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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The Spirit breaks in to dissipate the fear of the world

Fr. Francesco Pesce

The Cenacle, where the Apostles had witnessed of the Supper of the Lord, where on many occasions they had gathered together to listen to His Word, becomes now a refuge, a bolt-hole, “for fear of the Jews” – as the Evangelist John recalls. And as the Acts tells us: When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together” (Acts 2,1).

It is worth remembering that in Jerusalem, the Apostoles did not have many friends, they had challenged the religious and political power, they were considered by most as fanatics followers of one of the many messianic sects in existence in those days. They risked their own lives purely for preaching that Jesus was the Son of God who had truly died and resurrected. Indeed, the Acts soon recount of the first martyr, Stephen, stoned to death.

So what are today’s fears which shut in our groups? Leaving aside the Church of martyrs, which we well know exits and resists to date in many parts of the world, we notice that in the Church and among many Christians is strong the temptation to withdraw in an elitarian faith, often even sectarian, pushing out the world, which is considered as evil, as the enemy to be scared of and to judge rather than love. It sometimes happens that our faith, our Christian community, our ecclesial group, rather than being a place of friendship and announcement of the Gospel, transforms itself into an unbeatable fortress, where those inside judge those outside keeping them out. A “Church that goes forth” according to the teaching of Pope Francis means not to be afraid and not to judge, but quite the contrary be strong in faith and widen the borders of brotherhood.


Image: Pentecost by He Qi


It is precisely in this climate of fear and closure that the Spirit breaks in. “And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, 2 and it filled the entire house in which they were” (Acts 2,2) In that closed cenacle room filled with fear, the Spirit breaks in, acts and transforms it, changes the heart of those disillusioned men, and creates a new brotherhood as far out as to the edge of the earth. That is why everybody was able to hear others speak in their own native language – the Acts reminds us.

Even today the Spirit calls us to look forward, open the boundaries of our heart and listen to the Word. The Gospel is not a script to copy and the Church is not a museum to protect. In its origin, the Cristian community had the courage to welcome in its bosom the non-circumcised, by being inspired by the Holy Spirit. That Church also had the audacity to write down the Good News and had been a pilgrimage to the end of the known World. It is up to ourselves today to pass on in the same way “the Gospel we have received”, without fear, without shame, and everywhere we go in this globalised 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” (John 14,26).

It is not an easy task to bear witness to the Church of the Pentecost as it is the Church of joy (as the blessed Pope Paul VI reminded us) but also the Church of martyrdom. Do not be fooled in thinking you will not have to pay a price, even personal. Quite the opposite, living the Gospel of the “sacred gestures” locked in the sacristy or hidden behind the smoke of incense is undoubtedly easier. The Spirit instead calls us to embark onto the paths of life, and walk along the way (odos) as the Gospel is called in the Acts of the Apostles. The most difficult language will be that spoken by those we come across with, those we are dealing with, those who are against us, perhaps in the belief they are acting for the good. The Spirit will teach us also this language.


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Let us announce and take the Gospel to the poor

Homily of the Third Sunday per Annum
Fr. Francesco Pesce
That Saturday at the Synagogue, Jesus took the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah and as the Greek text says, he found that passage after he had looked for it. In fact, the Greek verb is eurisko – from which the well known exclamation eureka! comes from. Jesus perhaps chooses a passage that was not expected to be read and instead He looks for and then finds purposedly to read it at that time.
It is Chapter 61 of the Prophet Isaiah:
The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
He has sent me to bring good news to the afflicted,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
release to the prisoners”.
What is this “good news” Isaiah refers to and Jesus echoes? The “good news” that the poor are waiting for (the poor are again the first ones this joyful announcement is addressed to) is the end of poverty. The prisoners await liberty, the blind are hoping to be able to see, and the oppressed desire to be relieved from their burdens.
In our world, we are witnesses (or often rather “willing” or “unarmed” spectators), to the many forms of poverty (material, moral, spiritual) injustice, abuse, disability, vulnerability…We ourselves, in our own lives, have our poverties too. We are prisoners of so many things and we are oppressed in some part of our hearts. But, as Isaiah predicted and Jesus reminded us: “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God…he comes to save you.” (Is 35) and “the truth will set you free.” (John 8,32). That salvation, that truth is actually the Lord Jesus, who is the fulfillment of Scripture, namely the realization of the “good news”. Therefore, it is important for all of us to have consciousness, to be sure that there is a reference point, a “Polar Star” to look at. We need to be aware that we walk across a path already traced and – using again Isaiah’s words – “smoothed out” by the Lord in the desert, sometimes the desert of our lives, our societies….We need to keep our eyes on him and follow him, by being led by the Holy Spirit, while being confident that we will not lose the way. Many times we look for something but we cannot find it (e.g. the solution to a certain problem, the answer to a question, the courage to make a choice …) because we only rely on our capacities,  we plan based on our reasoning, and we only consider our priorities…..We do not understand that we have to “overthrow” the way we think, see and do things: because first of all we have already been “found” by the Lord, and especially loved and “saved” by Him.
St. Luke continues to write: “Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, ‘Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing‘.”
Certainly we need to be informed., properly briefed; we must read, pray and meditate the Word of God. But after all that, we then have to close the “book”, “roll it up” as Jesus did, to put ourselves at the service of those who wait for their liberation and that have their eyes on us and expect from us a word of comfort, a clear stand on an issue, a gesture of hope, maybe even to break something…Let us remember what the Lord told us:  “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”
Today there are millions of children, women, entire peoples that are waiting for us and watching us. Thinking “smaller”, there are so many people who expect a response from us in our daily lives – our neighbors, colleagues, family members and the many poor who are on the streets of our cities…It has been for too long time that our Western world, our homes, and sometimes even churches look like the community of Ezra described in the First Reading. A community that was closed to the external world in its self-sufficiency and forgot the needs of the poor. Many people are awaiting their liberation and keep their eyes on us. We, as Christians, what are we doing?
Our role as Christians is first of all to contribute to building a society that is “liberated”. All of us are first of all baptized in the Holy Spirit Who frees the oppressed. We must feel the pressing urgency of this task, of this mission – the liberation of the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized.