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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Eyes that search

Reflections on Gospel of III Ordinary Sunday, Year C

don Francesco

The eyes of all were fixed on Him” is the way the evangelist Luke narrates what happened after Jesus had proclaimed the Word from the scroll of Isaiah.

We also know from the Gospels that Jesus desired to see Zacchaeus and Zacchaeus desired to see Jesus. Ultimately, Christian life is the outcome of these glances. God and human look for each other because they have nostalgia for each other. It’s not a Christian life to look at oneself and never at others. It’s not a Christian life first of all to look at one’s own sins. It’s not a Christian life to look at only at norms or regulations. Jesus first of all looks at the person and his needs that which he lacks to be fully human. All of us must always recover a positive look at ourselves and at others, to grow in our image and likeness of God.

Jesus, then, calls you by name, loves properly you with your personal history, your contradictory aspects, your joys and your sorrows. I would like to enter into your house and sit at the table, to live not with a judgment but with a profound intimacy. The Christian life is an intimate relationship with God the Father, revealed by Jesus on the other hand, not a list of humiliating sins to be confessed nor a mortifying punishment to be expiated. The love of God, His mercy are the foundations of everything and prevents everything. “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Not tomorrow nor after the resurrection but today, in daily occurrences, in breaking every day’s bread we already enjoy the presence of God, we enjoy the presence of the Spirit in the anticipation of the ultimate fulfillment.

Those who had fixed their eyes on Jesus felt loved by Him as one day felt by Peter and Paul, woman aught in adultery or the born blind person, Zacchaeus, or many others as narrated in the Bible.

Feeling loved is the real beginning of the conversion which has its foundation in Christ. The ‘conversions’ based on norms or moral principles result in fanaticism, rigidity or elite form of pseudo Christianity. Those who feel  loved by Lord, find the strength to break open pessimism and are no more slaves to their poverty but become free humans.

There’s need to live the life of grace, which is life in accordance with Beatitudes with free hands and heart that feels loved, ready to love.

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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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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.


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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A light on our weakness

Thoughts on the II Sunday of Lent 

The First Reading on the second Sunday of Lent  from the Book of Genesis talks about the vocation of Abraham, called upon to set out trusting solely in the Word of God.  We, too, like Abraham are called upon to leave our land. We are at an historic time when crossing the land from the old to the new world has become vital.  Our Western land, our Europe of the cathedrals, is under siege by millions of people seeking dignity and safety. It is not rhetoric to affirm that a new world is being formed.  A Church that still wanted to stay closed up in Noah’s Ark during the deluge, i.e. an Eurocentric Church strong only in its own certainties and traditions, would simply be out of step with the times.  Even worse it would be shut off from the pain of the world.  This pain of the world is illuminated by the light of Jesus which today in Chapter 17 of the Gospel according to Matthew  unveils, for an instant, His Glory.


Following in Jesus’ footsteps, all Christians are called upon to share the faith in that common territory, among all the latitudes, among all believers and non-believers, that is suffering.  «Jesus alone» in the Transfiguration, which ends with the anticipation of Easter, is only a man among other men.  But it is in that “weak” Jesus, tempted just like us by everything, lives the Glory of God. In Jesus alone and abandoned by everybody, God reveals His Glory and tells men and women that weakness is the home of God.

This is why we must pursue our Lenten journey with trust and confidence in God; life’s hardships do not diminish our Easter momentum because the Lord lights them with His glory and asks us to always know how to recognize His saving presence both in and outside us.

“It is good”, says Peter to Jesus.  Let us start anew from goodness;  even if life is not always easy, it can always be happy if we live it with Jesus, if we know how to understand ourselves and others better with a compassionate eye.

The many things we have to do, preoccupations, the  “noises of the world” often prevent us from listening to the tiny whispering sound by which God makes his presence known. (1 Kings 19,12).

To live a good and aware Christian life requires us to listen to the voice of God within and among us.  God moves our lives, he takes care of us. Nobody is excluded, nobody is left out.

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There can be no feasting without our sons and brothers

Fr. Francesco Pesce

God showers His blessings on the honest and the dishonest alike, He causes rain to pour on both the just and the unjust. However, He has a predilection for lost sheep, the stone cast aside, the prodigal son. This we must never forget, as Christians, who realise that we are ever in need of a new conversion, and as the shepherds of God’s people.

The Lord Jesus bears witness to the fatherhood of God, Who has sent His Son to rebuild a world according to the measurements of love, where even the lost sheep, the stone cast aside, the prodigal son are the object of the Father’s care, attention and mercy. A Father Who wants us all to be saved – as Pope Francis answered to a child in the recent book edited by Father Spadaro, SJ.

The Gospel for this Sunday of Lent recounts the well-known story of the prodigal son. Conversion does not mean becoming prodigal sons: it means overcoming the antithesis between the two sons, between virtue and sin, between those within and those without, and to overcome it by means of a synthesis, which is the work of love, in which those who belong to the world of virtue go beyond themselves, towards the bewilderment of the son who left his father and squandered his possessions. St. Paul explains the situation well in the Second Reading: God has forgiven us by reconciling us with Him. Therefore, God expects us – and we too should expect it of ourselves – to forgive others. St. Paul even speaks of a “ministry” that God has entrusted to each of us.

