Sunday, January 21, 2018

#BreakingNews Gov. Police Attack Churches in Dem. Rep. of Congo by firing on Parishioners - Please Pray - FULL TEXT

FULL TEXT Official Release of the Dominican Order: 
The Dominican brothers working at St Dominic Church, Limete, Kinshasa, DR Congo were attacked together with their parishioners on Sunday, December 31, 2017. They were attacked by security forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo made up of soldiers and the police.
The Catholic bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo, supported by a coalition of civil society groups, called for peaceful demonstrations after Sunday Mass on December 31, 2017, to denounce a new electoral reform law that came into effect on December 25, and to mark the first-year anniversary of the 31 December 2016 political agreement, facilitated by the bishops.
President Kabila, whose mandate ended in December 2016, had agreed to set an election date by the end of 2017 to ease tensions in the mineral-rich country. However, the country’s election commission has now said that the vote cannot be held until December 2018. Critics accuse Kabila of postponing elections to maintain his grip on power, causing tensions to increase and provoking violence and deadly street demonstrations across the country since the end of 2016.
The government refused permits for the December 31 demonstrations for what it called security reasons, yet more than 160 churches in many parts of the country participated in the call.  Police responded with teargas, rubber bullets and even live ammunition. At least seven people were killed and many others seriously injured. Many were also arrested.
Several police came to St Dominic’s Parish in Kinshasa, run by our Dominican friars, and fired on parishioners in the church grounds and even inside the church. One woman was shot in the forehead by a live bullet, others in their legs, and a friar, Jean Nkongolo, was shot in the face at close range by a rubber bullet.

Another demonstration was planned for Sunday, January 21.
Let us show solidarity with our brothers and sisters in praying for justice and peace in the DRC.
(21 January 2018)
Source; http://www.op.org/en/content/attack-dominican-church-kinshasa-dr-congo

Pope Francis "Jesus continues to walk on our streets. He knocks today, as he did yesterday, on our doors and hearts..." Homily FULL TEXT + Video in Peru

Peru Journey Mass at Las Palmas airbase Lima Full Text
Pope Francis' homily at the Las Palmas airbase in Lima “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you” (Jon 3:2).  With these words the Lord spoke to Jonah and directed him to set out towards that great city, which was about to be destroyed for its many evils.  In the Gospel, we also see Jesus setting out towards Galilee to preach the Good News (cf. Mk 1:14).  Both readings reveal a God who turns his gaze towards cities past and present. The Lord sets out on a journey: to Nineveh, to Galilee, to Lima, to Trujillo and Puerto Maldonado… the Lord comes here.  He sets out to enter into our individual, concrete histories.  We celebrated this not long ago: he is Emmanuel, the God who wants to be with us always.  Yes, here in Lima, or wherever you are living, in the routine of your daily life and work, in the education to hope that you impart to your children, amid your aspirations and anxieties; within the privacy of the home and the deafening noise of our streets.  It is there, along the dusty paths of history, that the Lord comes to meet each of you.
         Sometimes what happened to Jonah can happen to us.  Our cities, with their daily situations of pain and injustice, can leave us tempted to flee, to hide, to run away.  Jonah, and we, have plenty of excuses to do so.  Looking at the city, we can start by saying that there are “citizens who find adequate means to develop their personal and family life – and that pleases us – yet the problem is the many “non-citizens”, “the half-citizens” or “urban remnants”[1].  They are found along our roadsides, living on the fringes of our cities, and lacking the conditions needed for a dignified existence.  It is painful to realize that among these “urban remnants” all too often we see the faces of children and adolescents.  We look at the face of the future.  
         Seeing these things in our cities and our neighbourhoods – which should be places of encounter, solidarity and joy – we end up with what we might call the Jonah syndrome: we lose heart and want to flee (cf. Jon 1:3).  We become indifferent, and as a result, anonymous and deaf to others, cold and hard of heart. When this happens, we wound the soul of our people.  As Benedict XVI pointed out, “the true measure of humanity is essentially determined in relationship to suffering and to the sufferer…  A society unable to accept its suffering members and incapable of helping to share their suffering and to bear it inwardly through ‘com-passion’ is a cruel and inhuman society”.[2]
         After they arrested John, Jesus set out to Galilee to proclaim the Gospel of God.  Unlike Jonah, Jesus reacted to the distressing and unjust news of John’s arrest by entering the city; he entered Galilee and from its small towns he began to sow the seeds of a great hope: that the Kingdom of God is at hand, that God is among us.  The Gospel itself shows us the joy and the rippling effect that this brought about: it started with Simon and Andrew, then James and John (cf. Mk 1:14-20).  It then passed through Saint Rose de Lima, Saint Turibius, Saint Martin de Porres, Saint Juan Macías, Saint Francisco Solano, down to us, proclaimed by that cloud of witnesses that have believed in him.  It has come to us in order to act once more as a timely antidote to the globalization of indifference.  In the face of that Love, one cannot remain indifferent.
         Jesus invites his disciples to experience in the present a taste of eternity: the love of God and neighbour.  He does this the only way he can, God’s way, by awakening tenderness and love of mercy, by awakening compassion and opening their eyes to see reality as God does.  He invites them to generate new bonds, new covenants rich in eternal life.
         Jesus walks through the city with his disciples and begins to see, to hear, to notice those who have given up in the face of indifference, laid low by the grave sin of corruption.  He begins to bring to light many situations that had killed the hope of his people and to awaken a new hope.  He calls his disciples and invites them to set out with him.  He calls them to walk through to the city, but at a different pace; he teaches them to notice what they had previously overlooked, and he points out new and pressing needs.  Repent, he tells them.   The Kingdom of Heaven means finding in Jesus a God who gets involved with the lives of his people.  He gets involved and involves others not to be afraid to make of our history a history of salvation (cf. Mk 1:15, 21).
         Jesus continues to walk on our streets.  He knocks today, as he did yesterday, on our doors and hearts, in order to rekindle the flame of hope and the aspiration that breakdown can be overcome by fraternity, injustice defeated by solidarity, violence silenced by the weapons of peace.  Jesus continues to call us; he wants to anoint us with his Spirit so that we too can go out to anoint others with the oil capable of healing wounded hopes and renewing our way of seeing things.
         Jesus continues to walk and to awaken hope, a hope that frees us from empty associations and impersonal analyses.  He encourages us to enter like leaven into where we are, where we live, into every corner of our daily life.  The kingdom of heaven is among you, he tells us.  It is there wherever we strive to show a little tenderness and compassion, wherever we are unafraid to create spaces for the blind to see, the paralyzed to walk, lepers to be cleansed and the deaf to hear (cf. Lk 7:22), so that all those we had given up for lost can enjoy the resurrection.  God will never tire of setting out to meet his children.  How will we enkindle hope if prophets are lacking?  How will we face the future if unity is lacking?  How will Jesus reach all those corners if daring and courageous witnesses are lacking?
         Today the Lord calls each of you to walk with him in the city, in your city.  He invites you to become his missionary disciple, so that you can become part of that great whisper that wants to keep echoing in the different corners of our lives: Rejoice, the Lord is with you!   
Text Share from Vatican News - Image Share from Vatican.va

#PopeFrancis "The joy of the Gospel is for all people: no one can be excluded”. FULL TEXT to Bishops + Video


Pope Francis speaks to Peru's bishops: Full text
We bring you the full text of Pope Francis' prepared remarks delivered to the bishops of Peru in the Archbishop's Residence in Lima on the final day of his Apostolic Visit. Meeting with the Peruvian Bishops
Lima, Archbishop’s House
Sunday, 21 January 2018
Dear Brother Bishops,
         Thank you for the kind words addressed to me by the Cardinal Archbishop of Lima and the President of the Episcopal Conference in the name of all present.  I have looked forward to being here with you.  I recall with pleasure your visit ad limina last year.
         These days I have spent among you have been very intense and gratifying.  I have been able to learn about and experience the different realities that shape these lands, and to share at first hand the faith of God’s holy and faithful people, which does us so much good.  Thank you for the opportunity to “touch” the faith of the people that God has entrusted to you.
         The theme of this Visit speaks to us of unity and hope.  This is a demanding yet exciting programme, which makes us think us of the heroic accomplishments of Saint Turibius of Mogrovejo, archbishop of this see and patron of the Latin American episcopate, an example of a “builder of ecclesial unity”, as my predecessor, Saint John Paul II described him during his first Apostolic Visit to this land.[1]
         It is significant that this holy bishop is frequently portrayed as a “new Moses”.  As you know, the Vatican has a picture in which Saint Turibius appears crossing a great river whose waters open before him like the Red Sea, so that he could get to the other shore, where a numerous group of natives awaited him. Behind Saint Turibius is a great crowd, representing the faithful people who follow their shepherd in the task of evangelization.[2]  This beautiful image can serve to anchor my reflection with you.  Saint Turibius, the man who wanted to get to the other shore.
         We see him from the time in which he accepted the mandate to come to these lands with the mission to be a father and a shepherd.  He left the security of familiar surroundings in order to enter a completely new universe, unknown and filled with challenges.  He journeyed towards a promised land guided by faith as “the assurance of things hoped for” (Heb 11:1).  His faith and his trust in the Lord impelled him, then and for the rest of his life, to get to the other shore, where the Lord himself was waiting for him in the midst of a great crowd.
1.      He wanted to get to the other shore in search of the distant and dispersed.  To do so, he had to leave behind the comfort of the bishop’s residence and traverse the territory entrusted to him in constant pastoral visits; he tried to visit and stay wherever he was needed, and how greatly was he needed!  He went out to encounter everyone, along paths that, in the words of his secretary, were meant more for goats than for people.  Turibius had to face greatly differing climates and landscapes, “of the twenty-two years of his episcopate, eighteen were spent outside of his city, three times crossing his territory”.[3]  He knew that this was the one way to be a pastor: to be close to his own, dispensing the sacraments, and he constantly exhorted his priests to do the same.  He did so not only by words, but by his witness in the front lines of evangelization.  Today we would call him a “street” bishop.  A bishop with shoes worn out by walking, by constant travel, by setting out to “preach the Gospel to all: to all places, on all occasions, without hesitation, reluctance and fear.  The joy of the Gospel is for all people: no one can be excluded”.[4].  How much Saint Turibius knew this!  Without fear and without hesitation he immersed himself in our continent in order to proclaim the good news.
2.      He wanted to get to the other shore not only geographically but also culturally.  Consequently, he worked in many ways for an evangelization in the native languages. With the Third Council of Lima he provided for catechisms to be compiled and translated into Quechua and Aymara.  He encouraged the clergy to learn the language of their flock in order to administer the sacraments to them in a way they could understand.  Visiting and living with his people, he realized that it was not enough just to be there physically, but to learn to speak the language of others, for only in this way could the Gospel be understood and touch the heart.  How necessary is this vision for us, the pastors of the twenty-first century!  For we have to learn completely new languages, like that, for example, of this, our digital age.  To know the real language of our young people, our families, our children…  As Saint Turibius clearly realized, it is not enough just to be present and occupy space; we have to be able to generate processes in people’s lives, so that the faith can take root and be meaningful.  And to do that, we have to be able to speak their language.  We need to get to the places where new stories and paradigms are being born, to bring the word of Jesus to the very heart of our cities and our peoples.[5]  The evangelization of culture requires us to enter into the heart of culture itself, so that it can be illuminated from within by the Gospel.
3.      Saint Turibius wanted to get to the other shore of charity.  For our patron, there could be no evangelization without charity.  He knew that the supreme form of evangelization is to model in our own lives the self-giving of Jesus Christ, out of love for every man and woman.  The children of God and the children of the devil are revealed in this way: all who do not practise justice are not from God, nor are those who do not love their brothers and sisters (cf. 1 Jn 3:10).  In his visits, he was able to see the abuses and excesses that the original peoples had suffered, and thus he was unafraid, in 1585, to excommunicate the Corregidor of Cajatambo, setting himself against a whole system of corruption and a web of interests which “drew upon him the enmity of many”, including the Viceroy.[6]  Such, we see, is the pastor who knows that spiritual good can never be separated from just material good, and all the more so when the integrity and dignity of persons is at risk.  An episcopal spirit of prophecy unafraid of denouncing abuses and excesses committed against our people.  In this way, Turibius reminds society as a whole, and each community, that charity must always be accompanied by justice.  And that there can be no authentic evangelization that does not point out and denounce every sin against the lives of our brothers and sisters, especially those who are most vulnerable.
4.      He wanted to get to the other shore in the formation of his priests.  He founded the first post-Tridentine seminary in this part of the world, thus encouraging the training of the native clergy.  He realized that it was not enough to visit everywhere and to speak the same language: the Church needed to raise up her own local pastors and thus become a fruitful mother.  To this end, he defended the ordination of the mestizos – a controversial issue at that time – and sought to make others see that if the clergy needed to be different in any area, it had to be by virtue of their holiness and not their racial origin.[7]  This formation was not limited to seminary studies, but continued through the constant visits that he undertook.  There he was able to see firsthand the “state of his priests” and to show his concern for them.   The story goes that on Christmas Eve his sister gave him a shirt that he could wear for the holidays.  That same day he went to visit a priest and, seeing his living conditions, took off the shirt and gave it to him.[8]  He was a pastor who knew his priests.  A pastor who tried to visit them, to accompany them, to encourage them and to admonish them.  He reminded his priests that they were pastors and not shopkeepers, and so they had to care for and defend the indios as their children.[9]  Yet he did not do this from a desk, and so he knew his sheep and they recognized, in his voice, the voice of the good shepherd.
5.      He wanted to get to the other shore of unity.  In an admirable and prophetic way, he worked to open up possibilities for communion and participation among the different members of God’s people.  Saint John Paul II mentioned this when speaking to the bishops in these lands.  He noted that: “The Third Council of Lima was the result of that effort, guided, encouraged and directed by Saint Turibius; it bore fruit in a wealth of unity in faith, pastoral and organizational norms, and useful insights for the desired integration of Latin America”.[10]  We know very well that this unity and consensus emerged from great tensions and conflicts.  We cannot deny tensions and the differences; life is not possible without conflict.  Yet they require us, if we are men and Christians, to face them and to deal with them.  But to deal with them in a spirit of unity, in honest and sincere dialogue, face to face, taking care not to fall into temptation to ignore the past, or to remain prisoners, lacking the vision to discern paths of unity and peace.  It is a source of encouragement, in our journey as an episcopal conference, to know that unity will always prevail over conflict.[11]  Dear brothers, work for unity.  Do not remain prisoners of divisions that create cliques and hamper our vocation to be a sacrament of communion.  Remember: what was attractive about the early church was how they loved one another.  That was – and is and always will be – the best way to evangelize.
6.      The moment came for Saint Turibius to get to the final shore, to the land of which he had a foretaste on every shore he left.  This time, however, he did not leave alone.  As in the picture I spoke of previously, he went to meet the saints surrounded by a great crowd.  He was a pastor who packed “his bags” with names and faces.  They were his passport to heaven.  I would not like to pass over this final chord, the moment when the shepherd surrendered his soul to God.  He did so in the midst of his people, and a native played a song on his chirimíaso that the soul of his pastor would feel at peace.  Brothers, would that when we undertake our final journey, we might have this same experience.  Let us ask the Lord to grant this to us.[12]
And please, do not forget to pray for me.
[1] Address to the Peruvian Bishops (2 February 1985), 3.
[2] Cf. Miracle of Saint Turibius, Vatican Pinacoteca.
[3] JORGE MARIO BERGOGLIO, Homily at Mass, Aparecida (16 May 2007).
[4] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 23.
[5] Cf. Ibid., 74.
[6] Cf. ERNESTO ROJAS INGUNZA, El Perú de los Santos, in : KATHY PERALES YSLA (ed.), Cinco Santos del Perú. Vida, obra y tiempo, Lima (2016), 57.
[7] Cf. JOSÉANTONIO BENITO RODRÍGUEZ, Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo, in KATHY PERALES YSLA (ed.), Cinco Santos del Perú. Vida, obra y tiempo, Lima (2016),178.        
[8] Cf. ibid., 180.
[9] Cf. JUAN VILLEGAS, Fiel y evangelizador.  Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo, patrono de los obisbos de América Latina, Montevideo (1984), 22.
[10] Address to the Peruvian Bishops (2 February 1985), 3.
[11] Cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 226-230.
[12] Cf. JORGE MARIO BERGOGLIO, Homily at Mass, Aparecida (16 May 2007).
Text and Image Shared Source: Vatican.va

