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BLESSEDPEDROCALUNGSODANDTHENEWEVANGELIZATION

ByMsgr.DennisVillarojo Introduction WhatistheNewEvangelizationandwhyisitcallednew? ThetermNewEvangelizationwasfirstusedbytheBlessedPopeJohnPaulIIduringhis apostolic visit to Poland in 1979. He used it again when he visited the churches in Latin America in 1983. In his address to the Bishops of Latin America, the Pope said, The commemoration of this half millennium of evangelization will have full significance if, as bishops,withyourpriestsandfaithful,youacceptitasyourcommitment;acommitmentnot of reevangelization, but rather of a new evangelization, new in its ardour, methods and expression. Thusthenewevangelizationisnotamatterofredoingsomethingthatwasinadequately done,asiftheoldonedidnotachieveitspurpose,norisittakingupwhathasbeenleft unfinished,orsimplyrepeatingwhathasbeendoneinthepast.Itisthecouragetoforge newpathsofrespondingtothechangingcircumstancesandconditionsfacingtheChurchin hercalltoproclaimandlivetheGospeltoday.(Lineamenta,TheNewEvangelizationforthe TransmissionoftheChristianFaith,no.5) TheworkingpaperoftheXIIIExtraordinarySynodofBishops,onTheNewEvangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith lists six sectors whereby the changing circumstanceandconditionsfacingtheChurchareencountered. I. A. SECTORSCALLINGFORTHENEWEVANGELIZATION Culture

AccordingtotheWorkingPaper,wefindourselvestodayinaneraofprofoundsecularism, whichhasledtoalossinthecapacitytolistenandunderstandthewordsoftheGospelasa livingandlifegivingmessage.AlthoughithasnotdirectlydeniedtheexistenceofGod,this secularism fosters a mentality in which God is completely or partially left out of life and humanconsciousness.(Lineamenta,no.6) Atthepersonallevel,thisculturaltrendismarkedbytemptationstosuperficialityandself centeredness,arisingfromapredominatinghedonisticandconsumerorientedmentality... Whilethisisoffsetbysomesignsofreligiousreawakeninginotherpartsoftheworld,there isalsothethreatoffundamentalismwhichcanusereligiontojustifyactsofterrorism.
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B.

TheFamily

Inhumaninterrelationships,thephenomenonofmigrationhascausedthedeteriorationof familialbonds,theerosionofvaluesthatholdustogetherasfamiliesandpeoples,andthe looseningofthehumantiesfromwhichwederiveouridentitiesandwhichgivemeaningto ourlives. C. SocialCommunications

The means of Social Communications have vastly improved human life by giving greater accesstoinformation,newopportunitiesforknowledge,developednewformsofsolidarity, thereby creating a truly new world culture that encompasses geographical and racial limits.Thesepotentialshoweverhaveinherentrisks,suchastheoverconcentrationonthe self and personal needs, the reduction of objective values into purely subjective experiences, the alienation of thesocial life from the moral dimension, the formation of a cultureofsuperficialityandmereappearances. D. TheEconomy

The growing disproportion in the access to resources has bought about conditions of greater disparity between and among nations. The moribund economy of many socalled developed nations has highlighted the problem of using material forces alone in establishingrulestogovernfinancialandeconomicrelations. E. ScientificandTechnologicalResearch

Theadvancesinthescientificandtechnologicalfieldhavegivenscienceaprivilegedposition inpeoplesimagination,andweturntothemforanswersthatconcerntruthandmeaning even though we know that the responses they provide are only partial and not totally satisfying. F. CivicandPoliticalLife

