CONFRONTING THE TRUTH In life, departure will come sooner or later. We must be courageous in confronting the truth of the situation. It is always better to speak about it; and to do it positively so that all are at ease and can come to terms with it, seeing everything in the light of divine providence and His wisdom. Rather than hide the pain of departure, we should help each other to share a common desire to surrender each other to the Lord. When separation is united by a greater mutual union of will, that separation, even though painful, brings joy and a greater union.
THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES US THE POWER TO WITNESS To be a Christian is to live for Jesus and offer one’s whole life in union with Jesus for the spread of the gospel according to the vocation that the Lord has given to each one of us. We are called to testify for Jesus and to be His witnesses in the world. However, this will not be smooth sailing. So how can we be strong and courageous in witnessing to the Lord? We need the power of the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can stir in our hearts and enlighten our minds to understand the truth of the gospel.
HAVE YOUR ANSWER READY FOR THE HOPE THAT YOU HAVE Do we have an answer for our faith in Christ? Can we give convincing reasons for our belief in Christ and the Church? Will we stand up for Jesus in the face of opposition, misinterpretation, slander and false accusations with regard to the teachings of Christ and the gospel? Or do we, in the face of criticism, fight shy of our beliefs and hide among the crowd for fear that others will know that we are Catholics?
RADICALISM OR ADAPTATION To understand how time immemorial truths can be applied in the light of new situations and challenges, it is important that Church doctrines or religious beliefs be always situated in the context of their time. We are not advocating relativism, that is, that truth changes with the circumstances. Rather, the truth remains the same but it has to be applied to concrete situations. The application of the same truth requires adaptation because of new discoveries, scientific advancements and new knowledge.
ACTING WITH THE AUTHORITY OF LOVE A Christian is called to love not with his love or what he thinks love is all about. He is to love in the same manner the Lord has loved him. When there is love, we put the interests of the other person before ours. We can compromise and give in to others not because what we do is wrong but because we love and respect the other person who could be offended or scandalized by what we do and lose their faith. We must not always insist on our rights.
ALL EMBRACING GRACE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT The grace of God is beyond human control. The Holy Spirit cannot be constrained by laws. Who can prevent the Holy Spirit from acting, blowing and filling where He likes? Where we are today is the result of the grace of God. We must be open to the workings of the Holy Spirit and rely on grace alone. To be open to grace is to be open to new ways of allowing the Spirit to work beyond the narrow confines of the institution. God is stretching us to think out of the box. He wants to give us new opportunities for growth.
NECESSITY OF BEING PRUNED TO BEAR MORE FRUITS Creative tensions are part of the process of purification, discernment and growth. God will eventually help us to think out of the box because we are all constrained by our past and narrow ways of looking at life and the scriptures. Time is needed to see things more objectively from afar. Time is needed to help us sort out our prejudices to see from the other person’s point of view. In the final analysis, we should judge the matter by the fruits it brings.
THE PEACE OF A CHRISTIAN The world’s notion of peace is freedom from stress and from human conflicts. But this is not the kind of peace that Jesus has come to offer us. The peace of Christ is very different. It does not mean that we will be free of troubles, problems, challenges and difficulties. It does not mean that we can rest, do nothing and be free from all responsibilities of life. Peace is not retirement from work and from life. Peace is not escapism from the world of real life. So what is the peace of a Christian?
MISTAKEN IDENTITY We must be careful of the sin of idolatry which still exists today in different forms. Idolatry is to give glory to ourselves. Anyone who believes only in himself and no other powers higher than himself is worshiping idolatry. How many of us would attribute our success and all we have to God without claiming any credit for ourselves? Secretly, many of us think it is due to our hard work. How can we overcome the temptation to idolatry?
CRITERIA FOR APPOINTING CHRISTIAN LEADERS We are called to be the priestly and prophetic people of God. Indeed, by virtue of our baptism, we have been chosen by God to lead others to Him as well. Whilst all are called to be members of the royal priesthood of Christ, some of us are called into Christian leadership, whether as laity or as clergy. At any rate, all of us are Christian leaders in different degrees and positions. What does it take to be a Christian leader?