At the risk of being called Father G instead of Father Soc, I am going to tell you about the significance of the letter ‘G’ in my life.

Funny, but I hear many of the young children I deal with occasionally speak of the three ‘Gs’ they discuss in their Science class. They proudly tell me about the “go, grow, and glow” foods. I personally did not study the basic food groups in that manner when I was in grade school. Our class discussed the carbohydrates group, the protein foods, the fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs, other dairy products, and fats. These food groups were discussed independently of each other. We were told to eat something from all these food groups for good nutrition and growth.

Comparing it to the children’s simplified “G” version, I suppose the older method sounds a little more complicated and, therefore, harder to recall and retain. Now, children just ask me simply over dinner, “Father, is suman a glow or go food?”

Remembering to eat a balanced diet is easier if we remind ourselves about the go, grow and glow foods. It is definitely easier to comprehend why we have to eat chicken or beef- it is a grow food. If we want to grow, we must eat our grow food. We need the fruits and vegetable groups to make us glow. Since all children like glow-in-the-dark toys, imagine the wonder, awe, and power they feel they will possess if they eat all these glow foods.

“G” is indeed a good letter to work on. I may not have said it yet, but it really is one of my favorite letters. Maybe because the first word that comes to my mind when I hear or see the letter “G” is God, then good, Gospel, great, grand, grace – words that in themselves are superlatives that describe the ideals of life.

These past few months, one other favorite thing I have been working on is the preparation for the launching of the Jubilee Year. I am all excited about this event which will happen on Sunday, December 1, 1996. I am happy and excited because of my own three Gs. I want to share these Gs with you, hoping we will remember what they stand for together. Together, we will remember what we so happily celebrate.

First is gratitude. It is a time for thanksgiving. There are so many things to be grateful for. There is the presence of Jesus all these years. We have to be thankful for getting to know Jesus through the Spanish friars and the 400 years of our Christian faith being nurtured. We have to be grateful for the many blessings we have received in our lives. There are many, and I am not just talking about the personal blessings but the blessings we have received as families and as a community of people. We have to be grateful for the many times we have learned to be happy for others, seeing them so blessed. If we have indeed learned to share in other people’s successes by not begrudging them or being jealous, then that in itself gives us great reason for rejoicing. What a great grace to be grateful for.

Second is goodbye. Certainly, the past is past, and what is finished is done and gone. We must say goodbye most especially to the mistakes of the past. Definitely, we must bid goodbye to the selfishness we have shown our neighbors in the years that passed. We must bid “adieu to all the attitudes and gestures we have had that are very far from the standards Christ has set for us. We must even say goodbye to the division we have started, experienced and lived out as Christians between and among the many churches established. After all, we call ourselves Christians. Does that not imply that we have one great reality, one great person we all have in common? This one person, God-Man, can act as a true binding force among all of us. Why be divided, then? Goodbye to all the many sects; let us be united in one God.

Finally, there is the third G word: Go! We must go out and tell the whole world about the beauty and mystery of our faith. We must go and share the good news, the Gospel of love. We must go and make disciples of all nations. This celebration, this Jubilee, is but a momentary vacation. We will stop awhile and celebrate, but we must go on. After being grateful for all the blessings, and saying goodbye to all the mistakes and sins of the past, we must go. There is work to be done. We can no longer be proud of being the only Christian country for 400 years in Asia. It is something to worry about. If we are still the only Christian nation in Asia, it does not speak well of us. It implies that we have not done our homework. We have not spread the knowledge of Christ and all that He stood for.

What are we waiting for? Yes, let us celebrate. Let us glow with gratitude for all the blessings we have received. Let us grow from here on and say “goodbye” to our sins and past mistakes. Armed with the confidence of a richly blessed life, having learned from our past mistakes and our limiting non-Christian attitudes, there is nowhere else to go but forward. Let us glow with gratitude. Say your goodbyes to all the negativity and grow. Then, please, go, go, go!

Spread the word, spread the joy, and spread the love of Jesus in Jubilee.

Jesus Our Light

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