ConAltriOcchi blog – 以不同的眼光看世界-博客

"C'è un solo modo di vedere le cose finché qualcuno non ci mostra come guardare con altri occhi" – "There is only one way to see things, until someone shows us how to look at them with different eyes" (Picasso) – "人观察事物的方式只有一种,除非有人让我们学会怎样以不同的眼光看世界" (毕加索)


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Migrants: the “lepers” of today

 

The Book of Leviticus tells us that not only were lepers banned from their villages, they also had to shout out «Unclean, unclean!» as they approached, to warn others of their presence. This mark of infamy was something that affected them deeply, that scarred their very conscience, to the point of becoming a sort of second nature, something they themselves accepted. We can project this contrast between the village and the leper through the centuries to our own day and age. Today, we are the village, our communities, the old Western countries, our economic system gone mad, even our Church, at times, when it becomes clericalised and unable to reach out, like Pope Francis would like it to do.

But our Western society, despite claiming to be inspired by the great principles of equality and fraternity, which are dear to the tradition of the Enlightenment, which was born and developed in Europe, the heartland of Christianity, seems to be living a huge lie. Apparently, it is willing to integrate outcasts (migrants, illegal immigrants, the homeless, convicts …) into the European and western village, but effectively it is unable to do so. And why is this? Because it should be looking into itself and questioning itself, its actions, what it is becoming and exporting to other regions of the world, but it doesn’t have the guts, or better, we don’t have the guts, to do so.

Migrants are the lepers of the twenty-first century, of the here and now. Society has no greater places of exclusion than the so-called “reception” camps, which, at times, are nothing less than modern-day “lagers”, places where we can confine and conceal our hypocrisy and our selfishness.

Extending the boundaries of our village to make room for the outcasts, updating its rules, becoming a true global village – this is the path that the Pope, today, has shown us once again, with his highly symbolic, yet also very concrete, visit. Because the Pope has said that he wants to give voice to those with no say in society, who are prisoners of an uncertain, even horrible, future … Extending the borders, knocking down the walls, globalising solidarity: these are the last scraps of dignity we can hang on to.

The world and the christless or, worse, listless and indifferent, West, prey to individualistic spiritualist fads, without a shred of charitable empathy, incapable of sharing and donating, must know that Jesus himself was cast out, rejected, forsaken. The Messiah himself, he who was awaited by the prophets (and not by the powerful, or those who just wanted vengeance), like a discarded stone. The child Jesus and the Holy Family of Nazareth lived like migrants, even refugees we might say, for many years before being able to return to their homeland.

Today Pope Francis has reminded us once again, with ever greater strength, that Jesus came to awaken the conscience of the outcasts of today, urging them to stop considering themselves as legitimately cast out, because God is on their side and they must never lose hope. Woe, instead, unto the inhabitants of the village, if they shut themselves inside their walls: woe to the Scribes and Pharisees of today.

Jesus has – once and for all – sanctioned the collapse of the rock on which the enclosed village is built, adorned with its modern evanescent and empty temples: “Not a stone will be left here standing”, unless it becomes a global, caring and open village, open to everybody in the name of our common humanity. We ask the Lord to give us the humility and courage to flatten the walls of the camp, open its gates and extend its boundaries, otherwise we ourselves, and our children before us, will be overcome and stifled by the unassailable fortresses we have raised.


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Exemplary servants of the gospel

Pope Francis pilgrim on the road of Father Mazzolari e Father Milani

In Bozzolo, Pope Francis was welcomed by the Bishop of Cremona, Monsignor Antonio Napolioni, who immediately announced that the process to beatify Don Primo Mazzolari will start on 18th September next.  The Pope then went to the Parish of Saint Peter’s to pray on the tomb of Don Primo Mazzolari where he made a truly memorable address speaking, among other things, of the  “magisterium of the parish priests”.

In Barbiana he was welcomed by Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, Archbishop of Florence and where he also wished to pray at the tomb of Don Lorenzo Milani on the fiftieth anniversary of his death.  In church he met the Prior of Barbiana’s students and then gave a commemorative address in the forecourt of Don Lorenzo’s vicarage which will be very difficult to forget. His educative passion represented faithfulness to the Gospel and to all those who were entrusted to his care, said the Pope.  He then added: “today, the Bishop of Rome recognizes in that life an exemplary way of serving the Gospel, the poor and the Church; take Don Lorenzo’s torch and carry it onwards”.

Don Primo Mazzolari and Don Lorenzo Milani, are ” two priests who offer us a message which we truly need today”, said Pope Francis last Sunday during the Angelus prayer.

Recently, from many places in and outside the Church there have been various analyses and comments on this pilgrimage of the Pope.  Some have spoken of “rehabilitation”, others of “homage” for two priests who were always in the front line of their ministry.  Whatever the right interpretation, it is a good thing to leave room for the facts.  Pope Francis knelt before two great protagonists of the Church and Italian society in the twentieth century, recognizing in them a Church which placed itself at the service of the poor and announced the Mercy of Christ for everyone.  

This act of kneeling is of strong symbolic importance.  As we all know very well, Don Mazzolari and Don Milani were not short of “enemies”, as today there is no shortage of these for Pope Francis. They are enemies of  various origin, especially ecclesial ones and among these there are those who, at the first breath of wind, change flags, ready to change again whenever necessary. It’s like listening once more to the story of St. Paul when he recounts his experience of: “perils among false brethren”    ( 2Cor 11,26).  Opposition to the Church of the Poor and the Last is very active on the web and in some traditionalist blogs.  They accuse the Pope today, as they accused Don Primo and Don Lorenzo yesterday, of having thrown the Church into doctrinal, moral and pastoral confusion. Curiously, these blogs speak to each other, quote each other almost as if they were young Fathers of the Church. In reality, it is these defenders of an old church,  a church that no longer exists, who are in confusion today, who have been an elitist community for much too long, without any  sensitivity and  ignoring different voices, ignoring the poor. During the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, some lay and clerical pseudo Catholics reduced a part of the Church to a cavern of thieves  behind the backs of the two Popes, carrying on their business intrigues with the powerful people of the times, betraying the Gospel for a few pence; scheming with both the gay and financial lobbies, contracting out all evangelization work to the ecclesial movements, humiliating the parishes and the people of God; pseudo Catholics who defend principles by which they do not live and judge the dramas of people to whom they don’t listen, with whom they share nothing.

It is of paramount importance that we return immediately to the Church of Mazzolari, Milani and Pope Francis who divulge the Gospel with the Spirit of the Council, to attract not to proselytize.

It is with the strength of the prayer of Jesus and the Church as a whole that Pope Francis is undertaking his pastoral mission to bear witness to his brothers in the faith. He started off, as we all know, from the “outskirts”, from the island of Lampedusa, indicating to the world the centrality of both physical and existentialist outskirts.

Today, in Bozzolo and Barbiana, Pape Francis affirmed that the eye of the needle through which we need pass in order to speak to God is the outcast.   Every day, the cries of the outcast strike us, louder and louder,  “overturning” our Church pews, calling our attention back to essential things.

The Pope reminds us that the “Good News” of Jesus is not a new philosophy but the answer to the desire of all men throughout the ages: to be loved and free from slavery.

Whoever cures the wounds of the world, defends his people, teaches true freedom, excludes no-one a priori, is in the very heart of God.

Pope Francis, who came from the “end of the world”, today turned his face towards the entire world and the entire Catholic Church by indicating these two priests as models of the Gospel.

The Gospel reminds us that the Good Shepherd knows his sheep. Pope Francis has made the “ odour of the sheep” the perfume of all missionary works. And it is the odour of the sheep, says Pope Francis, which can reawaken the Church, people’s suffering and solitude, their desire for life and redemption, the frontier on which to build the field hospital which is the Church.

