‘Give self in the name of service,’ bishop urges laity

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Bishop-emeritus Teodoro Bacani

MANILA, June 17, 2013—Genuine and sincere servant leadership can only be achieved if people would be willing to sacrifice and offer themselves in service to others, a Catholic bishop said on Saturday.

Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani said that openness and willingness to sacrifice completes the act of service and makes it an effective agent of change in a society.

He noted the sacrifices of Christ, who, in his earthly journey, devoted Himself in giving service to mankind and saving them from sin even at the expense of giving up His own life.

“You, too, must serve the people of the world even at the sacrifice of your own life. Every act of service must always be a gift of self. It cannot be a gift simply of an act, but a gift of self,” he said during his homily at the closing mass of the Servant Leadership in the Year of Faith convention held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

Bacani said a gift has no meaning if does not come from the heart in the same way that service is meaningless if it’s not done out of love.

He urged the people to do the same and imitate Christ’s work to attain the true meaning of service.

The offering of the body and blood does not only symbolize the salvation of mankind. It also symbolizes the belongingness of mankind to His divinity and the extension of His servant leadership throughout the world, the bishop noted.

Bacani said that Christian leadership is a unique kind of service as it roots from repentance of one’s humble and contrite heart.

“Christian leadership is a repentant leadership. We are justified neither by any works nor accomplishments of ours. We are justified by accepting Jesus Christ in our hearts, by accepting Him repentantly in our lives,” he said.

Urging people to live as servant leaders, Bacani gave this advice to the laity: “[Don’t take advantage of others. Render them loving service], then you will be able to exercise the kind of leadership that Christ exercised.”

“Be like the Lord and support one another so that we may build a communion of servant leaders,” Bacani added.

He also noted the need for most Filipino officials to be bold in standing for the principles they believe in, adding that hope must fill the Filipino community because of the unceasing presence of the Lord.

“Why do we have to serve others? Because we are servants of the king and our king showed a kingship like this. (In return), we can show our leadership by the service we do for others,” he said. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)

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