~~~~~~~~主曆2004 年九月號 September Edition~~~~~


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Evangelization is to help people find their way home and to seek intimacy with our loving Abba of the universe.

In the painting of Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt, the younger son returned home in utter poverty. He d sold all of his belongings except a dagger around his waist. The dagger was given to him by his father. It reminded him of his sonship to his father. He never sold the dagger even in his destitution. This was what gave him the courage to turn back from the distant countries and went home.

We were all given a special spiritual stamp through the grace of baptism. This could be our dagger from God. We may not see or feel it but it could take acts of human kindness for us to recognize it. In Pope John Paul Helped Him Make Space for God , the act of changing to a Pope s room was the dagger that touched Jeff s heart and made him realize that he was a beloved son. In the Father Bill Irwin s story, being able to live in dignity was the dagger of home coming for people dying of AIDS when they could live out the rest of their lives in the AIDS House set up by Fr. Bill Irwin and Michael Phair.

When the elder brother misunderstood the unconditional love of the Father and refused to enter the house to celebrate the return of his younger brother, the Father came out from the house and talked to the brother. Likewise the Theology on Tap program is reaching out to the crowd when the elder brothers among us misunderstand the teachings of the Church. It is an invitation back to the house of the Father. Will the elder brothers heed the call? There is no answer in the parable and in Rembrandt s painting. It is an open challenge.

Drinking from The Cup in Eucharist is accepting God s covenant. Drinking our cup of salvation together in a community is giving each other a dagger of kinship, a sense of coming home to a circle of trusted friends with Jesus being the leader 1. It is drawing people together in the spirit of poverty and beatitudes.

Using The Cup as a metaphor in his book Can you drink the CUP? , Fr. Henri Nouwen invites us to drink our cup of salvation by holding our cup of life ( tasting and reflecting on our joy and sorrow ), lifting it ( sharing our life , look each other in the eyes, celebrate the truth that the wounds of our individual lives, which seem intolerable when lived alone, become sources of healing when we live them as part of a fellowship of mutual care ² ), and slowly drinking or emptying it to the bottom with all the dregs ( accepting all the happiness and setbacks in our life fully in memory of the death and resurrection of Jesus ).

When Jesus was praying over his cup of agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, he asked his disciples to keep watch over him but they fell asleep. It was only when the angel appeared before him and comforted him, then Jesus was calm and stoic from there on. He was ready to suffer through his Passion and drank it to the bottom until it s fulfilled.

Dr. M. D'Ambrosio ( professor of Theology, Catholic University of Dallas ) gave a presentation on Personal Prayer - Pathway to Joy. During his speech, he emphasized on the importance of dedicating regular time alone with God; quoted on Jesus' prayers at the Garden of Gethsemane, and that the apostles would not stay with him for one hour.

When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, "So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26, 40-41)

By reflecting on this message, we can see why Dr. D Ambrosio suggested that we dedicate one hour each day to keep watch for Jesus; or we can choose to reach out to others. We can be the special angel who appears to give hope to the desolate, give them strength to get up on their own, and be able to walk on home again.

We could all be prodigal sons and daughters struggling to find our way home at different points in time over our entire life. We can choose to go it alone or we can go in fellowship of true camaraderie. Until we can demonstrate our cup of salvation in a circle of openness, trust, friendship, and stewardship of each other, we cannot draw others to come along with us on our spiritual journey home. Evangelization might just become an empty ideal.

The Spiritual Express Editorial Team




  1. A neighbourhood parish has a crucifix with a circle around Jesus.  He who lays down his life for his friends is out there inviting parishioners to form a circle of friends and to be stewards of each other on their journey home.  Will people heed His call?
  2. “Can you drink the CUP?” by Fr. Henri J.M. Nouwen  p.56-57



How do you see evangelization yourself?  Please feel free to share your opinion with us by writing to us at ccpesn@catholic-church.org .  May be you can help us start a new column called Reader’s Comment with your feedback.  Thank you.












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