FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
FISHERS OF MEN
September 2, 2010
The gospel reading for today (Luke 5:1-11) joyfully brought me back to the first book I ever wrote, „Fishers of Men.‰ That was in early 1996.
Some years prior to that, a number of brethren had already been asking me to write a book. Just like what many clerics had done regarding their homilies or reflections or news columns, they suggested I just put together my Ugnayan articles. I was reluctant to do that. The simple reason was that, though I had been writing many Ugnayan articles, I did not consider myself an author.
In 1995 I put together a teaching on this gospel passage and gave it to CFC in a number of places. Every time I gave the teaching, my fascination for the passage grew. And the ideas grew as well. On December 17, 1995, I started writing the book, and finished it on February 13, 1996.
That period was a very interesting time in the life of CFC and the world. Here are just some vignettes during the first quarter of 1996:
- Sector Heads were appointed for the first time in Metro Manila.
- We met at our home at Alpadi with Archbishop Dean (Doctrine of the Faith), Bishop Gregorio (Laity), Fr. Bobby la Torre and Fr. Jerry Bitoon, regarding our application for CBCP recognition (which was later granted).
- Premium gas price was raised from 9 pesos to 9.50 per liter.
- A whole plane (Grandair) was chartered by SFC to fly delegates to its conference in Davao.
- 200 gay couples were legally wed in the first public same-sex ceremony in San Francisco.
- CFC was awarded the Ozanam Award by the Ateneo.
The book contains 3 major sections: (1) Seven principles of evangelization, (2) Seven pitfalls, and (3) Seven elements of our response. The whole book arises out of a verse-by-verse reflection on this gospel passage about the call of Simon by Jesus.
The book is still very much relevant today for the life and mission of CFC-FFL. Its byline says, „An urgent call to proclaim the good news.‰ Well, the call is even more urgent today. I consider this book to be our basic textbook on evangelization. Since every CFC-FFL member is called upon to be an evangelizer, then every CFC-FFL member ought to read this book, and internalize and live out its contents.
20 books and 4 booklets later, I still consider „Fishers of Men‰ as my favorite book. One of the most encouraging comments I received then was from a brother who was a top leader in another country (he still is today), who said: „The pope should read this book!‰ I, of course, did not think so, but the comment was well appreciated anyway.
If someone thinks the pope should have read „Fishers of Men,‰ perhaps you should consider reading it too. If you have already read it, read it again. The teaching here is about the very core of who we are as CFC-FFL and why the Lord raised us. We are an evangelistic and missionary movement. We exist to evangelize.
We need to have a renewed passion for evangelization. The times demand it. The Lord expects it. Perhaps this book can ignite it.
So go and read. Then go and fish!
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