A complex and changing world challenges us to discern the continuing presence and action of God and to respond faithfully, and effectively to this presence as we read the signs of the times. Our image of the church greatly influence the way we do ministry. As fruit of my reflection, sapyawan can be theologically purified as a new theological symbol in building BEC specially in St Vincent Ferrer Parish in Saysain, Bagac, Bataan. Most of the faithful’s work is fishing and it is during summer time that they prepare for the great harvest of fish.
The fishermen needs a monthlong preparation of the things they need, from making many buya which wil be soon submerged in the water; then the fishermen patiently wait for the fishes to lay eggs which will eventually be caught. The PCP II envisions an inculturated spirituality, which gives me an inspiration to look sapyawan as a symbol in our ministry which will be of great help in building BEC in the area because the people have an experience of what sapyawan is; it is not only their work but it is their way of life- it is their life. As a response to PCP II’s vision to intigrate the faith of the people in their daily life, the symbol of sapyawan suggests atleast thee implications for persons in Christian Minsitry in both ministerial priesthood and lay partners. First, the activity greatly deals with Human Experience. Sapyawan is a human experience where group of people gather together to achieve a goal and so is BEC building, where experiences of the faithful is of great importance because it is where we shape our ministry. Just like sapyawan, BEC also aims for the common vision and a shared direction that the people may experience the reign of God and salvation of human race might come to pass. Second, sapyawan entails communal faith experience. The fishermen’s life is not that easy because their job keeps their family anxious all the time.
At times, they go to the deeper part of the sea for a better catch. There are chances that they are caught in bad weather which always worries their families. It is also enduring and dangerous becuase they risks their lives each day for the sake of their livelihood and the health of their families.
There is also no assurance that whenever they go for sapyawan they will have a great catch. They are always under the mercy of God. There are times that they will have no catch, but they still hope that some other day, they will have a great harvest. What is important to them is to be back home to their families safe and sound.
BEC building have also a similarity with their experience. There are times that as we do the mission entrusted to us, there are times that we feel we haveachieved our goal but there are also trying times that we feel we failed to do what we ought to do. This implies that when we go for our ministry, we are encouraged to trust in the mercy of God because our ministry is not ours but it is His. The thing that we can hope for is that there will a new day coming for us to continue our ministry and what is important is we have our community as support system which their faith urge their members towards solidarity with one another.
Third, the fishermen who go for sapyawan have their own roles to do. There is a leader of the group who drives the fishing boat, an aryador, and tagaasiwas. Each of them have their own expertice and their own expertice only leads to one goal. On the other hand, the PCP II envisions a church in communion who participates in the mission to anounce the good news of the reign of God. As church in communion, each and everyone is given a particular gift. In Matthew’s parable of the talents, the master let his servants be in charge of his goods while he is on trip and upon his return, the master assesses the stewardship of his servants. He evaluates each one according on how they have used their talents well. Then, the master rewards his servants according to how each have nurtured his gifts.
He judges the two servants as faithful servants because they have used their talents well while the one who just kept his talent had been given a negative remark. Everyone of the church members is uniquely gifted to be a channel of grace. Donal dMesser states, “Ministry is the function of the church as a whole.
It is God’s gift not first of all to the individual, but to the community of faith, who in turn chooses who should represent it in leadership roles” There are various forms of gift but everything came from one God who is the source of everything. The necessary thing that we do is to recognize our talents, enhance them and make it grow. Every member of the community should be involved just like all the members of the fishermen are all involved in sapyawan.
Being involved also means being diversified. If evryone is involved in the community building, the church will tend to be vastly diverse in function and interactive in nature. There is unity in diversity which involves a diversity of participants united as one. There can be no uniformity in building BEC, What we are reflecting as a community is a shared direction because each community of faith have their owns struggles.
We can learn from the experience of the early Christian communities that they have their own way of addressing their struggle as a community and itis through their struggle that they shape their ministry. Our context always influences our undrstanding of God and the expression ofour faith. What about the mambabakaw? Everything belongs to God… our gifts, talents and even our ministry is not ours.
This gifts and talents are just entrusted to us and on our part is to be responsible in nurturing our gifts and we ought to be channels of God’s grace not only to our fellow Catholics but also to other Christian denominations; to be inclusive rather than exclusive.