Let us thank the Lord for the gift of Don Primo and Don Lorenzo and let us ask the Spirit to give us the strength to carry on teaching the Gospel with their courage and coherence.  Let us also ask the same Spirit go give us the humility to ask for forgiveness, as baptized persons, as lay persons, as priests and as the Italian Church, from these two great witnesses of Christ.

From today onwards, after this pilgrimage made by Pope Francis, unless the Italian Church, and indeed the entire Catholic Church, follows in the footsteps of Don Mazzolari and Don Milani, it will be a Church that disobeys the Spirit and Peter.


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We do not love in words but with facts

Reflections on Pope Francis’s Message on the World Day of the Poor.

On November 19th, in the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, the first World Day of the Poor will be celebrated by the entire Catholic Church and by men of good will,  which Pope Francis had already announced at the end of the Jubilee of Mercy. On that day as a sign of sharing, after having celebrated the Mass in St. Peter the Pope will invite 500 poor people to lunch in the Paul VI Hall, the audience hall bearing the name of the great pope of Populorum Progressio. The previous day (Saturday 18) there will be a Prayer Vigil in the Church of St. Lawrence outside the Walls, to remember the Roman martyr who recognized the poor as a true treasure in the church.

I invite the whole Church, and men and women of good will everywhere, to turn their gaze on this day to all those who stretch out their hands and plead for our help and solidarity.  They are our brothers and sisters, created and loved by the one Heavenly Father. “(Message for the World Day of the Poor to No. 6).

We do not love in words, but with facts” is the title of Pope Francis’s first message for this day. The Pope speaks of “a thousand faces marked by suffering, marginalization, oppression, violence, torture and imprisonment, war, deprivation of freedom and dignity, ignorance and illiteracy, medical emergencies and shortage of work, trafficking and slavery, exile, extreme poverty and forced migration.“(n. 5).

It is not surprising the fleeting attention, even within the Church, to the proclamation of this world day. Not surprising but bitter, and we are all called to react strongly to indifference to the poor.

Those who have a lot of money and a lot of security are likely to live like the “carefree of Zion” spoken by the prophet Amos, and a whole world is being built, and even if there are thousands of Lazarus at his door, he does not even realize. The rich man of our years sometimes finds out and then makes some alms for the poor, gives some old dress that no longer puts, even though it does not have the Lazarus disorder at its door.

In all the Catholic Church, the parable of rich man is often read but tomorrow Lazarus will be as it is today without any changes. Unfortunately, Jesus’ message has often been imprisoned in the system and we have made it a little harmless; the message doesn’t affects our real life. This is the abyss of which the Gospel speaks. We also all see that the abyss between the Lazarus and the rich man has widened and is widening to a great extent.

We have for centuries determined that we cannot allow the promiscuity between those who are inside and those who are out. Lazarus must be out of the system and from our cities, using the Bible expression, out from the camp. Lazarus then is not only excluded but must also be convinced that it is normal so and  that is right. Exclusion affects him in consciousness.

Our society, however, says that it is inspired by the great principles of Christianity, the Enlightenment, and the Democracy, and then it tries to accept (perhaps not truly)  Lazarus the excluded, but it fails, because it should review its own principles constituent. Immigrants are the Lazarus of the twenty-first century and we only know how to widen the moat.

Christians and all humanity do not forget that God is on the side of the Lazarus, indeed God in this world is Lazarus. Jesus went among the uncleanness to teach them to stop being unclean, and looking at our cities and our system Jesus explained that the real Lazarus, the real immoderate, is our system. This is the Christian Revolution. Jesus came to wake the conscience of the excluded because they ceased to be considered legally excluded, because they know that dignity is their inalienable right. The system then tried to tame Jesus by “promoting him” as a guardian of the order, failing because He went  against a system that excludes, rebellion against political, religious and economic power. For this reason he has been crucified as a Lazarus any: “As a criminal you have hung on a wood” says Peter in the first speech after Pentecost. The Beatitudes tell us that the Lazarus have already won in Christ their battle of dignity. They are meeting us now, and they are millions. They do not want to destroy, but tell us the Word of Salvation that was entrusted to them. Blessed the Poor because yours is the Kingdom of God will tell Jesus. Yours is the secret of life.