#PopeFrancis "...remember that Jesus is by your side. Do not give up! Do not lose hope!" FULL TEXT Angelus + Video in Peru

APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO CHILE AND PERU
(15-22 JANUARY 2018)
POPE FRANCIS
ANGELUS
"Plaza de Armas" Square (Lima)
Sunday, 21 January 2018
[Multimedia]


Greeting to Young People before the Angelus
Dear young people, I am pleased to be here with you. These meetings are very important for me, especially in this year of preparation for the Synod on young people. Your faces, your questions and your lives are important for the Church and we need to give them the importance they deserve. We must also have the courage of the many young people of this land who were not afraid to love and risk their lives for Jesus.
Dear friends, how many examples you have! I think of Saint Martin de Porres. Nothing prevented that young man from achieving his dreams, nothing prevented him from spending his life for others, nothing prevented him from loving, and he did so because he had realized that the Lord loved him first. Just as he was: a mulato. He had to face many hardships. In the eyes of others, even his friends, it seemed that he had everything to lose, but he knew how to do one thing that would be the secret of his life: he knew how to trust. To trust in the Lord who loved him. Do you know why? Because the Lord had trusted him first; just as he trusts each of you and will never tire of trusting you. To each of us the Lord has entrusted something and the response is to trust in him. Each of you reflect in your heart: “What has the Lord entrusted me with?” Let everyone reflect: “What is it in my heart that the Lord has entrusted me with?”
You may say that sometimes this is very difficult. I understand that. In those moments, we can think negative thoughts, we can feel overwhelmed by different situations, and it can seem that we are “thrown out of the world-cup”, while they have the upper hand. But it’s not like that, even in the moments in which we’re thrown out, carry on trusting.
There are moments when you can feel powerless to achieve your desires and dreams. We all experience situations like that. In these moments when our faith seems to fade, remember that Jesus is by your side. Do not give up! Do not lose hope! Remember the saints who accompany us from heaven. Go to them, pray and never tire of asking for their intercession. Not only the saints of the past, but also those of the present: this land has many of them, because it is a land of saints. Peru is a land of saints. Ask for help and advice from people you know can give good advice because their faces radiate joy and peace. Let them accompany you as you journey along the path of life.
But there is something else, Jesus wants to see you on the move. He wants to see you achieve your ideals and to be enthusiastic in following his instructions. He will take you along the path of the beatitudes, a path that is not easy but exciting, a path that cannot be travelled alone, it has to be travelled as a team, where each member offers the best of his or her self. Jesus is counting on you as he counted long ago on Saint Rose of Lima, Saint Turibius, Saint Juan Macías, Saint Francisco Solano and so many others. And today he asks if, like them, you are ready to follow him [They reply: “Yes”]. Today, tomorrow, will you be willing to follow him? [They reply: “Yes”]. And within a week? [“Yes”]. Don’t be overly confident. If you are inclined to follow him, ask him to prepare your heart in order to be willing to follow him. Clear?
Dear friends, the Lord looks on you with hope. He never grows discouraged with us. We sometimes become discouraged with a friend because we thought he or she was good but then we saw something which was not so good and we became discouraged and abandoned that person. Jesus is never discouraged, never: “Father, but if you knew the things I do, I say something but I do another, my life is not completely clean”. This being so, Jesus does not become discouraged about you. And now let us have a little silence. Each of you look into your heart to see how your life is, you will see that there are moments with good things and there are moments with things that are not so good. This being so, Jesus is not discouraged about you. And from your heart tell him: “Thank you Jesus, thank you because you came to accompany me when I was still in bad things, thank you Jesus”. Let us all tell him: “Thank you Jesus” [They all repeat this].
I know that we all like to see digitally enhanced photographs, but that only works for pictures; we cannot “photoshop” others, the world, or ourselves. Colour filtering and high definition only function well in video; we can never apply them to our friends. There are pictures that are very nice, but completely fake. Let me assure you that the heart can’t be “photoshopped”, because that’s where authentic love and genuine happiness have to be found and that’s where you show him who you are: how is your heart?
Jesus does not want you to have a “cosmetic” heart. He loves you as you are, and he has a dream for every one of you. Do not forget, he does not get discouraged with us. But if you get discouraged, I invite you to take a look at the Bible and remember the kind of friends Jesus chose.
Moses, he was not articulate; Abraham, an old man; Jeremiah, very young; Zacchaeus, a short man; the disciples, who fell asleep when Jesus told them they should pray; Mary Magdalene, a public sinner, Paul, a persecutor of Christians; Peter, who denied him, and was then made Pope, yet he denied Jesus… and we could go on with the list. Jesus wants us as we are, just as he wanted his friends, with their defects, desiring to correct them yes, but as they were, that’s how the Lord loves you. Don’t put on any make-up, don’t put any make-up on the heart, but show yourself to Jesus as you are so that he can help you to move forwards in life.
When Jesus looks at us, he does not think about how perfect we are, but about all the love we have in our hearts to give him and to follow him. That is the important thing for him, that is the greatest thing, “how much love do I have in my heart?” And the response I want it to be also directed to our Mother: “Mother, beloved Blessed Virgin, look at the love I have in my heart, is it little? Is it much? I do not know if it is love”.
Be assured that she will accompany you at every moment of your life, at all the crossroads of your journey, especially at those times when you have to make important decisions. Do not become discouraged, move forwards, all together, because life is worth living with our heads held high. May God bless you.
[Appeal]
We are in the Plaza Mayor of Lima, a small place in a relatively small city of the world, but the world is much bigger and full of cities and peoples, and is also full of problems, full of wars. Today I have heard very concerning news coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo; let us think of that country. In these moments, from this Plaza and with all those young people, I ask the authorities, those responsible and everyone within that beloved nation, to make the greatest commitment and effort to avoid every form of violence and to find solutions that favour the common good. Altogether, in silence, let us pray for this intention for our brothers and sisters of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
[Angelus Prayer and Apostolic Blessing]

Good bye!
Text and Image Source: Vatican.va

#PopeFrancis "Through your prayer, night and day, you bring before God the lives of so many ..." FULL TEXT to Nuns


