Jueves, 08 de mayo de 2014

Homilía del Cardenal Fernando Filoni, Prefecto de la Congregación para la Evangelización de los Pueblos, que en la tarde del miércoles, 7 de mayo de 2014, ha presidido la celebración eucarística en el Colegio Mater Ecclesiae, de Castelgandolfo, con los directores nacionales de las Obras Misionales Pontificias (OMP) reunidos con motivo de la Asamblea General anual (véase Fides 29/04/2014).


HOMILY – Wednesday, Third Week of Easter

(Castel Gandolfo, May 7, 2014)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This evening, we, together with the National Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies, are guests of our Mater Ecclesiae College to share, with the Religious women who live here, a time of prayer and brotherhood. This College, in fact, is no stranger to the generosity of the Pontifical Societies, which, through numerous scholarships, allow our sisters from many Congregations of many missionary Countries to study and be formed spiritually and intellectually.

It is a great initiative that is very dear to the whole Church, to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and certainly to the PMS.

While I say this, the words of the entrance antiphon are fulfilled from the Liturgy of this Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter: "My mouth is filled with your praise..., my lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to you". These expressions are taken from Psalm 71, which the Psalmist, in a moment of deep joy, addresses the Almighty feeling his heart overflow with joy. Indeed, we live in a moment of joy in Christ who gives us his word and allows us, in the Eucharist, to sing our thanks to God.

I think that in our College, while we form the young to the service of God, the Church and its religious Family, we also carry out a principle of duty to the advancement of women in the life of the Church and the world, as Pope John Paul II, now Saint, had clearly written in his Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem, which highlighted that especially religious women have this task, being closest, due to their feminine sensibility, to the life  of the Church, our Mother, and to all women wherever they live. Indeed, in Evangelii Nuntiandi, Paul VI had already said that religious women, for their vocation, are "the outposts of the mission" (EV 69) of the Church. I like to recall this concept because it seems to respond well to the purpose of our College, that is to say these religious, one day, are the outposts of mission and proclamation of the Gospel.

In the context of evangelization, in fact, the religious, as a woman, has a specific charisma, with whom she translates and interprets that sense of genius, typical of femininity, which so enriches the missionary nature of the Church in all parts of the world. Let us think of the assistance of mothers, of children, of the sick, of catechesis and generous witness. Dare I even say that the beginning of the missionary activity begins with women, when the Risen Christ asks Mary Magdalene and the others who had come to the tomb, to announce his resurrection.

The first passage of today's Liturgy of the Word tells us that during the first persecution against the church in Jerusalem, Saul, a persecutor at the time "entered house after house, dragging out men and women and he handed them over for imprisonment" (Acts 8: 4). As well as the persecution and dispersion of the primitive community of believers was not viewed as a disgrace to oppose, nor was the fact that God, who allows the iniquity and its implementation, meant to be a complaint. Instead, it was seen as an occasion of grace, because God, through believers who were scattered, allowed the spread of the good news of the risen Jesus, and this meant to announce His name and carry out signs of extraordinary charity that touched the bodies and the people's hearts.

And what about the gospel? In this Easter season, re-reading today's passage of the Evangelist John, does us good. It makes us better understand the beautiful and consoling words of the Lord, which says to us all: "I am the bread of life" (Jn 6: 35) and "I will not reject anyone who comes to me" (John 6 , 36). Jesus, therefore, appears as the bread of life; Jesus presents himself as the word of mercy!

We need to learn from this Master, both as guidance for our lives, and as guidance for our mission. If Jesus is the bread of life, it means that he is speaking of the missionary activity, that is to say the missionary activity understood as bread that nourishes and life to give. If Jesus does not reject anyone, it means that he is speaking of mercy to bring to all those who are waiting for this mercy in their lives. The missionary is he who before anything else, carries with him in his wallet, the Bread of Life (Jesus and his Gospel); is he who carries in his wallet the planning of mercy: childhood education, help towards the poor, support for the elderly, the creation of care centers, closeness to the lonely and destroyed, and so on.

Jesus, our Passover, accompanies and joins us in our journey. In today's communion antiphon the liturgy sings: "The Lord has risen and has shined his light upon us; he has redeemed us with his blood". The Church does not sing him in the past or for the past, but for the present. We are the ones who can say: "The Lord has risen! ... He has redeemed us with his blood". Amen

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