Invest in Meaningful Service

Session 1
Ash Wednesday
February 22, 2012
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17/Isaiah 58:1-12
Psalm 51:1-17
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” – Matthew 6:21

Integration

It is easy to visualize, enumerate and recognize what things to get rid off, and what things to hold on to…

Our greatest challenge is how to do it.

How can we let go of things we value most,like living in a bigger and comfortable house; buying latest gadgets like cellular phones, iPads, laptop computers; attending a prestigious school; or driving luxurious cars. These and among other “essential” things enslave us in our time, in our work, in our life.

And how can we stay faithful to God’s commandments of doing works of mercy and justice, such asfeeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, healing the sick, and denouncingsocial injustices and immorality?Today is Ash Wednesday. It reminds us that “we are dust, and to dust we shall return”. This tells us that our life is indeed fragile and one day it will come to an end.  . . Today is the best time for a serious reflection about how we fulfil the call of discipleship and the challenge of stewardship. Today is the best time for deep soul-searching on how to respond to the call.  Is it a life lived according to the Gospel? Or, is it a life of wilful refusal of hope, mercy, love, forgiveness, and healing?

Do we know what treasures reside in our heart?

Objectives

  1.  To  encourage the participants to repent and renew themselves according to the tenets of the Holy Gospel;
  2. To inculcate among the participants the value of alms-giving, works of piety and charity, praying and fasting in this season of lent;
  3.  To challenge the participants to go forth to love and serve and to abandon the life of materialism and self-centeredness.

 

Suggested Activity: Song Analysis

Walang Pagmamaliw

Nagbabagoangkalikasan.
Naglalahoangkagandahan.
Binabagongpanahon,
Patikahuluganngkahapon.
Kumukupasangkarangalan.
Nalilimotangpangalan.
Kung lahatnalanglumilipas,
Anokaya’ng di maaagnas?
Isa langang di nagmamaliw:
Angpag-ibig Mo, Giliw.
Samundongwalangkatiyakan,
Pag-ibigMo’y tanging sandigan.
Anumanangakingsapitin,
Makakayako’ngpasanin,
Ipabatid Mo langsa akin:
Ako’ymahal Mo pa rin.
Masumpunginangdamdamin,
Malambing at matampuhin.
Kung nagmamaliwangpangako,
Saan kaya ‘di mabibigo?
Isa langang di nagmamaliw:
Angpag-ibig Mo, Giliw.
Samundongwalangkatiyakan,
Pag-ibigMo’y tanging sandigan.
Anumanangakingsapitin,
Makakayako’ngpasanin,
Ipabatid Mo langsa akin:
Ako’ymahal Mo pa rin.

Guide Questions:

  1. What does the song tell about you? Does it relate to your spiritual life?
  2. What message does the song convey to the faithful?
  3. Can you sincerely tell God that you do not mind losing everything as long as you can always feel His love?
  4. What should be your appropriate response to actualize the meaning of the song especially during this lent?

Deepening

Situationer

Today’s generation is characterized by a lifestyle of running after new things. The youth and even the older generation want to have new things and/or new models of cell phones, iPads, laptops, computers, cars, houses. In essence, people become more materialistic and greedy.

The mentality of having without knowing how it affects others and the environment is something very alarming. It creates a situation of competition and conflict that serve the interest of the powerful few while conversely imperilling the common good.

For instance, it is difficult to see how 358 billionaires can live a happy life knowing that their combined $780 billion of assets are equivalent to the income of 2.2 billion poor people. An IP family earns an average annual income of P20,000/year while the 5 richest Filipinos in the Forbes list for 2007 have a combined net worth of P301,000,000,000.00.

One (1) in four (4) families experienced having no food on the table. 4.4 million Filipinos are hungry. 800,000 households experience moderate hunger; 170,000 households experience severe hunger. Over-all hunger: 665,000 families in Metro Manila; 1 million families for the rest of Luzon; 1 million families in Visayas; and 1 million families in Mindanao.

Obviously, the huge disparity between the wealth of the few and the poverty of the many is still expanding. And yet, many of our people don’t see the importance of cooperation and collective life as if we exist solely for ourselves. That’s why many of us pay no attention to what we can or should do for others.

If we are able to divest ourselves of materialism and instead learn to share what we are and we have , then we can contribute to the reduction of poverty and social injustice.

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return…

Nothing in this earth lasts. When we try to think about it, almost everything we are interested in is actually fleeting. The trendyclothes and shoes will soon go out of fashion, the electronic gadgets we purchased will soon become obsolete, some expensive beauty and whitening products actually cause adverse effects to our health. An advertisement about diamonds claim that it is forever, but even these too, can be stolen.

Nothing lasts. No amount of face lift, liposuction, or dermatological procedure can preserve beauty. The good reputation we work so hard to build will be forgotten. Everything in the world is passing.

Instead, we should ask ourselves, “So what truly lasts? What endures? What is the only thing worth investing all your life into?”

Jesus said, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that lasts, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be” (Luke 13:33-34).

This is a concrete challenge to Stewardship.  We have to get involved in the social issues and concerns around us: poverty, calamities, natural disasters, political conflicts, and corruptions, among others. We get involved because we care. We care because we love. It is love that lasts because love is of God!

Call to Action

We have to express our commitment to conversion by freeing ourselves from the pursuit of material things and self-centeredness.

The Alay Kapwa slogan advocated for the past thirty six years has been about urging the faithful to share “time, talent and treasure” to our neighbors – with special preference to the poor, the oppressed and the voiceless. We have to go out of our comfort zones and instead embrace and observe the real sense of Discipleship, following Jesus in His self-giving because He loves.

We urge people to invest in meaningful service. We have to invest our time, talent and treasure in the works of justice and charity. We need to share and participate in the struggle of our deprived and oppressed brothers and sisters from poverty and inequality. Practice of social justice should always be our principal concern in relating to our fellowmen. We should not tolerate competition but rather cooperation; we should not allow violation of one’s right but rather respect for human right and dignity. We should not tolerate abuse of our natural resources but rather preservation and protection of environments; we should always serve for the common good.

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