Riches are not an end, but an instrument in the hands of men. Often riches have become an iniquitous tool because man has used it to dominate other men and subjugate entire peoples to control some elites. We have arrived in history even to the planned and calculated extermination of the poor, as the prophet Amos recalls. Thanks to God, the cultural progress of peoples is favoring a growing awareness of the need for a fairer distribution of the riches of the planet. Some international organizations and some of the more developed nations are struggling for new social equilibrium, but the battle is still very long and difficult. Jesus invites his disciples to be “shrewd” in the use of riches. He asks for each of us a different relationship with riches both individually and in community. For this reason, the private gesture of alms no longer suffices; we need to act so that wealth can become an instrument of liberation and reconciliation among peoples; this is the concreteness of the gospel, which by its nature is a social fact. History teaches us that not a few have moved away from the Church and the faith because they have received a bad testimony in the use of money and wealth. We are witnessing these years as Christians and citizens of the world with two very important facts. Pope Francis is witnessing the concrete possibility of a poor Church for the poor, and it is an extraordinary gift from the Lord, an example that stimulates us for new conversion. Moreover, at the same time, we are witnessing the fact that many poor people are – we would say so-resuming the gospel, often hidden behind them, in words of circumstance and humiliating alms. The poor today are aware that the gospel is first and foremost for them, and are no longer willing to wait for their rights and dignity. We carefully read and meditate in this regard the prophetic words of Don Primo Mazzolari, a poor priest among the poor to whom Pope Francis will honor, praying on his grave in a few days:I have never counted the poor because the poor cannot count; the poor embrace, they do not count. Yet there are those who keep the statistics of the poor, and they are afraid; Fear of a patience that can also be tired, afraid of a silence that could become a scream, afraid of a lament that could become a song, afraid of their rags that could become a flag, fear of their tools that could be barricaded. ” This is already happening.


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Eucharist bread for all

 

“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes”

The earliest text on the Eucharist – the Letter to the Corinthians (53/57) – speaks to us about the fact that the Eucharist is in connection with the death of Jesus. The Lord is dead delivering himself and allowing himself to be taken from his enemies. Celebrate the Eucharist wants to teach us how to live. We hate to lives by giving ourself  as did Jesus and as also did the apostles. A Church that thinks to defend itself, is no longer a church.

It is the Gospel to live by delivery and it is the path to be fulfilled to have eternal life. We celebrate the Eucharist “as long as he comes”, waiting for him to return, believing that death has not defeated him, because those who live by giving for love have a stronger life than death.

The Eucharist is a way of life, not a rite. We are all very concerned at the risk of reducing the Eucharist to a private, intimate devotion, as if everything could be resolved in the exclusive relationship between myself and the Lord, closed to others and history. There are two current dangers in this regard.

In the book of Deuteronomy, we see the danger of nostalgia of other times: the people with the hard cervix resists the Spirit. Even today we have some people like that, resent the times of tranquility and of triumphant church, when the churches were full, and the lavish liturgies, the imposing ostensors to “suffocate” the fragility of the Sacred Ostia; Times which were, however, of injustice, of power, of money, of clericalism, where Christ was not there.

