Father General: we likened ourselves to the disciples journeying to Emmaus
After two weeks of presentations, discussions, proposals, deliberations and fraternal love and encouragement, the General Dieta ends with a Mass at the Church of Sant?Angelo in Pischeria where the General Curia is located and newly decreed.
Fr. Ted Kalaw, CRM, superior General of the CRM (Padri Caracciolini, Adorno Fathers) reflects in his homily the disciples journey to Emmaus. Below is the full text of his homily:
As we conclude this General Diet, we likened ourselves to the disciples journeying to Emmaus. Like the disciples, we have so many doubts, preoccupations, compounded with the anxiety of the unprecedented times. A lot of things happened and we thought that it can only happen in our wildest imagination and then we become afraid?because we don?t know what will happen tomorrow and the next days after that. Uncertainties are not entirely bad. If you look the other way, It can also be good too. Doubts greatly fan the flames for us to move forward and pull ourselves out from our comfort zones. When we doubt, we reflect. We pray. We say the things that have been truly bothering us and then we become self-aware. We refrain from doing the same?things that has been pulling us down.The journey to Emmaus truly illustrates for us our own journey. Many of us journey as if we are alone, so we are filled with fear and stress. We think that we must carry the burden of the world and that no one can understand or emphatize with us. What did the disciples do on their journey? they spoke about what took place, listened to what others said, trying to understand what truly happened after that great tragedy in Jerusalem when Jesus suffered and died on the?cross. Their expectations for this man were filled with scandal and disappointments, they were confused because they thought He is truly a savior. Yes, the Journey to Emmaus happened so many years ago, but it is still relatable. Oftentimes, we create our own heroes because we are in awe of our expectations towards that person. I think, specially now we cling to one person to keep our flickering hope and faith alive. When, that person did not meet our expectations, or we see them for who they truly are, we get disappointed and it adds to our stress and fear until these fears and stress creates a complicated layer and it may distract us from our true purpose in life: To be a compassionate and humble disciple of Christ.
There are three things that moved the hearts of the disciples, and also our own hearts. Let me tell you about the three www?s?namely Who are we, what have we become ,and where are we going?
Who are we? As beloved children of God, we bear his image and likeness. We are, in God?s own mysterious way, beloved children of God who are called to be members of the religious family of the CRM. We bear a special call to live this life. Our Founders were captivated by the love of God and their call and?what they needed to do was clear to them . We are Clerics Regular Minor. This means, as the Cardinal said, that we are concerned not to just copy our founders, but to live and believe in this time and where we find ourselves now. We live our lives in a special way as we encounter Christ as vowed religious. We live our lives in the imitation of Christ through the Paschal Mystery.
What have we become? Many have become Followers, disciples, educators, workers in the vineyard, and evangelists. Some have died as martyrs, some will die like mystics. Some, in their imitation of Christ, have become everything for the sake of the kingdom and have striven to paschalize the mystery within our lives. Paschalize means to give purpose and deeper meaning to our existence. Our purpose is not just to eat, drink and be merry. Our greatest purpose, and what we must become every day, is to become a testament, a witness to?Christ who is alive, risen and in our midst. We are called not to be separated or to be alone. We are called not to lord it over others, not to be in conflict or regionalistic with our conferrers from different cultures, but rather we are called to be on fire and to preach the word of God in our lives through our witnessing. We must become more like Christ, who is true God and true man. We must ask Christ to strengthen our hearts so as to avoid sin. The theme of our General Diet must touch our hearts, ?A?contrite and humble heart, O god, you will not spurn?. Ongoing conversion enrich us and our outlook as we strive to connect with the Spirit.
Where are we going? These two weeks have proven to be grace filled times for all of us. We spoke together, as one family, and exchanged ideas, heard stories of our brotherhood from our various delegations and experienced the expertise of many of our confreres. I hope we see clearly that our lives must be rooted in humility. Service is a form of humility. No one can serve genuinely if one is always?in the position of entitlement. Our fourth vow must always be invoked. Today we read the Gospel taken from St. Mathew about the washing of the feet. This reminds us of Holy Thursday. The day of the priestly consecration. This also reminds us of our ritual in the solemn profession, the washing of feet. Reaching out to those in need, especially those who are little.
One thing must be emphasized and it is the need to wash each others feet. Instead of condemning one another for our imperfections. We must be quick to carry the bucket of water and basin, to wash not only the hands, but the feet that become tired from the travel. We always take the position of the slaves, of those who are called to be little. This is one reason that we can reflect on why we are called Minor and not major. We are called to embrace the position of how we can give ourselves to one another and not ?What I can get from the other?? Our brotherhood is not about what we will get, but how we can serve.?It is not about what we will wear, but how we can divest ourselves to give away our clothes. We must become lite in the journey and always be ready to bend down and wash the master?s feet. We must always be ready to serve the Lord as He comes. Let us take this role, brothers. Let us always expectingly wait for the coming of our lord. Our waiting, however, is not passive. We must be ready to tell Him our story and to be open to listen so that our hearts may always be on fire. ?Our hearts are restless until they rest in HIM?.
Brothers, I wish to thank you all for your patience and hard work. The travel to Emmaus, after all, has taken place and bore fruit. May this walk we had continue, but with much zeal and vision. May we be brave enough to challenge ourselves to greater growth.
May our General Diet not remain as decrees, or?words, or just beautiful sayings. May we always do as we preach so we may be the servant of all. We, as religious, are called in a special way to be the Lord?s greatest friend. Let us be quick to serve one another and the people he gave us to serve. Let this be our sharing. May the breaking of the bread not remain just a meal, but rather a sharing. Amen