OVERCOMING RELIGIOUS PHOBIA AND RELIGIOUS FANATICISM There can be no world peace and peace among religions and secularists if the State and religions do not work together as one for the greater good of the people they purport to serve. So long as the State views religions as competitors and threats to their authority and autonomy, there will always be tensions. But when religions become fundamentalistic and intolerant of others, they, too, will sow seeds of division and destroy society.
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REBUILDING OUR SHATTERED DREAM For more than 2000 years, the Roman Catholic Church has been in the forefront of the spread of the gospel. But in recent years we have seen the full-blown complacency and corruption of the Church, especially in the Church’s hierarchy. Faith is shaken, zeal for the mission is weakened, membership diminished. We need to rebuild the image of the Catholic Church. Instead of one that is portrayed for their pedophilia offences, we must project a Church of compassion, forgiveness, faith and hope. So what must be done?
RESPONSIBLE STEWARDSHIP OF GOD’S GRACE All of us are blessed with gifts, talents and resources. Regardless of what the Lord has blessed us with, we must never forget that these are given to us in trust. They are not our own. They are given to us so that we can use them well for the service of God and humanity. But we are not just given resources; there is also the question of accountability. How can we be worthy stewards of our Lord
BUILDING UP THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH PRESUPPOSES THAT WE BUILD UP THE INDIVIDUAL FIRST We are called to be the sign and sacrament of unity for the whole human race. But we cannot speak of the unity of Christ's body if we do not attend to the individual. That is why Jesus came for the weak, the sick and the sinner. How are we reaching out to heal and to reconcile individuals in our community who are wounded and need help, or do we only surround ourselves with those who are healthy, strong integrated and mature in faith?
FOCUS ON THE LORD In the bible, the sin that is most condemned is the sin of idolatry, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. Why is the sin of idolatry seen as such an insidious sin? How do we overcome this sin of idolatry?
ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE YOUNG LEADERS Some young people are diffident in assuming leadership because they feel intimidated by their elders. We must not allow our age to make us feel diffident or lose confidence in ourselves as leaders. Rather, we must seek to win their respect over time. The truth is that respect is never given simply because of the office we hold. Respect must be earned. How, then, can we earn respect from those we lead?
IS THE CHURCH THE PILLAR OF TRUTH? Time will tell whether the Church’s teachings are right or wrong. When the Church teaches moral truths, it is always in view of the generations to come. It is for the protection of the common good and the future of humanity.
DOING FLOWS FROM BEING There are many good-will Catholics who aspire to be priests, religious and lay leaders. Of course, the motive to be a Church leader must spring from the fact that we want to make a difference in the lives of others, we want to serve and transform lives, give people hope and make this world a better place. So, what does it take to qualify for Church leadership? The scripture readings of the day provide the criteria for selecting Church leaders, especially clerics.
FOSTERING RELIGIOUS HARMONY All peoples on earth want to live in peace and harmony, whether at home, in office, in society or in the world. But no peace is possible so long as religions are not respected and accepted. True religions must promote peace, love, and unity. How can we help humanity to grow in faith and in truth?
FAITH IN GOD'S FORGIVENESS GIVES US THE CAPACITY TO FORGIVE We are neither capable of receiving forgiveness nor offering forgiveness. This difficulty of accepting and giving forgiveness is rooted in the fact that we are conditioned in a reward and punishment system. If we were to understand the nature of God’s unconditional forgiveness, we must understand the heart of God. God wins us over by His mercy and love. What is needed is simply our cooperation and our desire to repent by accepting His forgiving love. Once we acknowledge our need to return to the Father’s love, we can be sure that the Father is waiting for us.