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HOUSEHOLD TOPICS IN THE YEAR OF FAITH and the Era of the New Evangelization Fourth (4th) Quarter

Topic 10: What sets you apart? Our mission and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit

Perspective setting: We have now come to the last quarter and the household topics will dwell upon moving us into action. Through the call for the New Evangelization, the Universal Church has re-stated clearly its compelling purpose. It has set the whole Church on a priority and urgent course for mission and evangelization for every baptized Catholic. The Philippine Church, in the light of the forthcoming 500th year of Christianity, has heightened the call as it declared a nine-year spiritual preparation as an Era of the New Evangelization and we are just at the first year of the nine-year journey. In the context that the world has evolved rapidly and is influenced increasingly in its thought and culture by secularism, the paradigm of the New Evangelization is to believe that where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more. (Rom 5:20) The paradigm of the New Evangelization is to see this time as a golden opportunity for us to be renewed in our inner life for mission and proclamation of the gospel. As we approach the 2nd year of the nine-year spiritual preparation, having for its theme the laity, we could appreciate our lay life as a vocation a call from God to bring His presence and the good news of Christ to the very heart of the world, the realm of secular affairs. We are uniquely situated to be salt, light and yeast. We, as the new evangelizers, can make a difference where we are at. Our Response 1. Jesus used the images of salt, light and yeast. What do these images tell me about an evangelizer? What image comes closer to my heart and why? 2. What difference can I make as salt, light and yeast to my marriage and family life? 3. How am I making a difference in my work place? What am I doing to bring those I work with to know and experience Christ? 4. How am I making a difference in the place where I live? Have I made friends with my nextdoor neighbour with the intent to create openings for me to share my experience and life journey with Jesus as a way to interest them to renew their faith? Points of conclusion after the discussion: 1. Mission and evangelization is our way of life. Every situation we are with people is an opportunity to evangelize and do mission. 2. There is no ideal or perfect time. God uses even small openings for His grace to work.

Topic 11: Being spiritual people: Living the charismatic spirituality

Perspective setting: Responding to the call to mission and evangelization is to realize Gods highest potential for our lives because it fits into Gods purpose and plan for every baptized Christian. The New Evangelization emphasizes that the call to mission and evangelization is for everyone. We are missionaries and evangelizers by virtue of the sacrament of baptism we received despite our shortcomings, weakness and sinfulness. To be an evangelizer requires strength, character and faith beyond what is merely human, especially in todays context where many have rejected the gospel. Evangelizers will face stringent demands. Jesus himself told his disciples: If the world hated you, know that it has hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. (Jn 15: 18-19). Natural gifts of intellect, personality and character certainly enhance ones potential but they do not define an evangelizer. God alone makes them evangelizers through the outpouring of the Spirit. This is what we saw in the story of the Apostles. The same is so strongly depicted in the story of St. Pauls mission. This is our story too: We are baptized in the Spirit the same Spirit given on Pentecost; We are equipped and empowered by the Spirit We experience the use of charismatic gifts; We in CFC-FFL know we are called and commissioned to do mission and evangelization. Secondly, by our own strength we do not stand a chance against the powers and principalities that have a grip on the world. Doing mission and evangelization is not to wrestle with mere flesh and blood. We are in spiritual warfare and only by the Spirit can we be assured of victory. Our Response 1. How have I experienced the Holy Spirit equipping me for mission and evangelization? What new things have I discovered I am capable of doing which prior to the baptism of the Spirit I did not think I was capable of? 2. Every individual is given at least one gift (1 Cor 12:710) - wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, mighty deeds, prophecy, discernment of spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues. What is my gift and how have I used it for the bringing of people to a renewed life in the Lord? 3. The New Evangelization is a call to do massive work. With such a call is also an empowerment by the Spirit. How do I see the Spirit empowering me for the massive work God has call me to do especially in this nine-year spiritual journey towards 2021 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines?

Points of conclusion after the discussion: 1. When God calls, he empowers! There is a special grace given to us for the work of the New Evangelization. 2. The Spirit is given out precisely for the work of evangelization a. Matthew 28: 18-20. Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." b. Mark 16:16-18. He said to them, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents [with their hands], and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." c. Luke 24: 46-49. And he said to them, "Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.. You are witnesses of these things. And [behold] I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." d. John 20: 21-23. [Jesus] said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."
3. We are inevitably evangelizers by virtue of our sacramental baptism and by the baptism of the Spirit.

Topic 12: Integration for the whole year: Who are you as a New Evangelizer?

Perspective setting: This is the last household topic for 2013. It may be a good time to look ahead the second (2nd) year of the nine (9) year spiritual preparation towards our countrys 500th year celebration of Christianity: the Era of the New Evangelization. 2014 is our year the year of the laity. The Church in the Philippines tells us how important the laity is to the Era of the New Evangelization as it is placed right on the second year following the year of Integral Faith Formation. The gospel of Luke has an impressive list of ordinary people called by Jesus just so to highlight the importance of lay vocation. The list starts with Simons mother-in-law (4: 38-39), the paralytic (5:17-26), the centurion (7:1-10), the widow of Nain (7:36-50), the Gerasene demoniac (8:26-39), the woman with haemorrhage and Jairus and his daughter (8:40-56), the epileptic demoniac and his father (9:37-43), Martha and Mary (10:38-42), the crippled woman on the Sabbath (13:10-17), the grateful Samaritan leper (17:11-19), the rich young man called to leave everything but unfortunately declined the call (18:18-27), the blind man of Jericho (18:3543), Zacchaeus (19: 1-10), the widow with her mite (21:1-4), the good thief on the cross on Calvary (23:39-43), and lastly, the women on Easter morning at the tomb (24:1-11). It is made clear that the lay vocation was a very important part of the Kingdom of God proclaimed by Jesus. All of them have encountered Jesus and found their lives radically changed. The lay state has always been recognized as a valuable way of following Christ. There have been lay saints to name: Martha, Thomas More and our two Filipino saints Ruiz and more recently Calunsod. Our Response 1. What does the New Evangelization mean to me? 2. What is Gods invitation to me in the context of the New Evangelization and my state as laity? 3. How would 2014 look like? What do I see myself becoming and the situations around me? Points of conclusion after the discussion: 1. The lay vocation has equal dignity as a walk towards God just as the religious and priestly life. The religious and priestly life are not necessarily the better way. Each person is called uniquely by God.
2. Our present state as married men and women is a vocation. It is where Jesus desires us to encounter him.