Why this idea of conversion? Basically for three reasons. The first is that each one of us belongs, at one and the same time, to the world of both the sons of the Gospel story. No-oneshould live under the illusion that he or she dwells only in the house of virtue. The second reason lies in the fact of being sons, which is not a merit, but a fact, and we Christians also believe that it is a free gift of God. And we are all sons, by virtue of the gift of His mercy.

The third reason that should prompt us to go out towards the prodigal son, to those who have done wrong, is simply because Jesus did so. It is not a question of (purely formal) obedience to God (often viewed as a master) that makes a Christian, but but our likeness to Jesus, Which our merciful Father sent to save us; the Beatitudes, in fact, and not the Commandments, are specifically Christian.

We must learn to understand and accept those who become lost. And we must bravely search within our “virtues” for their often self-righteous and sectarian characteristics, in order to enter into another measure of human brotherhood, based on reconciliation, like St. Paul, a great sinner who later became the Apostle of the Gentiles, encourages us to do.

It is not sufficient to go and eat with sinners and then return to our homes; it is not enough to use the Gospel as a sort of unusual manual of good manners: this is hypocrisy. We must remove all the obstacles on the path of reconciliation and to transform the Father’s house into everyone’s home, where no one is cast aside.

The prodigal son must convert to virtue, the eldest son to mercy. The Father expects each one of us to undertake the never-ending journey of this double conversion. There can be no feasting, in heaven and on earth, if even only one of our sons and brothers is missing.


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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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Jesus is Risen! Alleluia!! Easter song as sung in a small town of India!

We are happy to publish the first blog post of Fr. Pinto, from India, another dearest friend of ours. He is such a wonderful person and very committed and always smiling priest. We often remember him and are grateful to him for great help he gave to us in our pastoral work. We miss him very much but we are happy to see that he is doing well in that great country of India. We are still in Easter time so that sharing this experience of him and his community is still relevant and meaningful.

Fr. Pinto Rockwin

For Christians, Holy Week, starting on Palm Sunday and ending with Easter Sunday (March 27 this year) is considered the source and summit of ecclesiastical and liturgical year. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday along with Easter Sunday – are called sacred Triduum whereby Christians commemorate the last days of Jesus here on Earth when he expressed his deep most love for His people through his passion, death and resurrection.

Here, I narrate these three-day experiences of a small town called Kulur in the city of Mangalore, India. The parish is dedicated to the patronage of St. Antony of Padova. On Maundy Thursday, reliving the cenacle experience of Jesus, for the first time, women were included in washing of the feet of the disciples as per the Pope’s directive (see photos). Priest who is considered as a an eminent figure in the society here, the washing of the feet communicates a very formidable message of service and humility as intended by our Lord.

On Good Friday, apart from the liturgical service as prescribed by the Liturgy, there is a particular custom in this part of the world. They call it ‘Bringing down Jesus from the Cross’. A group of persons come in with lanterns and climb the ladder first to remove the nails and then, to bring His body down from the cross followed by the procession of the statue of Jesus and Or Lady of Sorrows in the town (See images). Incidentally, this year witnessed the culmination of 25 years to this custom.

Finally, on Holy Saturday, the church filled with the faithful participated in the luminous liturgy of Easter night and renewed their Baptismal vows. People usually abstain from eating meat throughout the Lent season, thereby, day of Easter when the angels sing, ‘Glory’, peoples acclaim, ‘Alleluia’, they enjoy their fellowship meal in their families. Being a Catholic Priest from few months I sincerely experienced the profound significance of these moments which we commemorate every Sunday, on the day of the Lord.

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A God Who accepts us as we are

Homily of the Forth Sunday per Annum
Fr. Francesco Pesce 
It is not always easy to believe in the God of Jesus Christ. Sometimes it is easier to believe in a God that “distributes miracles”, a God whose love we need to deserve rather than a God that accepts us for whom we are.
Jesus, on the contrary, invites us to look at things more deeply and to see better. Our God is one that walks with us, that gives His help to a foreign widow in Zarephat, and that heals lepers. A God that walks with us daily and that does not look at our merits or memberships, but at our needs and, most importantly, a God that accepts and loves us the way we are.
Believing in a God that first looks at our merits or memberships results in representing a Church that defends itself, that excludes those without or with just a few merits to show off; a Church that becomes an elitarian and closed institution that does not receive nor attracts anybody but a few “elected”. A Church that is not able to influence everyday life, which passes just to the ring road of our lives, stopping in TV programmes or in the lobbies as appropriate.
On the contrary, believing in the God of Jesus Christ, who first of all look at our weaknesses and needs, translates into building “a Church which goes forth”, where pastors have the smell of the sheep (not only of the incense), and where no one feels excluded or left behind.
Around Jesus there have always been and yet there are groups of fanatical and violent people and also extremists that use religion and the Church for their own interests. Pope Francis knows this very well and recently warned against the fact that there are people that do not serve the Church but use the Church for their own interests.
This passage of the Gospel – “But he passed through the midst of them and went away” – represents an extraordinary warning to all of us and for the whole Church. Jesus passes over, He leaves. He leaves when faith joins forces with power; He leaves when clericalism prevails over the people of God and the Gospel. He leaves when the Gospel is reduced to the moral law and it is not its foundation, or when you defend abstract principles and concrete privileges instead of understanding and accompanying ordinary situations.
The Lord goes towards and remains where faith is simple and sincere; where hope is not rhetoric, but confident expectation of a promise that will be fulfilled; and where the charity is sensitive to the cry of the poor and reaches out to every brother, without judgment, pre-condition, or “preference of people.”

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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.