The danger of spiritualism And the bread that I will give is my flesh.God’s life is not outside of human reality. There can be no gift of the Spirit where there is also the gift of the flesh. Jesus specifically says in chapter 6 of the Gospel of John: “Whoever meats my flesh.” The chewing verb in Greek is very strong and means “shredding, shattering”. The Gospel is not an ideal, but the concordance of bread and flesh.

imageLuke’s Gospel in the tale of the multiplication of loaves and fish also offers us a very important indication

Everyone ate and satiated, and twelve baskets were carried out of their advanced parts.

There is no one who, coming to the banquet of the Messiah, is forced to return to fast. Indeed, there are loaves that are reserved to those who are left out of the canteen. We think, and pray, for all Christians living in a state of persecution, and can not celebrate the Eucharist; Pray for those who can not approach the sacraments and await the mercy of the Lord and the Church, not the hardness of the law; We pray for churches on mission land, where the priest arrives once a month; Pray for all those who have never met who the Lord, and also for those who have gone away for our fault and our contradictions. Let us pray because at the table to which Jesus wanted to sit, there really is a place for everyone, and no one is excluded, no one is missing; Perhaps then that will be the day he will return.

 


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When praying say Father

For nearly two millennia Christian prayer was within the daily rhythms of individual and social life, had its deadlines, its rituals, its prescriptions, but also its hypocrisy. For example, we can think to the medieval rite of Carroccio. In that period, the Italian municipalities, before joining a battle, deployed a wagon on which the Eucharist was celebrated, and immediately afterwards war began killing each other. This example reminds us that symbols and rites are not enough to identify prayer.

Jesus’ words say what prayer is. Jesus gives us the model of prayer, a simple thing, that in its simplicity casts light on our often complicated way of praying. Praying means recognizing our needs and our fragility to be creatures. In fact, strong and superb men do not pray but rather they are praying. Prayer then expresses humility before God and in front of other men. “When you pray, say, Father” is the simple imperative of Jesus. All the prayers of Jesus begin with this word Father. With God we have not to use the words of His divinity (eg the omnipotent). The word divine and human is Father, because Jesus has come to restore the relationship between the Father and us children in the Son. Jesus then gave us a single guarantee as a fruit of prayer; The Father will give the Holy Spirit. What does the Spirit need? The Spirit is the love of the Father and of the Son for each of us. God responds to our prayers by not leaving us the laws to obey and by giving his Spirit, guiding us infallibly in our daily lives. In this regard, the liturgy today offers two significant verses:

“I must go down and see whether or not their actions fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out “(Gen 18,21). We have to learn looking at our personal history, and we have to see the world with the eyes of the Spirit and not with those of the law. We find every day that confidence and serenity that the Lord promised us giving His Spirit.

In Christ, God also gave life to us, “obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims, which was opposed to us, he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross (Col 2:14). We ask the Lord in prayer to help us to remove the prescriptions that humiliate man and are a barrier to mercy. Be humble  people who are preventing mercy, appealing to pseudo-doctrine or to a pseudo-tradition that instead represents men’s precepts as Jesus told. These people are not able to pray and do not know how to love.


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The Spirit sends away the fears of the world

The Cenacle, which had seen the Apostles witnesses of the Lord’s Supper, is the place where they had been together to hear His Word many times and now the Cenacle becomes a refuge, a hiding place “for fear of the Jews” as the Evangelist John remembers. And the Acts say to us, “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together.” (Acts 2: 1).

We have to remember that the Apostles in Jerusalem had few friends because they had been opposed to religious and political power, and they were considered  fanatical followers of one of the many messianic factions of the time. They threatened their lives to just preach that Jesus was the Son of God who was truly dead and truly resurrected. And in fact, the Acts tell us that soon the first martyr arrived: Stephen, who is stoned.