The changes in the political structures around the world since the Fall of Communism has spawned new realities and posed greater challenges. In our country, our own EDSA Revolution has empowered us to chart the political course of our nation, though the choiceswehavemadesinceasapeopledidnotalwaysbringaboutourhopes.
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II. THE PERSON OF JESUS: CONTENT, PROCLAIMER AND CENTER OF THE NEW EVANGELIZATION While the six sectors for evangelization are changing and shifting, the Lineamenta is clear about the unchanging content of the new evangelization: In referring to the Gospel, we mustnotthinkofitonlyasabookorasetofteachings.TheGospelismuchmore;itisa livingandefficaciousWord,whichaccomplisheswhatitsays.Itisnotsomuchasystemof articles of faith and moral precepts, much less a political programme, but a person: Jesus Christ,thedefinitiveWordofGod,whobecameman.(Lineamenta,no.11)Thus,inthenew evangelization, we seek to encounter Jesus anew so that his person, life and words may shedlightonthesixlociofevangelization. A. ByvirtueoftheincarnationofChristtheworldhasbeenimbuedwiththepresenceof God. In the person of Jesus we experience intimacy with God the Father and we receive empowermentfromtheHolySpirit.Inprayer,weencounterJesusandweareassimilated intothelifeoftheHolyTrinity.ByreadingthewordofGod,weallowthestoryofJesusto becomepartofourownlifestoryandtransformthewaywelive. B. The Holy Family stands as mirror and exemplar of our own social condition today. Forces beyond their control threaten to rip them apart. The powerful at the time of the Lordsinfancymadelifedifficultforthem,causingthemdisplacementfromtheirdomestic milieu. Yet, they held together as a family through Marys and Josephs faithful discernmentofGodswill.Atthefindinginthetemple,MarycalledupontheboyJesusto recognizetheirauthorityashisparentsbyexpressingtohimtheirconcernforhim:Mychild whyhaveyoudonethistous?SeehowworriedyourFatherandIhavebeen,lookingfor you.(Lk.2:48)Jesus,however,assertedamorebasicsourceofhisidentity:Whywere you looking for me? Did you not know that I must to be in my Fathers business (v. 49)? Familieswillholdtogetherinspiteofseparationanddislocationifatthecoreoftheirfamilial relationship,theyarebuiltupinGod. C. Though the means of social communication were not available to Jesus during his time,heneverthelessreachedouttopeoplethroughthetruthofhispreachingandbythe powerofhishealingtouch.Atthecoreofthesemeansofcommunicationisthepersonof Jesus himself, who is the Eternal Word of the Father. In spite of the limited means at his disposal, Jesus was still able to hold his audience spellbound because his word carried authority(Lk. 4:32), that is, he communicated his own being through the outpouring of himself. Communicationisnotjustpassingoutamessage,itisaboveallestablishingarelationship withothers,andrelationshipisalwaysthereciprocalgivingofpersons.Thismeansthata selfenclosedattitudecannotbethebasisofcommunication.Todayssocialnetworkingcan
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onlybetrulysocialifitsparticipantsengageeachotheringenuinedialogueandauthentic interaction,alwaysseekingeachothersgoodandservingeachothersneed. D. TheparablesofJesusareessentiallyreligiousandethicalteachings,buttheyarealso applicabletotheeconomy.Thisonlygoestoshowthatmoralityisinseparablefromsound economic principles. In the parable of the talents(Mt. 25: 1430), Jesus has taught us a principleofgoodeconomics.Whensomethingisinvested,somethingisharvested.When somethingiskepthiddenandlockedup,neitherthekeepernorthosearoundhimbenefit. The parable of the rich fool (Lk. 12:1621) complements this parable, for the rich man who hoardedhisgoodsiscomparabletotheservantwhohidhistalentundertheground.Goods thatarelockedupwillnotmultiply,norwilltheybenefitthecommongood. Ourworldtodaysuffersfromamoribundeconomybecausetoomanyresourcesarelocked