Bold stars for Christ
GOD'S WORD TODAY - GOD'S WORD TODAY By Ruben M. Tanseco, S.J. () - July 13, 2003 - 12:00am
To be a bold star for Christ! This is the challenge of today’s Gospel message, Mk. 6:7-13. It started with the twelve star-apostles. Jesus sent them in pairs to preach and teach the way to God and God’s ways – healing broken hearts and bodies as well. Their main equipment for spreading the Good News was to be their very own persons – converted to the love, compassion, and justice of God. In all this, Jesus led the way. He lived what he preached. And this meant boldness of spirit.

Jesus thus paved the way for what we now identify as universal spirituality. The cosmic Christ, in love with every human person and caring for the whole of creation. He broke the barriers and boundaries of race, culture, and religion.

Moreover, he told his apostles to "travel light", and not be encumbered or addicted to materialism, commercialism, and consumerism. Throughout the centuries thereafter, in various religious traditions, his simple lifestyle became the norm for those who sought God rather than mammon. The real treasures of the heart are love, mercy, forgiveness, generosity.

The story is told of a theology student who was invited to study with a famous rabbi, a scholar renowned for both wisdom and holiness. The student traveled many miles to meet the famous man. Upon arriving, the student was shocked to enter the rabbi’s small house – the little hovel had only a table, a chair, some books, a small bed and a lantern.

The student asked, "Forgive my curiosity, Rabbi, but where is your furniture?

The rabbi replied, "My furniture? Where is your furniture, my friend?"

The student said, "Rabbi, I am only a tourist, a visitor here, just passing through…"

The rabbi said with a smile, "So am I. So am I". (From Connections, July 2003).

How do we translate all this in our own lives today? As Filipino followers and apostles of Christ, you and I are likewise called to spread the love and justice of God, and reach out to those who need healing in body and spirit.

Faith in action, more than in words, teachings, and rituals. This is what our youths are attracted to in their religious leaders and institutions of today. Many of our young people are turned off by rich, precious ornaments in huge, expensive churches. "Why not have simple churches, and share the churches’ riches with the poor!" you often hear them say. In other words, the economic gap between the institutional Church and the great masses of our people is obvious to them. Thus, the credibility of the Church goes down before their very eyes. Many religious institutions, including ours, are going through a continuing struggle in this regard, due to inherited, westernized lifestyles.

Every now and then, however, our youth witness or hear about Christian leaders who are simple in their lifestyle and totally dedicated to all sectors of the community, with a special bias for the poor, and a militant advocacy for social justice. The historical Jesus and his apostles come alive again! These are what inspire the young. "May their tribe increase!" you hear them say. And a number of them would be drawn to do likewise.

Who knows – we may yet be truly a Church of Christ someday.

(The Jesuit Vocation Team invites male college students and young professionals to Vocation Seminar. It is intended for those who are considering the priesthood or brotherhood in the religious life. It will be held on August 3, 2003, Sunday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM at Loyola House of Studies, Ateneo de Manila University Campus, Loyola Heights, Quezon City. For more details, please contact the Jesuit Vocation Promotions Office at telephone number 4266101 (local 3408) or e-mail at You can also visit the website of the Philippine Jesuits at www.ignaciana,org.)

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