TWELFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Last Sunday, we meditated on the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity from which we should learn the value of the Unity that exists between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Today we celebrate the mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ. This celebration, which is the fount and summit of our Christian faith, reminds us again of the value of communion.
“If the Trinity were not revealed, it had to be invented”. So said and wrote one of our Xaverian fathers in a non-distant time. His assertion was backed by the definition of God, which John gives in his first letter to the Christians, when he wrote, “God is love” (1 John 4:16). Our priest was explaining, and you guess that I am on his side, that someone cannot be and do “love” when he is alone, when there is no one else close by. If no one is there to love, then, how can love exist at all? How can God be? If God is alone, if He is only one person, he can only be and have only selfish love, a self-interested and introvert existence. He would be, yes, a creator and saviour, but for His own benefit. He would make us human beings only to serve Him and, so to say, to increase his own glory. But, by making us for ourselves, as it is so clearly expressed in the story of Adam and Eve, He can surely take delight in His people and show us that we are the unmistakable objects of His unconditional love, asking nothing in return. In the Old Testament nowhere is the essence of love better expressed than in the Song of Songs, when the two lovers say to each other, “My beloved is mine and I am his” (2:16). Here we have a (small) taste of the equality, reciprocity, and total belonging of the Three Persons. Yes, love needs another, a Thou; perfect love needs to be triune!
Genesis chapter 11 narrates about the tower of Babel. At that time the whole world spoke the same language. The people then came together and planned to build a tower “with its top reaching Heaven”. Let us analyze that community: They all had the same vision, the identical mission; they all agreed about a common plan, joining their efforts to build bricks and bake them. The further key factor in any team is communication. As we can see, the citizens of Babel had no problem in communication and no divisions. Moreover, they were also able to pass from planning to concrete action. Apparently, a good team. And yet, one thing was wrong with them, the most important one: the goal! The end, the purpose of their effort was not good. “Let us make a name for ourselves” (v.4), higher than the heavens! It is the same old mistake; man – a creature – wants to sit on the chair that belongs to the Creator. The story ends that the Lord had to confuse their language, because he knew that all of them would have died, falling down from a tower which was far too high for our human limitations. St Augustine would say: “You run well, but on the wrong path”.
This coming Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension of Jesus into heaven. After his Resurrection, Jesus spent 40 days with the apostles, teaching them many things. After that brief but complete “Catechumenate” he left them and returned to his Father.
SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
How do you imagine God to be? This is what I asked myself these days and this is what I would like to ask you as well. When we think of God or we pray to him, what image do we have in our mind, what countenance do we relate with Him? Many artists have tried to give God a face, a description, a visible picture, helping us in our effort to visualize the idea of God, as also Mr. Kelleh Mansaray did in so many of our churches in Sierra Leone, but, at the same time, cheating us also in a way, because ‘no one has ever seen God’ (Jn: 4,12). Yes, the disciples had the privilege to know and stay with Jesus but at the end Jesus knows that his countenance will disappear from the eyes of those who will come after them and in fact, ‘happy are those who have not seen and believe’ (Jn:20,29) he tells Thomas who wants to base his faith on seeing and touching. (Jn:20,25)
My Dear Young People,
I am pleased to announce that in October 2018 a Synod of Bishops will take place to treat the topic: "Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.” I wanted you to be the centre of attention, because you are in my heart. Today, the Preparatory Document is being presented, a document which I am also entrusting to you as your "compass” on this synodal journey.