inthehandsofthosewhohavethegreatestaccesstothem.Consequently,moneyisnot translatedintogoodsbecausethefewwhohavethemoneydonotneedtoomanygoods, and those who need the goods do not have the money. The net result is that those who havethemoneyarelosingitsvalue,andthosewhodonothaveareevenmoredeprivedof theneededresourcestoprovidefortheirmostbasicneeds. This has led to largescale indebtedness, which cannot be untangled because of the requirementsofcommutativejustice.Toloosenuptheevertighteningknot,PopeBenedict XVI,inhisencyclicalCaritasinveritatehasproposedaneconomyofgratuitousness,inwhich a gratuitous spirit replaces strict commutative justice, allowing nations, institutions and individualstostartalloveragain,sothatgoodsandresourcesthathavebeenlockedupin the hands of a few may once again circulate, thereby creating wealth and promoting progress. Is this not the spirit of the parable of the unforgiving servant (Mt. 18:2335) as well? E. Technology is the worlds newest object of idolatry. Some people do worship technology as if it provides all the answers to the questions of human life. They thus dedicatetheirlivestoitsservice,evenatthecostoftheirownsouls.Althoughtechnology asweknowittodaywasunknownduringJesustime,theLorddidprovideuswiththebasic answerstothemostprofoundquestionsaboutGod,theworldandthehumanperson.The attractionoftechnologyliesinitsabilitytomakethingseasyforhumanbeings.Itbreaksup thelimitsofwhatwecando.Inhisresponsetothedevilstemptationtochangestoneinto bread(Mt.4:4),however,Jesussetfirmlythelimitofwhatwecandonotwhatisbeyond our power to do, but what the word of God has told us is the limit to our powers. Technology may change stone into bread, but the bread technology offers cannot fully satisfyourhunger.
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F. Recent history has been marked by the mass actions of people who have claimed their right to be free from repressive regimes. Nations and peoples have emancipated themselves from tyranny following the example of our own EDSA revolution. Yet, the dismantlingoftotalitarianregimeshasnotalwaysresultedingreaterprogressformany.We haveonlycrossedtheRedSeatobeliberatedfromEgyptbutwecontinuetowanderinthe wilderness.LiketheIsraelitesofold,weneedtorecognizethedominionofGodinourlives andtofollowhiscommandments.Onlybyacorrespondingtransformationinthewaywe livecanweattainthefullnessoflife. Jesus,intheSermonontheMount(Mt.57),hastaughtusthewaytolive.Weneedtobuild our nation on the rock of his words practicing selfdiscipline, learning to forgive, giving generously,lovingfaithfully. III. BLESSEDPEDROCALUNGSOD:WITNESS,CATECHISTANDEXEMPLAROFTHENEW EVANGELIZATION BlessedPedroCalungsodlivedinavastlydifferenttimefromours.Themissioninwhichhe assistedusedamethodofevangelizationappropriatetohistime.Yet,thevalueswhichhe lived are no different from the values we need to embody in the new evangelization. In particular, his boldness in leaving home and accompanying the missionaries to spread the Gospel in a possibly hostile environment is a call for us to be also courageous in giving witnesstoChristinourpresentcircumstances. 1.) BlessedPedroCalungsodandCulture:TheyoungpeopleoftheMarianaspracticea form of liberal and licentious sexual life. This was a temptation for someone of Blessed Pedros age. Some of the young people who have embraced the Christian faith actually lapsedbacktotheirnativeways,butBlessedPedroremainedsteadfasttotheend. Thesubcultureoftheyoungtodaytendstotakesexualityinacasualway,abandoningthe dignity and esteem with which our Christian faith considers the conjugal act. This is no doubtinfluencedbysomesectorsinthemedia,whichpromotesadegradedviewofhuman sexuality.Againstthisinsidiousinfluences,wemustaffirmthatculturedoesnotdetermine morality, it is rather morality that must purify some distorted elements of culture, so that (we)donotconformourselvestothepresentage,butlettherenewalof(our)minds,so thatwemaydiscernfor(our)selveswhatisgood,pleasingandperfect.