Today what are our fears, which make us lock in our groups? If we exclude the Church of the martyrs who, as we well know, still exists in many parts of the world today, we notice that there is also a strong temptation in the Church and among Christians to lock in an elite, often sectarian, excluding the world, seen as evil and an enemy of which to be afraid, and therefore tends to judge rather than love. It may happen that sometimes our faith, our Christian community, our ecclesial group, instead of being a space of fraternity and proclamation of the Gospel, turn into an impregnable fortress, where those in the interior judge the ones outside and also exclude them . “Outgoing Church” according to the teaching of Pope Francis also means not to be afraid and not to judge, but on the contrary be strong in the faith and widen the spaces of welcome.

he-qi-pentecost1

It is in this climate of fear and closure that breaks the Spirit. “And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were.” (Acts 2: 1). In that cenacle that has become closed and frightened, the Spirit intervenes, acts and transforms it, changes the hearts of those deceived men and recreates a new fraternity extended to the ends of the earth. That is why everybody was talking in their native language, always remembering the Acts.

Even today the Spirit calls us to look forward, to open the spaces of our heart, to listen to the Word. The Gospel is not a script to be copied, the Church is not a museum to guard. The Christian community of the origins had the courage of the Spirit to welcome the un-circumcised, dared to write the Good News, and it was pilgrim to the boundaries of the known world. Today, it is our time to transmit ‘the Gospel that we have received’, without fear, shame, and wherever we go in this globalized world. “The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name – he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” (Jn 14:26).

It is not a simple thing to witness the Church of Pentecost, because it is the Church of Joy (as the Blessed Pope Paul VI reminded us) but also of martyrdom. Nobody feels that we have not have to pay a price, even personal. On the contrary, living the gospel of sacred habits, locked in the sacristies, hidden behind the smell of incense is undoubtedly easier. The Spirit instead calls us to risk the paths of life, to walk the way (ódos), just as the Gospel is called in the Acts of the Apostles. The hardest language to speak is that of who we meet, who is facing us, who will be against us, perhaps believing they do well. The Spirit teaches us to talk about that too.


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Mary Queen of China Our Lady of Sheshan

Last Sunday, Pope Francis at the prayer of Queen Coeli, asked to join the prayer of Chinese Catholics, on the feast day of May 24, the World Prayer Day for the Church in China instituted by Pope Benedict XVI.

In the Sheshan Chinese Shrine, where the Virgin Mary “Help of Christians” is highly revered by Catholics in China, Mary presents her Son to the world with her arms wide open in a gesture of love and mercy. Love and mercy are the main roads where the gospel walks and incarnates in the great Chinese world.

Each year in the sanctuary thousands of Chinese pray especially at the feast of Our Lady of Sheshan, who is also the patron saint of China. Pope Benedict XVI wrote the prayer to the Virgin of Sheshan, entrusting her all over China and the church in China. Benedict XVI had entrusted in the letter to the bishops, the priests to consecrated persons, and to the lay faithful of the Catholic Church in the People’s Republic of China, requesting that the day of the liturgical memory of Our Lady of Sheshan on 24 May become a worldwide day of proximity and prayer for the Church in China.

The church dedicated to the Virgin was built in the 19th century and is located on top of a hill just a few kilometers southwest of Shanghai. The devotion to Mary in China has always been and still is today a determining factor of unity in the church.

We ask, in this Easter time, at the thresholds of Pentecost, to the Spirit to break forth once again in the beloved China Church. The Spirit calls us to an original and always new identity to which we must leavewith confidence. The Spirit tells us that Jesus Christ is not a guardian of a fortress, He is not a reference point of the past, He is not the stool of any egotism, even ecclesial, but is the guarantee for the future.

We know that even in the church in China, there is no future without memory. Our memory, however, can no longer be made by professions of faith proclaimed with the sword in hand, with the tendency to excommunicate others who do not think as us.

The unity of the Church in China cannot be done in accordance with a criterion of selfishness and with the desire to raise other barriers, widening further the “Jericho moat”. It has to be done with the help of the Spirit and with the prayer with Mary. The language of Christianity is a universal language; it is a language of unity and not of uniformity; The Spirit teach us to speak this universal language, even in the great Chinese nation