
God’s creation intended for all, but even more importantly,
they are the ones deprived of the fullness of salvation that
The hungry and thirsty. They are the ones who do not know
or believe in Jesus the Savior, who is “the bread
that came down from heaven.” (Jn 6:41). Jesus himself
assures us, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes
to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will
never thirst.” (Jn 6:35). But how can people believe
in Jesus and accept him as Lord? That comes through the
work of evangelization (Rom 10:13-15a). When we evangelize,
and because of this people turn to Christ and are saved,
then we fulfill God’s will. “For this is the
will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes
in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the
last day.” (Jn 6:40).
stranger. These are those who have not been admitted into
the community of Christ’s disciples. They are lost
in the world, which is under the dominion of the evil one
(1 Jn 5:19b). But God wants all to be saved, “not
wishing that any should perish but that all should come
to repentance.” (2 Pet 3:9b). And so Jesus issued
the great commission, intended for all his disciples, and
especially us in CFC-FFL, “Go into the whole world
and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” (Mk 16:15).
This is God’s command and we need to obey.
naked. These are those who are not clothed with the righteousness
of God. They are those who are not properly dressed for
the wedding feast, who are then thrown out into the darkness
(Mt 22:11-13). They are those who are proud, especially
those who think they can live their lives apart from God.
“And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility in
your dealings with one another, for: ‘God opposes
the proud but bestows favor on the humble.’”
(1 Pet 5:5b).
ill. These are those who have not received the grace of
being made whole, of experiencing the fullness of the salvation
of God. Jesus not only healed the paralytic but forgave
him his sins (Mt 9:2-7). The woman with the hemorrhage was
healed because of her faith (Mt 9:20-22). Likewise the two
blind men (Mt 9:27-30).
imprisoned. These are those who are imprisoned or bound
by their pride, anger, lust, prejudice, false notions, false
ideals. These are those who are enslaved by the desires
of the flesh. But Jesus has already won salvation and set
us free, if we allow his salvation to come into our lives.
“For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and
do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.” (Gal
So we see how crucial is the work of evangelization and mission.
It is a very important part of the way we fulfill the righteousness
of God and obey His commands. It is how we can minister to
the least of our brethren. It is how we can participate in
God’s very own work. It is how God can harvest more
sheep than goats. God commands us: “You shall love your
neighbor as yourself.” (Lev 19:18b). We want salvation
for ourselves, so we must also want salvation for others.
We want to make it to heaven, and so we must want to bring
as many others as we can with us.
God calls us to be holy, and the way that happens is when
we obey His commands. His commands are both those that He
tells us to do, and those that we freely commit to do for
commands are wonderful. They are not impositions, but manifestations
of His love, by which He wants all His children to make it
back to Him and to our eternal home. His commands are perfect,
trustworthy, right, clear, pure, true and just (Ps 19:8-10).
As such, they refresh the soul, give wisdom, rejoice the heart,
enlighten the eye; they endure forever; they are more desirable
than gold and sweeter than honey (Ps 19:8-11). David affirmed
their value: “By them your servant is instructed; obeying
them brings much reward.” (Ps 19:12).
So once again we are at the crossroad. The choices are plain
relationship with or without God
Holiness or worldliness
Obedience or disobedience
Fidelity or infidelity to covenant
Doing or not doing God’s will
Being followers of God or of the world and Satan
Being sheep or goats
Eternal life or eternal punishment
Being evangelizers or bystanders
We have a wonderful calling. To be holy as God is holy. To
do the very divine work of God in the world. It is difficult
and is a great challenge. And so we need the grace that God
freely provides, and we need the strength of God Himself.
have already experienced the salvation of God. Now we go forth
and look to experiencing the fullness of His strength, as
we faithfully continue with our life and calling. God is our
strong rock. May we be able to say, “My God is now my
strength!” May we be able to cry out, “Lord, my
rock and my redeemer.” (Ps 19:15c).
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