"Awa, Unawa, Gawa"
The Filipino Experience of Mercy
DAY ONE: THE ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS (Luke 24:13-35)
Jesus the stranger walks with two distraught disciples. He listens to their stories. He retells their stories. He breaks bread with them. Jesus is the portrait of the merciful God who
seeks His friends and journeys with them. No accusations. No blaming. There’s only “awa-unawa-gawa”. The forsaken one enters into the mindset of the confused ones. The wounded
one consoles the afflicted ones.
In Day One, we will listen to human stories and we will listen to how Jesus retells our stories. We will listen to His Word. We will break bread with Him.
DAY TWO: THE EXPERIENCE OF COMMUNION (Luke 24:36-47)
After their encounter with Jesus, the two disciples decided to go back to Jerusalem and found the eleven gathered together. Jesus appears to them and blesses them with peace. The mercy
of Jesus extends beyond their fears and doubts. He shows them his hands and his feet. He eats the fish that they have offered. Again, no signs of irritation or distress for having been
betrayed and abandoned by his followers, there’s only “awa-unawa-gawa”. He breaks the barriers of closed doors and hearts. He crosses the threshold of despair and forgiveness.
In Day Two,we will try to examine our life as a “mercified community”. We will plow through the different levels and sectors of our ecclesial relationships and structures.
We will try to study how mercy can open our hearts to the cries of the anguished and how to discover the mercy of God in our human communities.
DAY THREE: THE CHALLENGE OF MISSION (Luke 24:48-49)
“You are witnesses of these things”, Jesus says to his disciples. Beginning from Jerusalem, Jesus is sending them out to preach the gospel of new life and repentance. He assures them of
the abiding presence of the advocate. Once more, there’s only “awa-unawa-gawa” – mercy in action and orientation. Forgiveness restores broken relationships. The disciples are
called and chosen a second time – miserando atque eligendo. The world needs to hear of God’s love. This is the mission. Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom.8:39).
Jesus knew that even those who have not seen him deserve to receive his offering of salvation and his kingdom. The mercy of God reaches out to us – who have not seen and yet have
In Day Three,we will be invited to respond to the call of missionary discipleship. We are all “missionaries of mercy”. More than ever, the world today needs the medicine
of mercy and not the arms of severity, tenderness not prejudice, compassion not indifference. Mercy is not a sentimental feeling. It is a firm commitment to be a neighbor
(“kapwa”) to one another because in the first place, we are the most undeserving beneficiaries of the one who has loved us till the end.
We entrust our conference to Mary, mater misericordiae, whose heart is always attuned to our “perpetual” needs. May she gently show us the tender face of the Father’s mercy
(misericordiae vultus), Jesus her son.