Reflection on “Mission of Social Concerns”

Tuesday, May 12, 2009:

Fr. Rolando Tuazon, CM

Fr. Rolando Tuazon, CM

We had the module on “Mission of Social Concerns” facilitated by the resourse person Fr. Rolando Tuazon, CM from May 4th to 6th. The following reflection is done by one of our participants.

The Need for a Renewed TheologyIMG_1597

Renato Caballero Jr. (Don)

 After having been reflected on the module “Mission of Social Concerns,” I agree that a renewed Theology is “not focused only on the cross, but on the whole Christ-event”. For the many millions of Filipinos, our spirituality is one of the cross. It is focused on the suffering and death of Christ. I suppose this was the kind of spirituality brought to us by the Spaniards. Our Lenten tradition of the Pabasa of the Pasyon speaks volumes on this kind of spirituality that makes us passive and resigns to our fate even in the face of oppression. What is asked in this kind of spirituality is to make us cultivate the virtue of patience and resignation even unto death. Filipinos flock by the millions on Good Friday but the number decreases during Easter Sunday especially among the men. The Black Nazarene devotion in Quiapo attests to this kind of spirituality, which of course was very much the product of a theology focused on the cross.

 In this cross-centered theology original sin rather than original blessing was given more importance. This kind of theology was also a product of Greek dualism where man is divided into body and soul. The soul being spiritual is definitely much superior to body which is corruptible. The churches must engage only in spiritual matters not on the temporal. Thus, our great concerns for the eternal and the heavenly deeply marked our ministries. The priests must not engage in politics and other matters like justice. His main duty is to take care of souls.

Thank God, after Vatican II and because of the Liberation Theology coming from of the grassroots in Latin America, we rediscovered our biblical roots of a more holistic approach to man. Our theology rediscovered also the biblical foundation for a more down to earth, historical approach to man in his relation to God. We were able to see God in the secular city in the development of technology. Vatican II’s document on the Church in the Modern world showed the great shift to a more incarnational and holistic approach to the Christ-event. Aggiornamento or renewal became the battle cry. This renewal is not only in matters of the spirit but also in the temporal concerns of political and economic structures. This renewal of church and society takes its power from the Resurrection of Christ and the sending of the Spirit commissioning us to renew the face of the earth.

 

I agree that a renewed theology is “not individualistic, but communal (the human community, the community of creation”). This renewal of spirituality and theology which is grounded on the whole Christ event brought another dimension to our way of thinking and living, to our way of relating and our way of ministry. The dualistic and cross-centered theology and spirituality was individualistic. Fortunately, the focus on the whole Christ event made us rediscover our sense of community, our sense of the biblical and Semitic corporate personality. Of course, the   natural sciences made us rediscover that great and awesome realization of our deeply interconnectedness with each other.

Of course, too technology has brought us this sense of a global village. Advancement in media made us more deeply aware of what’s happening in other parts of the world in just a matter of minutes. Wars and natural calamities as shown to us through the TV screens and the Internet make us feel this immediate sense of responsibility. Even our local songs make us realize this interconnectedness and dependency with each other. Ang lahat ng bagay ay magkaugnay (everything is interconnectedness). We are not talking here of only the human community but the community of creation from the smallest amoeba to the biggest galaxies! Mystics even proclaim the whole universe as the body of God! 

I agree that a renewed thinking is “not simply saving our souls, but God’s salvation of us in all that constitutes our humanity, including the rest of creation”. The implication in our missiology is that we are not to save souls alone but the whole human person and all that constitutes our humanity including the rest of creation. The glory of God is that of the human being fully alive! The church has the mission to proclaim a holistic approach to human development in terms of proclaiming justice and the integrity of creation. Not only are we to champion human rights but the rights of the earth, the rights of animals, birds, trees, bodies of water, rights of the air, and all that is in creation groaning for Liberation. In the context of Mindanao, we are to proclaim justice and peace not only for the Lumads, Muslims, and Christians but for its land and mountains desecrated by mining, bombs, pesticides, for its oceans, rivers and seas and all that are in it, for all the wild flowers and fauna. In short, the saving grace of Christ-event embraces all. Thus, how does one live one’s faith and life? As humans and as followers of Christ, we must live our Life EMBRACING ALL.IMG_1917

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