Working for renewal is one of the most demanding task especially when one is assigned in a very old parish. There is always that hold over of the past which can sometimes become like a brick wall blocking any attempt to disturb the status quo. There is always that sentimentality and nostalgia for the things of old that seems to tie one’s feet to traditions and customs of a different age with different ideals - practices which are now obsolete and sometimes even obstructive to the newness of life and possibilities engendered by the present age.
If I have to characterize our present generation, especially the generation during this age of transition, I would compare them to the windows of our Church-buildings. Like windows they are neither “in” nor are they “out” - not truly inside and not truly outside of the Church and its new way of doing things. There seems to be a kind of ambivalence in our decisions and in our programs which makes it even harder for an observer to search for underlying principles. Jesus who was also placed in this kind dilemma declared that one “could not put old wine into new wine skin or patch an old cloth with a new one.” He is in a way indicating that a radical shift is necessary for the good news to take effect.
As we start this advent season and as we fold up our sleeves to begin our task to implement our parish programs, let us be reminded of this attitude. We have worked so far, and we have done so much to take the implementation lightly. We have studied the Vatican II documents together to give us solid basis for growth. We have studied the documents of PCP II to give us a strong foundational principles to push us for renewal. We have made and reflected upon our vision-mission statements that will serve as our guiding stars for reform so that we could become authentic in our Christian duties and witness.
All these things we have done together. What is lacking is a spur of imagination and a willingness to commit to change. Oh, in this age of renewal, if I could only have my way, I will make the lack of imagination a crime, and the lack of willingness to commit to change defined as aberrant behavior.
The Advent of 1995 comes at the crossroads of our life. We could not doodle around for long in ambivalence. We either have to hot or cold. There is no room for lukewarmness, for Advent has come and a new era has begun!