Be the light, by being yourselves, for others. This was the challenge thrown by Fr. Joel Liwanag, SJ, to the faculty and staff of the school at the missioning mass celebrated on August 12.
Comparing the current times to one of darkness, Fr. Joel called on all to accept this and find ways to be a light to brighten the world. “We live in a world that is filled with so much uncertainty, and because of that, with so much fear, with so much anxiety, with so much darkness. Uncertainty leaves us in the dark. We may not like it, but this is our world, our world today, a world of uncertainty, a world of suffering, a world of darkness,” he bared.
He then challenged all to be light despite finding oneselves covered in darkness, struggling, afraid, anxious and desolate. How to be light? “We can be light by being ourselves. Not by being like anyone else, but by being ourselves, by searching deep within us and allowing the light that is there to shine forth,” he shared.
Stressing that there was no need to compare oneself to colleagues or others, Fr. Joel added, “You do not need to be like the others. You only need to be yourself because that is where you will find the light. The Lord says, “YOU are the light of the world.” You! That’s a very important word. You! Not he, not she, not they! You! You are the light of the world.”
He then added that each one was different and that they needed to “find that light deep within” as this had been entrusted exclusively to each individual, a light that only that person can give. And while that light may be small up against this world of darkness, this can create an impact on those entrusted to each one’s care. “The flicker of light that we bring will be that which will make a difference in their lives,” Fr. Joel stressed.
With everyone doing his or her share of being a light for others, the collective work of all who pass on this light will be enough to make the world shine. “That’s how the world shines, my dear friends. By passing on light. By allowing ourselves to be light in the world.”
Fr. Joel then reminded everyone about the source of this light and how this should spur everyone on. Though the light that one passes may be a flicker or small, its source is powerful, bright and one that never turns off. “Remember: our light, ultimately, comes from God, the source of all light.”
He reminded all that this was our mission: to pass on God’s light. “Because we allow God’s light to pass through the prism of our life, the world becomes not just brighter, but also more colorful, making it a happier place to be in.”
School President Fr. Manny Uy, SJ then presided over the missioning rite as he called on all to be bearers of the light given to all. “Walk always as a bearer of this light and keep the flame of faith alive in your heart. Go and share this light with all our students, all the people that we meet. You are the salt of the earth. Go with the power of Jesus Christ to transform the earth and renew it. Be empowered in the name of Our Lord.”
Celebrating mass at 1AM from the Sacred Heart Church in Edinburgh, Scotland, Fr. Joel’s mass was shared with the school via zoom. Fr. Joel clarified that though the mass was shared through zoom, the celebration wasn’t virtual, but a real one.
Among those who were present were
- Fr. Ernie Javier, SJ, patriarch, pillar and past president of the school who is celebrating his 70th year as a priest this year
- Jack Huang, member of the school’s Board of Trustees
- Regan King, President of the SHS-Ateneo de Cebu Alumni Association
- Fr. Jem Guevara SJ who was celebrating his birthday (August 12)
- Mdm. Annie Abucay, Sr. High School Principal who is celebrating her birthday on August 13.
- Bro. Patrick Echevarria, SJ, a former regent at the school
- Bro. Rico Adapon, SJ, formerly with the Campus Ministry Office and faculty
- Engr. Siegfried Sia, President of the Parents Teachers Association