Pope Francis addresses contemplative nuns in Peru: Full text
Pope Francis addressed some 500 contemplative nuns from different orders during mid-morning prayer at the Shrine of Our Lord of the Miracles in Lima. Here is the full text of his homily:
Homily of the Holy FatherMid-Day Prayer with Contemplative Women Religious
Shrine of the Lord of Miracles, Lima
Sunday, 21 January 2018
Dear Sisters from different monasteries of contemplative life:
How good it is to be here in this Shrine of the Lord of Miracles, visited so often by Peruvians, to ask his grace so that he will show us his closeness and mercy!  He is “the light that guides, that illumines us with his divine love”.  Seeing you here, I get the impression that you took advantage of this visit to get out for some fresh air!  Mother Soledad, I thank you for your words of welcome, and I thank all of you, who “from the silence of the cloister walk ever by my side”.
We have listened to the words of Saint Paul and been reminded that we have received the Spirit of filial adoption that makes us children of God (cf. Rom 8:15-16).  Those few words sum up the richness of every Christian vocation: the joy of knowing we are God’s children.  This is the experience that nourishes our lives, that seeks always to be a pleasing response to God’s love.  How important it is to renew this joy day by day!
A privileged path that you have for renewing this conviction is the life of prayer, both communal and individual.  This is the heart of your contemplative life, and the means of cultivating the experience of love that sustains our faith and, indeed as Mother Soledad rightly said, a prayer that is always missionary.
Missionary prayer makes us one with our brothers and sisters in whatever situations they find themselves, and asks that love and hope will never fail them.  This is what Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus said: “I understood that it is love alone which prompts the members of the Church to act and, if there is no love, neither would the Apostles proclaim the Gospel, nor would the martyrs spill their blood.  I recognized clearly and I was certain that love subsumes in itself all vocations, that love is everything, encompassing all times and places, in a word, that love is eternal… in the heart of the Church, who is my Mother, I will be love”.[1]
To be love!  This means being able to stand alongside the suffering of so many of our brothers and sisters, and to say with the Psalmist: “In my distress I called upon the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free” (Ps 117:5).  In this way, your cloistered life can attain a missionary and universal outreach and play “a fundamental role in the life of the Church.  You pray and intercede for our many brothers and sisters who are prisoners, migrants, refugees and victims of persecution.  Your prayers of intercession embrace the many families experiencing difficulties, the unemployed, the poor, the sick, and those struggling with addiction, to mention just a few of the more urgent situations.  You are like those who brought the paralytic to the Lord for healing.  Through your prayer, night and day, you bring before God the lives of so many of our brothers and sisters who for various reasons cannot come to him to experience his healing mercy, even as he patiently waits for them.  By your prayers, you can heal the wounds of many”.[2]
For this very reason, we can state that cloistered life neither closes nor shrinks our hearts, but rather widens them in our relationship with the Lord, making them capable of feeling in a new way the pain, the suffering, the frustration and the misfortune of so many of our brothers and sisters who are victims of today’s “throwaway culture”.  May intercession for those in need be the hallmark of your prayer.  And whenever possible, help them not only by prayer, but also by concrete service.
The prayer of supplication that takes place in your monasteries is attuned to the Heart of Jesus, which pleads to the Father that we may all be one, so that the world will believe (cf. Jn17:21).  How much we need unity in the Church!  Today and always!  United in faith.  United by hope.  United by love.  In the unity that wells up from our communion with Christ, who unites us to the Father in the Spirit, and, in the Eucharist, unites us with one another in that great mystery which is the Church.  I ask you, please, to pray constantly for unity in this beloved Church in Peru. 
Strive to grow in the fraternal life, so that every monastery can be a beacon of light in the midst of disunity and division.  Help bear prophetic witness that this is possible.  May all who draw near to you have a foretaste of the blessedness of the fraternal charity so essential to the consecrated life and so necessary in today’s world and in our communities.
When we live our vocation faithfully, our life becomes a proclamation of God’s love.  I ask you never to stop giving that witness.  In this Church of the Discalced Carmelite Nazarenes, I readily recall the words of the great spiritual teacher, Saint Teresa of Jesus: “If you lose your guide, who is the good Jesus, you will not get the journey right…  For the same Lord says he is the way; the Lord also says he is the light, and that no one can come to the Father except through him”.[3]
Dear sisters, the Church needs you.  Be beacons through your lives of fidelity, and keep pointing to the One who is the way, and the truth and the life, to the one Lord who brings us fulfilment and grants us life in abundance.[4]
Pray for the Church, for priests and bishops, for consecrated men and women, for families, for those who suffer, for those who harm others, for those who exploit their brothers and sisters.  And do not forget, please, to pray for me.
[1] Autobiographical manuscripts: Letter to Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart (8 September 1896), Ms. B [3v.].
[2] Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei Quaerere on women’s contemplative life (29 June 2016), 16.
[3] The Interior Castle, VI, ch. 7, no. 6.
[4] Cf. Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei Quaerere on women’s contemplative life (29 June 2016), 6.
Source of Text Vatican.va

Wow Great New Movie on Mary's Apparitions in #Garabandal - FULL Trailer Video

A new movie about Mary's Apparitions in Garabandal has been produced and is receiving great reviews here is the synopsis by the Website.
About: June 18, 1961. In a small village in Northern Spain, San Sebastián de Garabandal, four girls, Conchita, Jacinta, Mari Loli, and Mari Cruz, claim that St. Michael the Archangel has just appeared to them. A few days later, on July 2, 1961 they receive a visit from Our Lady of Mount Carmel. After this first encounter, there are more than two thousand visits from this heavenly Lady. The village’s parish priest, Fr. Valentín, and the Civil Guard brigadier, Mr. Juan Álvarez Seco, suddenly become protagonists in an overwhelming event. They must struggle to find where the truth lies, while confronting a perplexed hierarchy and facing an ever growing multitude of people who arrive at the village in the search of answers.
INFO and where to See it: 
https://www.garabandalthemovie.com

RIP Fr. Juliano Absalom - Death of Priest in Motorcycle Accident in Malawi

Death has been announced of Father Juliano Absalom of Dedza Diocese after being involved in motorbike accident, faceofmalawi can reveal. Absalom died in the early hours of Friday at Daeayang Luke Hospital.
 “The Diocese of Dedza has lost Fr. Juliano Abisalom at Daeayang Luke Hospital afew minutes ago. He was involved in a motor bike accident and was taken to Mua and later transferred to Daeyang. Lord receive your servant,” reads the statement in part. The death of Father Absalom comes barely hours after the death of Father Tony Mukomba of the Archdiocese of Blantyre.
Text edited from FaceofMalawi

Sunday Mass Online : 3rd Ordinary T. - Sun. January 21, 2018 - #Eucharist - Readings and Video


Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 68


Reading 1JON 3:1-5, 10

The word of the LORD came to Jonah, saying:
"Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you."
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD'S bidding.
Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day's walk announcing,
"Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed, "
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast
and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.

When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.

Responsorial PsalmPS 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (4a) Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your love are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice
and teaches the humble his way.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.

Reading 111 COR 7:29-31

I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out.
From now on, let those having wives act as not having them,
those weeping as not weeping,
those rejoicing as not rejoicing,
those buying as not owning, 
those using the world as not using it fully.
For the world in its present form is passing away.

Alleluia MK 1:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 1:14-20

After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
"This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel."

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
"Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."
Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.

Novena to #StAgnes and Prayers to SHARE - Patron of #Engaged #Couples and #Chastity


Novena to St. Agnes for unmarried couples. St. Agnes, although you were only a child, you believed that Jesus was always with you; help us to remember that he is also with us and to remain true to his presence. St Agnes, you refused to give up your faith, help us to be proud of our faith to love it, to be strong in it, and to give witness to it daily. St. Agnes, patron saint of unmarried couples, watch over ________ and _______ keep them strong in their faith, committed to chastity and virginity until marriage. Be with them and always pray for them. Amen Say 1 Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be for 9 days
Other Novena Prayer to St. Agnes
O singular example of virtue, glorious Saint Agnes, by the living faith which animated thee from thy tenderest years, and rendered thee so pleasing to God that thou didst merit the martyr's crown: obtain for us the grace to keep our holy faith inviolate within us, and to profess ourselves Christians sincerely in word and work; may our open confession of Jesus before men cause Him to bear a favorable witness to us before His eternal Father.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
O invincible Martyr, Saint Agnes most renowned, by thy confidence in God's help, when, being condemned by the impious Roman prefect to see the lily of thy purity stained and trampled in the mire, thou didst not despair, still trusting firmly in the God who giveth His angels charge over them that trust in Him: we beseech thee by thine intercession to obtain for us from Almighty God the forgiveness of all our sins and the sure confidence that He will bestow upon us life everlasting and the means necessary to merit it.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
O courageous maiden, Saint Agnes most pure, by the burning love with which thy heart was on fire, and which preserved thee from harm in the midst of the flames of passion and of the stake, where the enemies of Jesus Christ sought to destroy thee: obtain for us from Almighty God that every unclean flame may be extinguished in us and only that fire, which Jesus Christ came to enkindle upon the earth, may burn within us; so that, after spending a blameless life in the practice of this fair virtue, we shall be worthy to have a share in the glory thou didst merit by the purity of thy heart and by thy martyrdom.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

