Couples for Christ celebrates 25th anniversary
Eucharistic celebration at Saint Pauluskerk
Couples for Christ in the Netherlands celebrated its 25th anniversary on the feast of Christ the King, the 26th of november. This spiritual initiative, originally from the Philippines, is spread in 120 countriesand present in different cities of the Netherlands. In Amsterdam they gather in Saint Pauluskerk for the celebration of the holy Eucharist and to meet each other on sunday afternoon. What is this initiative about?
The mission of CFC
It is the mission of Couples for Christ (CFC) to be the church for the home an the Church for the poor, which means they try to strenghten couples and families and inspire them to live a christian, catholic life. CFC has some 155 members: couples, single men and woman, youth and children. They are involved in the ministries of CFC, such as Couples ministry, Handmaids of the Lord, Servants of the Lord, Singles for Christ, Youth for Christ and Kids for Christ.
The many children that were present in the celebration presented tofgether with adults gifts for the poor during an offertory procession and they came forward as a group to receive a blessing at gthe end of the distribution of holy communion. At the end of the Mass Country Head Melchor M. de Leon held a short speech commemorating these 25 years and the spirit of CFC.
After Mass there was - of course - an extensive photo-session and a meal. During the meal some of the projects were presented CFC supports with their ANCOP-ministry (Answering the Cry of the Poor, photo below).
Fr. Richard Lobo, spiritual adviser of CFC and Fr. Andy Jebarus concelebrated. CFC has a beautiful choir that was present with their liturgical songs.
May God bless CFC and make their apostolate abudnantly fruitful1 Congratulations at this Silver Jubilee!
Goats and sheep
CHRIST THE KING Couples for Christ
Are you a goat or are you a sheep?
Goats don't get off very well in our Dutch or English language: if you are compared to a goat - a “bok” in dutch - it means you have done something stupid, made a mistake, and if you are a scapegoat, you are blamed for everything. In art, the devil is often depicted as a goat with horns and goat's feet. Even in this day's gospel, the goats are not the best, they just did the wrong thing.
So what about the sheep? In our modern languages, sheep do not always have such a good name: if they say you look sheepish, it is not a great compliment; a sheep is called someone who is gullible and "docile sheep" are persons who are not thinking and reflecting themselves but do everything that is expected of them. In real life, sheep are really not always so docile: the shepherd then shoots a clod of earth at their heads with his shepherd's staff to move them in the right direction or he sends the sheepdog after them. Because if a sheep gets lost, it is easy prey for wild animals. And sheep are nice and friendly animals. That too is the image of sheep we meet in Holy Scripture.
In the Bible, sheep are usually positive, although it can also refer to someone who is lost; we all know the image of Jesus as the good shepherd: the sheep listen to his voice and they follow him, says John's gospel, and in this day's responsorial psalm we heard that the Lord cares for us like a shepherd: "The Lord is my shepherd, nothing am I lacking". That is beautiful.
Lost sheep a comfort
What are you: a goat or a sheep? If you're a sheep, that's not so bad but not necessarily only positive either; a sheep can also get lost.
For us, this is actually a comfort: you may well go wrong, wander, go in a wrong direction, but you need not be afraid, the good shepherd, Jesus Christ, will lead you back in the right direction.
How will He judge us?
What is really important for your own life, to be judged by God in a positive way? That is ultimately your good heart that is looking for goodness and truth.
When you try to do in your life what your good heart tells you to do, your life becomes rich and meaningful. The goodness of your heart is an important guide for your life, it will lead you to Jesus.
This is what the gospel tells us today: The sheep at the right hand of the Son of Man, - that is Jesus Christ, the King of glory - did not know that they had given food and drink to their Lord, when they had done some good to their poor fellow man, but they had simply done something good from their good hearts; and neither had the goats known that it was in fact Jesus Christ whom they had refused anything when they had not helped the poor, but they had not acted on the voice of their hearts and their conscience that inspires goodness and mercy in every man.
Today we celebrate the feast of Christ King. You can choose to close your heart to the needs of your neighbour, but then you do not belong to His kingdom; you can also choose to do good, follow your good heart with merciful love towards your fellow man and not shut up in yourself, then you belong to Christ's kingdom and you will be rewarded.
A good heart and a non believer
If someone does not yet believe in God, acting from his or her good heart is a wonderful way to grow in humanity, and if your heart is open and wants to do good then it will also help you discover and love God more. Because faith is not just something of your brain, a faith without good deeds is dead, but faith is also and perhaps above all something of your heart: if you love with selfless love - that is, if you do good things for others without thinking too much about yourself - you are already fully on the right path, the path of Jesus Christ. And I hope and pray that such a person may come to have a personal relationship with Him, the charity and love of his heart is already predisposing him or her for faith.
Let us pray today that Jesus Christ may reign as King in our hearts and in the hearts of every human being.
No one has greater love than He who gave His life for us. Let us make society a little more beautiful through good deeds, acts of love in His spirit.