MANILA, Oct. 19, 2013—The top churchman of Manila’s Catholic Church on Friday called on the faithful to be “true lambs” in heeding the church’s call for new evangelization, urging them to manifest humility and vulnerability as they continue to fulfill their mission.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, who became emotional during the closing Eucharistic celebration of the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE), urged delegates of the convention to be more steadfast in professing and sharing their faith to others.
“We are sent as humble and poor servants of the kingdom and its message. We are not sent in order to prove something to God or to ourselves. We are not here for conquest. We are here simply to share the riches that we have heard, seen, and touched,” Tagle said in his homily during the closing Eucharist of the PCNE.
“We go with what really matters—the message of the kingdom of God. With our vulnerability, hopefully, we rely to the one who sent us,” he added.
As he closed the three-day convention, Tagle shed tears brought by the overwhelming grace present in the celebration and his overflowing gratitude to all those who helped bring PCNE to success.
Not only Tagle was brought to tears, as a number of delegates also became emotional during the candle-lighting ceremony wherein the faithful—both religious and lay individuals—waved their candles as they sang “Tell the World of His Love” in unison.
‘Lambs in the midst of wolves’
The cardinal characterized the faithful as “lambs” who face great threats of secularization that characterize the modern generation.
“The world that the new evangelization faces is like a wolf. There are some aspects of the contemporary world that might look hostile to us,” Tagle said.
“But dear brothers and sisters, one inspiration of the new evangelization is to say to us that the world that is simple, wounded, and hostile remains as God’s world. It remains as God’s creation. Let us not completely condemn the world as a ‘wolf’,” he said.
“Maybe the lambs in the world are just waiting to come out. Change the world, and let it become a lamb,” he added.
Tagle urged the faithful to manifest the tame and vulnerable characteristics of lambs, leading others to their rightful transformation in the pursuit of their mission.“How ironic it is for someone to be sent by the Lamb of God but the one who sent looks like a wolf. The lamb sends lambs…We pray that the reverse will not happen—that we become more like wolves in the mission,” he said.
As a response to the church’s need for more evangelizers, Tagle said the rightful approach is to pray, knowing that the laborers will come from the Divine.
He referred to the 6,000 delegates of the PCNE as “laborers” who have heeded the scarcity of church workers buffeting the present generation.
“Something, someone tells me: ‘Chito (the cardinal’s first name), your prayer is being answered now….Look around you. These are the laborers that will be sent’,” Tagle said, referring to the delegates to the first new evangelization conference in the country.
He called the faithful as “missioners” who serve as the answer to the prayers of the people.
“We are the answer to the prayer of the church to the Father, asking Him to send more laborers and workers. Dear Father, thank you for answering our prayer. You have given 6,000-strong laborers to your harvest,” he added. (Jennifer Orillaza)