(Indulgence of 300 days) 

Prayer in Honor of St. Agnes

O Sweetest Lord Jesus Christ, source of all virtues, lover of virgins, most powerful conqueror of demons, most severe extirpator of vice! deign to cast Thine eyes upon my weakness, and through the intercession of Mary most blessed, Mother and Virgin, and of Thy beloved spouse St. Agnes, glorious virgin and martyr, grant me the aid of Thy heavenly grace, in order that I may learn to despise all earthly things, and to love what is heavenly; to oppose vice and to be proof against temptation; to walk firmly in the path of virtue, not to seek honors, to shun pleasures, to bewail my past offenses, to keep far from the occasions of evil, to keep free from bad habits, to seek the company of the good, and persevere in righteousness, so that, by the assistance of Thy grace, I may deserve the crown of eternal life, together with St. Agnes and all the saints, forever and ever, in Thy kingdom. Amen.
(Indulgence 100 days, Pius IX, 1854) 

Saint January 21 : St. Agnes : #Engaged couples; #Chastity; #Gardeners; #Girls; Rape victims; virgins



Information:
Feast Day:January 21
Born:
291
Died:304
Major Shrine::Church of Sant'Agnese fuori le mura and the Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone, both in Rome
Patron of:Betrothed couples; chastity; Children of Mary; Colegio Capranica of Rome; crops; gardeners; Girl Scouts; girls; rape victims; virgins
Of all the virgin martyrs of Rome none was held in such high honour by the primitive church, since the fourth century, as St. Agnes. In the ancient Roman calendar of the feasts of the martyrs (Depositio Martyrum), incorporated into the collection of Furius Dionysius Philocalus, dating from 354 and often reprinted, e.g. in Ruinart [Acta Sincera Martyrum (ed. Ratisbon, 1859), 63 sqq.], her feast is assigned to 21 January, to which is added a detail as to the name of the road (Via Nomentana) near which her grave was located. The earliest sacramentaries give the same date for her feast, and it is on this day that the Latin Church even now keeps her memory sacred. Since the close of the fourth century the Fathers of the Church and Christian poets have sung her praises and extolled her virginity and heroism under torture. It is clear, however, from the diversity in the earliest accounts that there was extant at the end of the fourth century no accurate and reliable narrative, at least in writing, concerning the details of her martyrdom. On one point only is there mutual agreement, viz., the youth of the Christian heroine. St. Ambrose gives her age as twelve (De Virginibus, I, 2; P.L., XVI, 200-202: Haec duodecim annorum martyrium fecisse traditur), St. Augustine as thirteen (Agnes puella tredecim annorum; Sermo cclxxiii, 6, P.L., XXXVIII, 1251), which harmonizes well with the words of Prudentius: Aiunt jugali vix habilem toro (Peristephanon, Hymn xiv, 10 in Ruinart, Act. Sinc., ed cit. 486). Damasus depicts her as hastening to martyrdom from the lap of her mother or nurse (Nutricis gremium subito liquisse puella; in St. Agneten, 3, ed. Ihm, Damasi epigrammata, Leipzig, 1895, 43, n. 40). We have no reason whatever for doubting this tradition. It indeed explains very well the renown of the youthful martyr. Catholic Encyclopedia

Saturday, January 20, 2018

#PopeFrancis "Mary will always be a mestiza Mother, because in her heart all races find a place..." FULL TEXT + Video

Pope Francis´full speech at Virgin of the Door marian celebration
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I thank Monsignor Héctor Miguel for his words of welcome in the name of the whole pilgrim people of God in these lands.
In this beautiful and historical square of Trujillo, that awakened dreams of freedom for all Peruvians, we are gathered today to meet our “Dear Mother of Otuzco”. I know that many of you have travelled a great distance to be present today, gathered beneath our Mother’s gaze. This square has thus become an open-air shrine where all of us want to let our Mother look upon us with her maternal and tender gaze. She is a mother who knows the heart of her Peruvian children from the north and from so many other places; she has seen your tears, your laughter, your desires. In this square we want to cherish the memory of a people that knows that Mary is a Mother who does not abandon her children.
This “home” is decorated in a particularly festive way. We are surrounded by images from throughout this region. Together with the beloved Immaculate Virgin of the Gate of Otuzco, I greet and welcome the Most Holy Cross of Chalpón from Chiclayo, the Captive Lord from Ayabaca, Our Lady of Mercies from Paita, the Child Jesus of the Miracle from Eten, the Mother of Sorrows from Cajamarca, Our Lady of the Assumption from Cutervo, the Immaculate Conception of Chota, Our Lady of Alta Gracia from Huamachuco, Saint Turibius of Mogrovejo from Tayabamba (Huamachuco), Our Lady of the Assumption from Chachapoyas, Our Lady of the Assumption of Usquil, Our Lady of Succour from Huanchoco, and the relics of the Conventual Martyrs of Chimbote.
Every community, each tiny corner of this land, is accompanied by the face of a saint, and by love for Jesus Christ and for his Mother. If we consider that wherever there is a community, wherever there is life and hearts longing to find reasons to hope, to sing and to dance, to long for a decent life... there is the Lord, there we find his Mother, and there too the example of all those saints who help us to remain joyful in hope.
With you, I give thanks for the attentiveness of our God. He looks for the best way to draw near to each person, so that he or she can receive him. That is the origin of his many and varied invocations and titles. Those titles express the desire of our God to be close to each heart, so that the language of God’s love is always spoken in dialect; there is no other way of doing it, and what is more, it inspires hope to see how the Mother takes on the features of her children, their way of dressing and their dialect, in order to make them share in her blessing. Mary will always be a mestiza Mother, because in her heart all races find a place, for love seeks out every possible way to love and to be loved. All these images remind us of the tender love with which God wants to be close to every village and every family, to you and me, to everyone.
I know of the love that you have for the Immaculate Virgin of the Gate of Otuzco. Today, together with you, I wish to declare her: Our Lady of the Gate, “Mother of Mercy and Hope”. Our Lady, who in centuries past showed her love for the children of this land when, placed above a gateway, she defended and protected them from the threats that afflicted them, awakening the love of all Peruvians even to our own day.
Mary continues to defend us and point out the gate that opens for us the way to authentic life, to the Life that does not pass away. She walks beside every one of her children, in order to lead them home. She accompanies us all the way to the Gate that gives Life, for Jesus does not want anyone to remain outside, in the cold. In this way, she accompanies “the yearning of so many people to turn back to the house of the Father, who awaits their return”[1], yet so often do not know how to do so. As Saint Bernard said: “You who feel far away from terra firma, dragged down by the waves of this world, in the midst of storms and tempests: look to the Star and call upon Mary”.[2] She shows us the way home. She brings us to Jesus, who is the Gate of Mercy.
In 2015, we had the joy of celebrating the Jubilee of Mercy. In the course of that year, I invited all the faithful to pass through the Door of Mercy, “through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instils hope”. I would like to repeat with you now that same hope: “How much I desire that the years to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God!” How much I desire that this land, which clings to the Mother of Mercy and Hope, can abound in God’s goodness and tender love and bring it everywhere. For there is no better medicine, dear brothers and sisters, to cure many wounds than a heart that has known mercy, than a heart that is compassionate before sorrow and misfortune. A heart compassionate before people’s mistakes and their desire to change, without knowing where to start.

