Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Back to School

We started the new school year this morning with an opening liturgy at 6:45. Here is the homily that I delivered:
Formation for Mission
Homily for SAT Opening June 9, 2008

As we begin the new school year, it is fitting that we celebrate its opening with the Mass of the Holy Spirit.

The sending of the Holy Spirit to the disciples by the risen Lord is often understood in terms of empowerment for mission.
“Receive the Holy Spirit … just as the Father sent me, so I am sending you.”

It is the sending of the Holy Spirit that made it possible for the disciples to fulfill the missionary mandate.
However, the Spirit was given after Jesus had formed and trained them. This formation and training that the disciples went through was geared towards mission.

A few weeks ago I attended a commission meeting in Bangkok which revised the Vision-Mission and the Theology program of the St. Alphonsus’ Theologate.

One of the most important development that came out from that meeting was the emphasis given to mission.
The St. Alphonsus’ Theologate aims at providing theological, pastoral and missiological education for ministry and mission.

Formation for ministry and mission.
By the end of five years we expect you to be well prepared not only for pastoral ministry but for mission.

Formation for Mission is the thrust of St. Alphonsus’ Theologate. We expect you not only to be good pastors and ministers of the Word and Sacrament.
We expect you to become competent and dedicated missionaries in the South-East Asia region.

When we speak about mission we are not only referring to Missio Ad Intra – mission within the boundary of the Church, among those who are already baptized.

While this has been the main thrust of the Congregation since its founding up to now, we have to be aware that mission is also Ad Gentes and Inter Gentes – to those who are not baptized, those belonging to other religious traditions and with no religious affiliation.
This mission crossing boundaries, and going outside the borders of the Church.

“Just as the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”
In order to become effective and dedicated missionaries we have to be formed and trained for mission.
This is what the disciples went through with Jesus.
While we are empowered by the Holy Spirit in carrying out our mission, we cannot be competent missionaries without adequate preparation.

This is how we should see our time here at SAT.
This is a time of learning – a time of discipleship.
Before we can be apostles and missionaries – we must first be disciples.
And this is how we should see ourselves at SAT – a community of disciples preparing for mission.
Discipleship entails entering into a deeper relationship with Jesus – friendship with Jesus.
It also entails sitting at the feet of the master – of listening and learning from him.
It also requires walking with him and accompanying him as he carry out his mission.
This is what we want to happen during this period of theological formation as we prepare ourselves to become dedicated and competent missionaries.
After breakfast, we had a general assembly attended by the faculty and all the theology students. As dean of academics, I gave the orientation. Then classes followed at 9:15 am. This morning I taught Christology to the 2nd year students. I have four other courses to teach this semester: Fundamental Theology (1st year students) every Friday, Sacraments (4th year students) every Wednesday, Pastoral Leadership and Management (5th year students) every Thursday and Theological Synthesis (5th year) on Saturdays (every month).

1 comment:

Dominic C.Ss.R said...

Great picture of you all at SAT - all the best for the new Academic year.