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Lawrence AndrewThe Start of Writing HIStory
Posted by Lawrence Andrew Fernandez on 4/19/2012 3:34:00 AM

During the opening mass of the 2012 Grand Mission Festival, some members of the technical crew raised an alarm about a burning cable near the stage area. It seems as if the cable felt the on-fire attitude of the delegates to go on mission even if the festival has not been officially opened yet. This passion for mission is basically what Bishop Gabriel Reyes, D.D. pointed out during his homily to kick-off the three-day festivities entitled "Remembering Our History, Proclaiming Jesus` Story, Celebrating Our Faith".

Bishop Reyes started His homily by sharing that people think of passing on their faith and Jesus` sanctifying grace to others when the word "mission" comes into mind. This willingness to share these graces springs from the divine life that Jesus afforded us through His death and resurrection. If it is not shared, faith can be considered dead.

To elaborate on this thought, Bishop Reyes made an example of the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. The former does not have a channel to share the water it receives. Thus, its water is salty and no semblance of marine life is present there. Meanwhile, the Sea of Galilee is linked to a number of rivers and streams which makes it a fruitful residence for aquatic creatures. Through this allegory, the bishop of the Diocese of Antipolo solidified the fact that faith is ought to be shared for it to prosper.

Putting the thought into a more local context, the bishop also stated that Filipinos are the foremost Catholic missionaries in Asia for the Philippines population is predominantly Catholic. To serve as inspiration, it was written in Pope John Paul II`s Redemptoris Missio encyclical that based on geography, Jesus was born, raised and died as an Asian. With that in mind, Bishop Reyes believes that the cross of evangelization for the third millennium will be planted in Asia and Filipinos will play a big role on this.

From this backbone of spiritual knowledge, Bishop Reyes mentioned that God is using Filipino migrant workers to evangelize to other nations. Aside from seeking for greener pastures, these overseas employees bring with them the Catholic faith that has been embedded in their lives. While seeking to earn more money, they also seek to bring more people closer to God through their beliefs.

However, the pitfall of not fully understanding faith can derail God`s plan of evangelization. Therefore, Bishop Reyes suggested that faith should be taught by parents to their children at a young age. From there, Filipinos can win the world for Christ by evangelizing through scripture and self, migration or out-of-town mission and witnessing. As Bishop Reyes clarified, God uses human events, even sad ones, to fulfill His promise of salvation for mankind.

As Bishop Reyes wrapped up his homily and the Holy Eucharist went on to the Communion, the technical crew still did not solve the case of the burning cable. However, as if a sign of assurance, the choir sang "Huwag Kang Mangamba". Indeed, when you feel like giving up in the mission, He makes certain that He is always by your side. All He asks from us is to set the faith of others on fire and to plant the flame of mission within them.

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