Compassion is active, for “we have learned that God bends down to us (cf. Hos 11:4), so that we may imitate him in bending down to our brothers and sisters”, above all to those who suffer the most. And like Mary, in being attentive to those who lack the wine of gladness, as happened at the wedding feast of Cana.
Looking to Mary, I do not want to conclude without asking all of us to think of the mothers and grandmothers of this nation; they are a true driving force for the life and the families of Peru. What would Peru be like, without its mothers and grandmothers! What would our lives be like without them! Our love for Mary must help us to feel appreciation and gratitude for women, for our mothers and grandmothers, who are a bastion in the life in our cities. Almost always in silence, they carry life forward. It is the silence and strength of hope. Thank you for your witness.
Appreciation and gratitude. But in thinking of our mothers and grandmothers, I want to invite you to combat a scourge that affects our American continent: the numerous cases where women are killed. And the many situations of violence that are kept quiet behind so many walls. I ask you to fight against this source of suffering by calling for legislation and a culture that repudiates every form of violence.
Brothers and sisters, Our Lady of the Gate, Mother of Mercy and Hope, shows us the way and points out the best defence against the evil of indifference and insensitivity. She brings us to her Son and encourages us to promote and spread a “culture of mercy based on the rediscovery of encounter with others, a culture in which no one looks at another with indifference or turns away from the suffering of our brothers and sisters”.

#PopeFrancis "...merciful love that impels us in the depths of our being to go out and serve others as Jesus did." FULL TEXT to Religious