(Rom.12:2) 2.) Blessed Pedro Calungsod and the Family: although we have no knowledge of his family life or of his familial roots, we see him at the service of the families in Guam, as he assisted Blessed Diego de Sanvitores in his effort to catechize the natives and to baptize them.Thissameactivitycaughttheireofoneheadofafamily,Matapang,who,throughthe insinuation of the local medicine man named Choko, thought his baby has been infected withpoisonedwater.ItwasattheserviceofthefamilythatSanPedrolosthislife.
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3.) BlessedPedroCalungsodandthemeansofSocialCommunication:Therewereno hitechgadgetsduringBlessedPedrostime,butwhathehadwasthezealofamissionary, whichismorethanisneededtogetsonesmessageacross.Thereisnosubstitutetoface tofaceencounters,actualconversationsthatleadtofriendshipsandhousevisitationsthat openuphomestothegraceoftheHolySpirit. Wemustusethemeansofsocialcommunicationtostrengthenrelationships,todevelopour capacitiesforgood,andtospreadtheGospelofJesus. 4.) BlessedPedroCalungsodandtheEconomy:ThetimeofBlessedPedrodidnothave thecomplexeconomicsystemofourworldtoday.TheMarianaswasonlyastopoverinthe lucrativegalleontradebetweenAcapulcoandManila,andneitherBlessedDiegonorBlessed Pedrowasmentionedasbeinginvolvedintheeconomicactivityoftheisland. Yet,inhis activity as an assistant to Blessed Diego, and in his reported act of valor, we see the underlyingprinciplesofgoodeconomics.Inleavingtherelativesecurityofhishomelandto face the dangers of an uncertain land, San Pedro displayed the detachment and the generosity of a true missionary. Detachment and generosity go together because one cannotbetrulygenerousunlessoneiswillingtoletgoofthings.Inrealizingtheeconomy ofgratuitousness,wemustlearntobegenerousandtobedetachedfrommaterialthings. 5.) Blessed Pedro Calungsod and Technology: Our technology today was unheard of duringthetimeofBlessedPedro.Thepeopleofhistimedidnothavetheconvenienceswe takeforgrantedtoday.Yet,theyhadsomethingswhichtechnology,inourtime,hasslowly taken away from us. They had diligence, patience and endurance. Today, because of the conveniences of technology, we are wont to complain at the slightest difficulty, delay or inconvenience. We have become too dependent on technology, to the point of losing the virtuousqualitiesthatwouldhavemadeusbetterhumanbeings. 6.) Blessed Pedro Calungsod and Politics: Blessed Pedro and Blessed Diego were both victimsofpoliticalintrigueamongthenativesoftheMarianas.Theywerepowerlessagainst thecalumniesofChoko,whospreadliesaboutthenatureofbaptismandtheintentionsof the missionaries. What made up for their political weakness was the solidarity they had with each other. Blessed Pedro stuck it out with Blessed Diego, although he could have joinedthenativesintheirpursuitofthehappylife.Attheveryleast,hecouldhaveranaway atthethreatofmortaldanger.Muchhasbeenmadeofthefactthattheagileyoungman initiallyevadedthelancesthrownhisway,butthefactthathemerelyevadedthemmeans that he could have run away, far from the scene of Matapangs rage, but he did not. He stayed close to Blessed Diego, refusing to save his own skin in the hope of saving his master.
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Loyalty,courage,solidaritythesearesalientqualitiessorelyneededtoeffectrealchange inourpoliticallandscape.Weareaccustomedtothinkofpoliticsintermsofelectionsand politicalparties.ItwouldbeanachronistictoimposetheseconceptsonthelifeofBlessed Pedro.YetthevaluesthatmakeBlessedPedroaloyalassistantarethesameprinciplethat shouldunderlieourpolitics.Thisisbecausethefabricofanationisultimatelymadeupof individualthreads,thestrengthorweaknessofwhichdetermineswhetherthenationstands orfalls.

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