By LILIAN HAZEL CORRO-NAVARRA, MIDM
United Church of Christ in the Philippines
Psalm 63:2-6, 8-9
According to the Webster dictionary, mission means “the act of sending; the duty on which one is sent”. In the UCCP Calendar, August is mission month. Today, we meditate on the words of Scriptures when Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (NIV)
The Presence of Terror
Confronted with the reality of the global pandemic due to COVID-19, recession, depression, terrorism, bombings and killings of human rights defenders; followers of Christ may be threatened and shaken in fear. The unjust socio-economic and political situation is like a wolf ready to devour the sheep – but still, Jesus called his disciples to follow him.
The text from the gospel according to Matthew narrates one of the last teachings of Jesus before he was arrested and killed. It tells us about following Jesus in his mission in obedience to the Father. Living for Jesus means living a life full of sacrifice, giving up comfort zones in order to serve and become a blessing to others. Being “sent” is to be present with humanity and to serve God as an act of faith and genuine commitment inside and outside our Church institutions.
Churches around the world as the body of Christ should help each other in healing the wounds from both the past and the present due to,
- Economic crises
- Gender bias
- Plunder of the environment
The church should focus its priorities in spreading Kingdom values as revealed in the words and works of Christ – justice, peace and integrity of God’s creation. We need to grow in our understanding of God’s Kingdom through our belief in Jesus and living by his teachings through our actions. In this process we have to see that the world is still suffering from wounds that continue to destroy humanity and His creation.
We experience God’s blessings if we share our time and talents to our brothers and sisters especially the least and the neglected. We can unite in doing Christ’s mission even with our differences. Our common goal is for us to establish a just and humane society. Let us also remember the lives of men and women who became martyrs because of their faith and genuine service to humanity. Like Randy and Zara, we are being called out of our comfortable lives to offer our service to the people.
A Word of Hope
As a Church it is essential to be in mission by following Christ with courage to stand firm and move forward in the midst of persecution and fear.
If we will become God’s partners in doing his service to the people, then we can offer hope and truly become God’s presence in this world. This is our calling so that God’s will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Balik-Tanaw is a group blog of Promotion of Church People’s Response. The Lectionary Gospel reflection is an invitation for meditation, contemplation, and action. As we nurture our faith by committing ourselves to journey with the people, we also wish to nourish the perspective coming from the point of view of hope and struggle of the people. It is our constant longing that even as crisis intensifies, the faithful will continue to strengthen their commitment to love God and our neighbor by being one with the people in their dreams and aspirations. The Title of the Lectionary Reflection would be Balik –Tanaw , isang PAGNINILAY . It is about looking back (balik) or revisiting the narratives and stories from the Biblical text and seeing ,reading, and reflecting on these with the current context (tanaw).