Pope addresses priest, seminarians, religious in Trujillo: Full text
Pope Francis addresses priests, religious men and women, and seminarians in Trujillo on the second day of his Apostolic Journey to Peru. This is the full text of his speech: Meeting with Priests, Men and Women Religious, and Seminarians
Saints Carlos and Marcelo Seminary College (Trujillo)
Saturday, 20 January 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Good afternoon!
         I am grateful for the words of greeting that Archbishop José Antonio Eguren Anselmi of Piura addressed to me in the name of all those present.
         Meeting with you, getting to know you, listening to you and sharing our love for the Lord and for the mission he has given us is very important.  I know you have made great efforts to be here.  Thank you!
         This Seminary College that welcomes us was one of the first to be founded in Latin America for the formation of future generations of evangelizers.  Being together in this place makes us realize that we are in one of those “cradles” that have produced countless missionaries.  Nor can I forget that Saint Turibius of Mogrovejo, the patron of the Latin American bishops, died in this land, in the midst of his missionary activity.  All these things invite us to look to our roots, to what enables us through time and history to grow and to bear fruit.  Our vocations will always have that double dimension: roots in the earth and hearts in heaven.  When one of these two is missing, something begins to go wrong and our life gradually withers (cf. Lk 13:6-9).
         I like to point out that our faith, our vocation, is one of remembrance, that “deuteronomic” dimension of life.  One of remembrance, because it recognizes that neither life, nor faith, nor the Church began with the birth of any one of us.  Remembrance looks to the past in order to discover the sap that nourished the hearts of disciples for centuries, and thus comes to recognize God’s presence in the life of his people.  We remember the promise he made to our forebears and that, by his continuing presence in our midst, he is the cause of the joy that makes us sing: “The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad” (Ps 125:3).
         I would like to share with you some of the virtues of this remembrance.
1.      A joyful self-awareness
         The Gospel that we have heard is usually read in a vocational key, and so we concentrate on the disciples’ encounter with Jesus.  I would like to go back even earlier, and take a look at John the Baptist.  He was with two of his disciples, and seeing Jesus pass by, he told them: “Behold the Lamb of God” (Jn 1:36).  On hearing this, they left John and followed Jesus (cf. v. 37).  This is somewhat surprising, since they had been with John, they knew that he was a good man, and that, as Jesus would say, of those born of woman none was greater than he (Mt 11:11), yet he was not the one who was to come.  John was waiting for someone greater than himself.  He clearly understood that he was not the Messiah, but simply the herald of his coming.  John remembered; he was mindful of the promise and of his own place in history.
         John embodies the awareness of a disciple conscious that he is not, and never will be, the Messiah, but only one called to point out the Lord’s presence in the life of his people.  As consecrated men and women, we are not called to supplant the Lord by our own works, our missions, or our countless activities.  All that we are asked to do is to work with the Lord, side by side, never forgetting that we do not replace him.  This does not make us “slacken” in the work of evangelization; rather, it impels us to work all the harder, ever mindful that we are disciples of the one Master.  A disciple knows that he or she is there, now and always, to support the Master.  That is the source of our joy.
         It is good to know that we are not the Messiah!  It frees us from thinking that we are overly important or too busy (in some places it is not uncommon to hear people say: “No, don’t go to that parish because the pastor is always busy!”).  John the Baptist knew that his mission was to point the way, to make beginnings, to open up spaces, to proclaim that “another” was the bearer of God’s Spirit.  To be a people of remembrance frees us from the temptation of thinking that we are messiahs.
         We can fight this temptation in many ways, but also with laughter.  Yes, learning to laugh at ourselves gives us the spiritual ability to stand before Lord with our limitations, our mistakes and our sins, but also our successes, and the joy of knowing that he is at our side.  A good spiritual test is to ask ourselves whether we can laugh at ourselves.  Laughter saves us from the “self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others”.[1]  Brothers and sisters, laugh in community, and not at the community or at others!  Let us be on guard against people so important that they have forgotten to smile in their lives.
2.      The time of the call
         John the Evangelist mentions in his Gospel the time when his life changed: “it was about the tenth hour” (Jn 1:39).  An encounter with Jesus changes our lives, it establishes a “before” and an “after”.  It is always good to remember the hour, that special day when each of us we realized that the Lord expected something more of us.  The memory of that hour in which we were touched by his gaze.
         When we forget that hour, we forget our origins, our roots; and by losing these basic coordinates, we lose sight of the most precious part of our lives as consecrated persons: the Lord’s gaze.  Perhaps you don’t like the place where the Lord found you, perhaps it wasn’t an ideal situation, or “it could have been better”.  But it was there that he found you and healed your wounds.  Each of us knows where and when: perhaps it was a time of complicated situations, of painful situations; yes, but it was there that the God of Life met you and made you a witness to his Life, a part of his mission and, in union with him, a caress of God for many people.  We do well to remember that our vocations are a loving call to love in return, and to serve.  If the Lord fell in love with you and chose you, it was not because you were more numerous than the others, for you are the least of peoples, but out of pure love! (cf. Deut 7:7-8).  His is a visceral love, a merciful love that impels us in the depths of our being to go out and serve others as Jesus did.
