July 01, 2017
July 1, 2017’s Relentless kicked-off in the afternoon with a round of hair-raising, heartfelt, colorful, and lively Praise and Worship that instigated everyone in Smart Araneta Coliseum to sing, dance, wave their flashlights, jump, and toss beach balls around in overwhelming joy of God’s unrelenting love.
To welcome the youth from the Dioceses of Cubao, Manila, Novaliches, Kalookan, Pasig, Parañaque, Malolos, Imus, Antipolo, and San Pablo, the Lord’s Flock youth moderators did a roll call, which caused the youth of each Diocese to make some noise. Rev. Fr. Jade Licuanan, Commissioner of the Archdiocesan Commission on Youth of the Archdiocese of Manila, reminded everyone that no one loves as relentlessly as the Lord before he officially welcomed the youth to the 6th Singles and Youth Faith on Fire (SYFOF) conference, Relentless.
Sis. Techie Rodriguez, Elder, Founder, and Vision Holder of the Lord’s Flock Catholic Charismatic Community, then shared the Lord’s message to her in 2012: “Re-ignite the passion for Christ within the hearts of the youth.” This message catapulted the Lord’s Flock Catholic Charismatic Community to start conducting the Singles and Youth Faith on Fire (SYFOF) conferences. It started with Firestarter (2012), followed by Ablaze (2013), Wildfire (2014), Burning Bush (2015), and Illuminate (2015). In 2016, the Lord’s Flock youth had SYFOF We Are Tour. This time, they brought the conference to different dioceses, schools, and parishes. Since 2012, SYFOF conferences have been held not only in the Philippines, but also in Kuching, Malaysia, Los Angeles and San Francisco, USA, and Uganda, Africa.
After a short video about love, Sis. Mik Flores, Head Servant, Worship Leader, and Speaker of the Lord’s Flock, took center stage and gave a talk entitled “Relentless Love.” She began by differentiating the love of God from human love. Unlike human love, which is conditional, selfish in nature, and gives up when we are no longer happy, God’s love is everlasting, relentlessly pursuing, and consuming everyone (Jer. 31:3). Unlike human love, which loves us because of who we are, God loves us despite of who we are. God does not love us because of our faithfulness, but because of His faithfulness. His love for us is real for He knows everything about us. Nothing can separate us from God’s love (Rom. 8:39). Sometimes, we feel like we lost God but the truth is, God is there and we are the ones who are lost. Just as the father waited for his prodigal son to come home, God is always there, patiently waiting for us to come to Him. Sis. Mik ended her talk by reminding the youth to never give up on love for there is a love that will never give up on us – God’s.
Most Rev. Honesto Ongtioco, Bishop of the Diocese of Cubao, inspired the youth by saying that the youth was not only the future of the land, just as Dr. Jose Rizal once said, but also the present of the land. Also, the youth was also a present, a gift, to the land and the church. He motivated the youth to be like the Bible’s Good Samaritan, who stopped and attended to the needs of his neighbor. He touched the heart of the youth by telling them that God loves all with an everlasting love, and that the cross was not just a symbol of pain and suffering, but of true and total self-giving love. He reiterated this by likening God to the Parable of the Lost Sheep’s Shepherd, who left the 99 in search for the missing one. The Lord will not stop searching until He finds us all. In times of troubles, focus not on problems, but on God who loves you relentlessly.
After Bishop Ongtioco’s empowering talk, the Dulaang T.U.P.A. presented an Evangelistic Skit entitled “Rescue.” It was about a young man, who got separated from the Lord due to various worldly problems. The play had the youth on the edge of their seats as it showed how the Lord suffered, too, as the young man was broken apart by life’s storms. The play melted the hearts of the youth, for the Lord did not only stay with the young man, He also suffered with him, and in the end, His relentless love rescued the young man from sin.
Next, a game entitled “Quote It” commenced. The youth was asked to identify whether the quote came from the Bible, a movie, or a song by making the respective hand gestures that corresponded to the three. Judging from everyone’s wild hand signals and excited loud cheering, all enjoyed the game. Then, a short round of Praise and Worship had the youth singing about the Lord’s unrelenting love, and how His love is alive in us all with everything they have, as they jumped for joy and tossed beach balls.
Afterwards, four Lord’s Flock youth bearing nuggets, bite-sized testimonies about God’s relentless love, bared their souls and hearts to the assembly by sharing about their love story with the Lord. Bro. Nilo San Buenaventura, shared how the Lord gave him a second chance by healing him from a fatal stroke last year even after he stopped serving the Lord. Sis. Regina Uy, recounted how the Lord’s love saved her when she was on the brink of suicide due to hopelessness and depression brought about by family problems. Sis. Mary Ann Uy, imparted how the Lord’s unabating love picked her up and placed her back in the community after she deserted God by sinning and putting her worldly dreams before Him. Sis. Grace Santos, proclaimed how God’s unrelenting love miraculously touched people to help provide for her chemotherapy and served as her strength as she fought her battle with breast cancer.
Filled to the brim with nuggets and immensely moved by God’s love, the youth enthusiastically participated in the Workshop, where each of them took a partner and answered questions like, “What is your greatest fear about love?” and “Do you think God’s love can take that fear away?” There were four questions so, by the end of the workshop, all of them met four new friends.
Bro. Al Flores, the New Generation Head Steward for International and a Lord’s Flock Speaker, walked everyone through “Word on the Street” segment, which tackled the youth’s frequently asked questions about the Lord. Bro. Al asked 12 questions and he, along with Rev. Fr. Jade Licuanan, Bro. Kent Galido, Bro. Jolo Baclig, Sis. Angel Angeles, Bro. Erin Troy Flores, and Juno Totanes, answered the questions.
Followed by a video camera, the moderators went around and asked several people in the coliseum, “How was your Relentless experience so far?” Beyond elated, everyone animatedly expressed how ecstatic they were in various ways. The New Generation then conveyed how there are so many ways to love God, how He forgave them, and how wild God’s love is, by wonderfully executed hip-hop dance numbers. Their obvious joy as they breakdanced was so infectious, the assembly cheered, and joy was palpable in the coliseum.
Before the concert of worship songs started, a touching video reminded everyone that there is a love, a genuine love that existed before time and can overcome suffering. This is true love, pure, alive, victorious, everlasting, unconditional, and truly relentless. The concert opened with PSALM Ministry’s very solemn rendition of Hillsong’s Hosanna. It was followed by a series of worship songs that had the youth jumping wildly for joy; waving their flashlights; standing on their seats; and, singing praises at the top of their voices, as God’s love relentlessly buffeted Smart Araneta Coliseum.
After some time, the Blessed Sacrament was enthroned on stage. The youth knelt before the Lord in reverence as they silently returned his relentless love with all of their hearts. After communing with God in the Blessed Sacrament, the youth rallied together; raised their glow sticks with fervor; renewed determination; and, unwavering conviction to set the world on fire for God, promising to take God’s relentless love with them wherever they go.
Straight from Rome, His Eminence Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, thanked the young people of the world and told them that, “The love of God is relentless. Walang makakapigil sa pagmamahal ng Diyos. Guguho ang lahat. Masisira ang lahat. Ang pagmamahal ng Diyos ay hindi mawawala.” The youth cheered in agreement. “The purpose of life is not something, but someone, Jesus, because He made us the meaning of His life.” The Cardinal said and he ended his brief talk by telling the youth to start their relationship with God young, and to pass on Jesus to the next generation.
Invigorated by the Cardinal’s words, and the afternoon they spent floating on God’s relentless love, about 15,000 youth headed out of the coliseum, full of conviction to share God’s unrelenting love to everyone they meet.