THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2014
THE GOSPEL OF THE CROSS
We are called to be saints, martyrs and warriors. These are
the three necessary aspects of being a true Christian. Responding
to the call and striving to become these then empowers us
to witness. We can then see the effectiveness of our work
of evangelization, just as the early disciples experienced,
as “they had proclaimed the good news to that city and
made a considerable number of disciples” (Acts 14:21a).
There will be a rich harvest.
the thread that weaves through the aspects of being saints,
martyrs and warriors is the cross. It is suffering and pain.
The cross purifies us and brings us to sanctification. The
cross accompanies us as we witness to Jesus, face the opposition
and oppression of the world, and are persecuted and even martyred.
The cross is the banner under which we march against a powerful
enemy, ending up often being bruised and bloodied in battle.
is the basic reality: “It is necessary for us to undergo
many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22b).
Notice that this was the exhortation of Paul and the other
disciples, by which “they strengthened the spirits of
the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith”
(Acts 14:22a). This is how Paul encouraged others. He did
not proclaim the gospel of prosperity, but rather that of
prosperity gospel will bring us to the world. The gospel of
the cross will bring us to the Lord. The more we encounter
hardships and trials in trying to live out the fullness of
our faith, then the more that God will be there for us. “The
Lord supports all who are falling and raises up all who are
bowed down.” (Ps 145:14).
we struggle with the call to holiness and being saints, all
the more we seek God, we long for God, we strive to enter
more deeply into God’s presence, we desire to embrace
God with our whole strength. Here is the truth: “The
Lord is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon
him in truth.” (Ps 145:18). But we need to realize the
truth of our call. It is a call to embrace his cross.
we struggle with the call to be witnesses and being martyrs,
as we face opposition and oppression, all the more we cling
to God, we cry out to God in our anguish and pain, we seek
God’s protection and consolation. Here is the truth:
“He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he hears
their cry and saves them.” (Ps 145:19). But we need
to fear the Lord, to be in awe of Him, and to know that in
God, especially in the cross of Jesus, is our salvation.
we struggle with the call to mission and being warriors, all
the more we trust in God, we know that God leads us in battle,
we stand on the reality that God is our protector and shield,
we know that God has already won the victory and we share
in that victory. While Satan is the strong man, Jesus is the
stronger man. Jesus assures us: “the ruler of the world
is coming. He has no power over me” (Jn 14:30b). Here
is the truth: “The Lord watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he destroys.” (Ps 145:20). But we
need to really love God, giving Him our all, and trusting
that He wants only the best for us, even as that includes
are to be saints, martyrs and warriors. This call is very
challenging and difficult. But Jesus tells us, “Do not
let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” (Jn 14:27c).
We are to be at peace and to be always joyful. We have the
peace of Christ. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I
give to you.” (Jn 14:27a). This is not the peace of
the world. “Not as the world gives do I give it to you.”
(Jn 14:27b). The world sees peace in terms of a cessation
of hostilities. But that is not true peace, not the shalom
that is a gift of salvation. The peace of Christ in fact involves
continued wielding of the sword, a continuing engagement in
spiritual warfare. Thus there is always the cross.
are called to the New Evangelization. Still lounging comfortably
and sipping your pina colada at the Country Club?
“Get up, let us go.” (Jn 14:31b).