         I would like to emphasize one aspect that I consider important.  Many of us, when we entered the seminary or the house of formation, were shaped by the faith of our families and neighbours.  This is how we took our first steps, frequently sustained by displays of popular piety, which in Peru have taken on the most exquisite forms and have deep roots in God’s simple and faithful people.  Your people have demonstrated an immense love of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and your saints and blesseds, in so great a number of devotions that I dare not name them for fear of leaving some of them out.  In their shrines, “many pilgrims make decisions that mark their lives.  The walls [of those shrines] contain many stories that millions could tell of conversion, forgiveness, and gifts received”.[2]  For many of you, the story of your vocation could also be written on those walls.  I urge you not to forget, much less look down on, the solid and simple faith of your people.  Welcome, accompany and stimulate their encounter with the Lord.  Do not become “professionals of the sacred” by forgetting your people, from whose midst the Lord took you.  Do not lose your remembrance and respect for those who taught you how to pray.
Remembering the moment of our call, rejoicing in the memory of Christ’s entrance into our lives, will help us to say that beautiful prayer of Saint Francisco Solano, the great preacher and friend of the poor: “My good Jesus, my redeemer and my friend!  What do I have, that you have not given me?  What do I know, that you have not taught me?”
In this way, a religious, a priest, a consecrated woman or man is a person of remembrance, joy and gratitude: three things we need to appropriate and keep as “weapons” against all vocational pretense.  Grateful awareness enlarges the heart and inspires us to service.  Without gratitude, we can be efficient dispensers of sacred things, but we will lack the anointing of the Spirit to become servants of our brothers and sisters, especially those most in need.  The faithful People of God have a sense of smell that enables them to distinguish a functionary of the sacred from a grateful servant.  They are able to distinguish someone who is mindful from someone who is not.  The People of God are patient, but they also know who serves and heals their wounds with the balm of joy and gratitude.
3.      Contagious joy
Andrew was one of the disciples of John the Baptist who followed Jesus that day.  After spending time with Jesus and seeing where he lived, he returned to the house of his brother Simon Peter and told him: “We have found the Messiah” (Jn 1:41).  That was the greatest news he could give him, and it brought him to Jesus.  Faith in Jesus is contagious; it cannot be restrained or kept within.  Here we see how witness becomes fruitful: the newly called disciples go on to attract others by their testimony of faith, just as Jesus, in the Gospel passage, calls us through others.  The mission springs spontaneously from the encounter with Christ.  Andrew begins his apostolate with those closest to him, with his brother Simon, almost naturally, by radiating joy.  Joy is the surest sign that we have “discovered” the Messiah.  Joy is a constant in the hearts of the apostles, and we see it in the enthusiasm with which Andrew tells his brother: “We have found him!”  For “the joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and the lives of all who encounter Jesus.  Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness.  With Christ, joy is constantly born anew”.[3]
This joy opens us up to others; it is a joy to be shared.  In the fragmented world in which we live, a world that can make us withdrawn, we are challenged to become builders and prophets of community.  For no one is saved alone.  I would like to be clear about this.  Fragmentation or isolation are not things that just happen “out there”, only a problem with the “world”.  Brothers and sisters, divisions, wars and isolation are found within our communities, and what harm they bring us!  Jesus sends us out to build communion and unity, yet often it seems we go about this by displaying our disunity and, worse yet, trying to trip each other up.  We are called to be builders of communion and unity, but this does not mean thinking everyone is the same, or doing things always the same way.  It means discerning what everyone has to offer, respecting their differences, and acknowledging the gift of charisms within the Church, knowing that while each of us contributes what he or she has, we also need one another.  Only the Lord has the fullness of the gifts; only he is the Messiah.  He wanted to distribute his gifts in such a way that we can give what is ours while being enriched by that of others.  We must be on guard against the temptation of the “only child”, who wants everything for himself because there is no one to share it with.  I ask those of you who are in positions of authority: please not to become self-referential.  Try to care for your brothers and sisters; try to keep them happy, because happiness is contagious.  Do not fall into the trap of an authority that turns into authoritarianism by forgetting that its mission is primarily one of service.
Dear brothers and sisters, I thank you once more.  May this “deuteronomic” remembrance make us more joyful and grateful to be servants of unity in the midst of our people.
May the Lord bless you and may Our Lady protect you. Please do not forget to pray for me.
[1] Cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 94.
[2] Cf. Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops, Aparecida Document, 29 June 2007, 260.
[3] Evangelii Gaudium, 1.
Text Source: Vatican News