Holiness in the Christian Community

CEBU CITY—Fray Ian Anthony Espartero, OAR, President of the Secretariat of Formation and Vocation Ministry, started the second week of the Provincial Chapter with the celebration of the Eucharist wherein he was the main celebrant and homilist.

In his homily, he first stressed that the call to holiness is a universal call to all Christians and that the growth of holiness always happens within the context of the Christian community.

He developed this theme by first asking what it means to be holy, then defined holiness as desiring the good of others in love. He cited the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states, “Charity is the soul of the holiness to which all are called: it governs, shapes and perfects all the means of sanctification.” This decision to become holy, he added, has an eschatological effect as it gears man towards that joy to come. This invitation to holiness is also seen in the Gospel of the day where Jesus grants eternal life to the sheep who have done good to others and sends to eternal damnation to the goats who have done nothing to others.

Second, holiness also entails a dedication to the Christian mission. He quoted Pope John Paul II who said that “there is no genuine holiness apart from a radical orientation toward the spiritual and material good of others.” And in Redemptoris Missio, the same Pope emphasized that “there is no holiness with mission.” Yet this dedication to the Christian mission must come with an attitude of joy in spreading the Gospel. The joy of the Gospel would tell us to bring this holiness to other people.

Finally, he concluded saying we are all called to holiness and it is our companions who will direct us to this holiness. Hence, holiness occurs within the Christian community. This universal call to holiness and mission is meant to be fostered within the community. He challenged then the capitulars to make their communities places where all can grow in holiness by devotion, good example, generosity, and encouragement.

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