Read the news from events, activities and other updates on the different communities here in the Philippines
This workshop was led by
Adriana Haro, Ronan Capuras, Charisma Sulbise and Jay-anne Désabelle.
What comes to mind when you hear the expression “the signs of the times”? The signs of the times help us understand how God is acting in human history. He communicates with us through the burning bushes in our life (see Moses in Exodus 3:8) or in a gentle breeze (see Elijah in 1 Kings 19:12), where he reveals himself and expresses his will. It is not always easy to recognize the signs. Jesus invites believers to be “the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:1-3) and attentive to the Kingdom of God – but whoever is closed to conversion/change, will be blind to the signs of the times.
Signs of the times
The believer needs to scrutinize the signs of the times in order to influence what is happening with the provocative force of the Gospel. Signs to be considered can include global warming, a growing awareness of mental health, the global protest against racism and discrimination, and political and social polarization. Pope Francis wrote “As I was writing this letter, the Covid-19 pandemic unexpectedly erupted, exposing our false securities. Aside from the different ways that various countries responded to the crisis, their inability to work together became quite evident. For all our hyper-connectivity, we witnessed a fragmentation that made it more difficult to resolve problems that affect us all” (Fratelli tutti, no. 7, 2020). What is God’s will here in all these issues?
One such way in which God has already been preparing us for the pandemic by inspiring our National Communications ministry over the last 2-3 years. It helped us prepare in advance for the pandemic, and allows us to share with many through our dedication to prayer and ministry of the Word, and forming apostles. We can ask what newness is the Spirit working in this time? As Isaiah reminds us, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? … I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (see Isaiah 43:19-20).
We are to be a cunning as a snake and gentle as a dove – and not to be naïve. One problem today is social media addiction. To lessen social media distraction - you can leave phone outside your room at night to sleep well, delete unnecessary social media accounts, mind the time spent on media, and enhance real-time connections. How about countering fake news? We can develop a critical mindsight, check the source, see who else is reporting the story and don’t take images at face value. Individualism and consumerism can also be an issue – so take care in our spending, with less screen time and more face time. It is important to discern and to pray like our founder Jaime Bonet.
God meets us where we are. God has never abandoned us; instead he continues to reveal himself dynamically to us, and hopes in our response. “You yourselves give them something to eat” said Jesus. How many loaves do you have? How can we respond as Verbum Dei? Prayer makes us gifted to give - without prayer we give up easily. This connection with the living Word makes us creative to reach out, and helps us see our mission is not quarantined. So what is our pastoral response as Verbum Dei?
Let us bear in mind:
Our union with God will give us the answers of how we can respond as a Verbum Dei Missionary Family.
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