REFLECTION: The apostolic panorama PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 26 September 2014 12:51

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

“JESUS summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” (Lk 9,1)

I wonder if we realize that with these words, we who profess to believe in God and in the truth that we are his image and likeness, children of his, meant to participate in his life and work, are also called like the twelve apostles. That is, that we are also apostles entrusted with an important mission.

It may still be some breaking news to many, a big surprise yet to a great number of us, that our life and identity as followers of Christ unavoidably commit us to do apostolate to continue the redemptive work of Christ till the end of time.

Christ, being God who is also man, certainly does not need us to continue his work of redemption. He is all-powerful. Nothing is impossible with him. But he involves us in his continuing work of redemption because that is what is good and proper to us.

We need to plug this gap in our understanding of our Christian identity. Our relation with the others, our love and concern for them, our responsibility toward them just cannot be restricted to the level of our physical, emotional, social and other human needs.

Our relation with the others has to cover all our needs. This is what true love is all about, love being the very core and purpose of our life. And the whole scope and range of love begins and ends with God. All our needs in the different aspects of our life would not be fully satisfied unless God is placed at the center of them all.

In other words, it’s God who is our constant, real and ultimate need. If we don’t feel that need for God for whatever reason, then we have the basis precisely for the duty to do apostolate, to bring Christ to souls and vice-versa, and to proclaim Kingdom of God.

We have to learn to talk about God with everyone and in every situation. Obviously, we have to do this properly, that is, in ways that are respectful of our human nature and condition, weakened as it is by sin.

Let’s never forget that the best way to drive people away from God and from religion in general is when we bring the topic of God and the spiritual, moral and supernatural realities in an inappropriate way.

We have to learn to adapt and attune ourselves to the concrete conditions of persons, taken individually and collectively. In this, God himself has shown us the way. He made a long preparation before the coming of his son.

And when the time came, what is known as the fullness of time, the son became man and went through the whole process of adapting himself to the human condition, and this pursued all the way to the cross.

We have to learn to be very patient and creative in carrying out this duty to do apostolate. We have to be ready to be misunderstood and humiliated, and yet we ought to persevere, preaching in season and out of season, like what St. Paul once said.

The objective truth is that the panorama of the apostolic challenge is immense and tremendous these days. With all the developments that in themselves are good and most welcome, we have to contend with the reality that these same developments also tend to weaken the sense of religion among many people, especially the young.

There is a lot of religious indifference and doctrinal ignorance and confusion. Even the popular piety that we sometimes see around is contaminated with a lot of superstition.

The duty to do apostolate has to be taken out from the back burner. We need to give it more teeth, more fuel. We have to fulfill it with more seriousness and competence, grounding it properly on one’s intimate relation with God and driving it with true love that is not afraid of the cost of sacrifice.

Yes, there is need to do a lot of apostolate of doctrine and of confession, since the ignorance and confusion often go with all sorts of sins that would deaden our need for God.

To do this, we have to understand that apostolate always has to be based on true friendship, marked with understanding, compassion and mercy, as well as the persistence to bring God to people’s lives.

Concretely, we have to have daily apostolic plans, renewing and adjusting them as circumstances dictate.