THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2013
SCATTERED TO GATHER
Philip went to the city of Samaria to evangelize. There were
many possessed people and many paralyzed and crippled people
(Acts 8:7). What we have is a picture of a city infested by
evil, with the attendant effects of demon possession and crippling
illnesses. No wonder that when Stephen expelled the unclean
spirits and cured the crippled people, “there was great
joy in that city.” (Acts 8:8).
this not the situation in the world today? Has not the world
been overwhelmed by a tsunami of evil? Is not the evil one
seemingly reigning supreme? Are not very many people in darkness,
depression and destitution of spirit?
needs to happen? People need to meet Christ, then to start
living in him. In Jesus all our needs are met. “I am
the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” (Jn 6:35).
people cannot meet Christ unless there are those who share
Christ. We need to “sing of his glorious name”
(Ps 66:2b). We do this in season and out of season. We do
this even when we expect to be opposed and persecuted. If
God allows this, there is a divine purpose. After the execution
of Stephen, “there broke out a severe persecution of
the church in Jerusalem” (Acts 8:1b). What was one consequence?
“All were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea
and Samaria” (Acts 8:1c). They had to flee their homes,
their familiar surroundings, their livelihood. But what happened?
“Now those who had been scattered went about preaching
the word.” (Acts 8:4). Despite their difficulties and
displacement, they focused on sharing Christ. Thus the work
expanded. From Jerusalem the work had now spread to Judea
and Samaria, and thence to the ends of the earth.
nations have large diasporas, like the Filipinos, Indians,
Vietnamese, Nigerians, etc. They had to leave home and homeland,
often their families, in order to seek livelihood. That is
tragic. But God has also used these displaced Catholics to
help revive parishes in the developed nations, which are already
post-Christian. The good that these Catholics are doing is
Today there is growing persecution of the Church, both in
secular western nations and fundamentalist Islamist nations.
It is just like then. “Saul, meanwhile, was trying to
destroy the church” (Acts 8:3a). The evil one wants
nothing less than to destroy what is of God. This is a time
of great challenge, but also a time of great opportunity for
the New Evangelization. Catholics should not only rise to
defend the faith, but surge forward to proclaim the faith.
this, we need to be mindful of the God whom we serve, of the
God who sends us forth to evangelize. We need to confidently
be able to say: “How awesome your deeds! Before your
great strength your enemies cringe.” (Ps 66:3). God
is all-powerful. God is victorious. God sends us forth to
the ends of the earth to establish His dominion. “His
eyes are fixed upon the nations.” (Ps 66:7b). We need
to obey His marching orders. “Let no rebel rise to challenge!”
To do God’s awesome work, we need to have the faith
that works wonders. We need to BE.LI.EV.E!
What is the basis of such faith? Well, we know God, and we
know His works. “Come and see the works of God, awesome
in deeds before the children of Adam.” (Ps 66:5). Time
and again God has worked His miracles, working in the lives
of His people. “He changed the sea to dry land; through
the river they passed on foot.” (Ps 66:6a). It is He
who had dominion over all, in heaven and on earth. God “rules
by his might forever” (Ps 66:7a).
God sends us forth to do His awesome work. In this God provides
whatever we need. We in fact are empowered by His Spirit.
We just need to BE.LI.EV.E, and we are assured,
“whoever believes in me will never thirst.” (Jn
we are now and what we are called to do is God’s will.
We are to share Christ so that those who accept him may be
saved. “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). If
we BE.LI.EV., then we will E
-- enter into eternal life.
us be about the work of the New Evangelization. We look to
that time, both here on earth and certainly in heaven, when
we can face our God with our heads held high and say, “All
the earth falls in worship before you; they sing of you, sing
of your name!” (Ps 66:4).