Saving One’s Life

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The WORD in other words (2016) by Fr. Alex Muaña, SVD (South Africa)

Friday 32nd Week in Ordinary Time

Photo: Holy Spirit Chapel, Divine Word Seminary Tagaytay City, Philippines

When we listened to the reading from the Gospel (Luke, 17), perhaps some of us were touched by verse 33: “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it”.

These words certainly fit well with the story of the lay leader Peter To Rot who was brutally killed by the Japanese soldiers during World War II because of his unflinching dedication to spreading the Good News to the local people.

At first, the Japanese army did not arrest him, because only the priests were rounded up and deported, not lay people. But eventually he was apprehended because he continued to gather the community for prayer and made sure the catechism was taught to them.

Peter To Rot could therefore have saved his life by doing nothing more than the others. But he sensed he could help his fellow Christians, knowing very well that if he played a leading role, he might have to suffer for that. Had he remained inactive, he would have saved his life. He played a leading role, a role that led to him sacrificing his life.

The story of Peter To Rot is a looking back at past history. That story also helps us to look forward to the future. What is our vision for the Church of tomorrow? How do we see the Church of tomorrow?

It will surely be a Church where the laity will take a much more active role than it did in the past. The Church of tomorrow will be a Church where every member of the community is invited to play his and her role more actively.


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