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 “second step”. Perspectives of the Pope’s visit to Colombia

During the traditional inflight  press conference on his journey back to Rome at the end of his pilgrimage to Colombia,  Pope Francis replied to a journalist’s question regarding the possibility of another  visit to that Latin American country one day, saying:“I would at least like the motto of the journey to be ‘Let’s  take the second step”.

Let’s take the first stop was the motto of this pilgrimage and we can truly say that the Pope maintained this impetus: now an entire people is proceeding down the difficult road to reconciliation with faith.

In Colombia,  announcement of the Word of reconciliation is particularly urgent.  We have been entrusted with the Word, the ministry of reconciliation, Saint Paul reminds us in his Second Letter to the Corinthians.

Widening the horizon of his reflection, the Pope also recalled that reconciliation with Creation is   urgent: «we are arrogant, we do not want to see. But the scientists are very clear about the human influence on climate change»

We are living at a time of growing awareness of man’s misdeeds towards Creation.  Creation is deteriorating around us, withering under our blows.  There is urgent need for reconciliation between man and the universe; we should also recognize that an exaggerated Anthropocentrism , often transmitted by a certain Christian theology, has encouraged bad behaviour towards nature. In particular, it is Western man, who is cutting down his forests, suffocating in urban pollution, polluting his seas, who must regain his respect and love of nature.

During this extraordinary pilgrimage, Pope Francis reminded us that the Church is the sign, the watchman who tells us that it is possible, indeed it is in the nature of man, the image of God, to put love at the foundation of the collective experience. Reconciliation with Creation, among men, among peoples, among religions, will not be negated by history, because in Christ the reconciliation has already begun. “God has reconciled us to himself  by Jesus Christ and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation” (2Cor5,18-20). Let us think about what has been entrusted to us ;we have not been entrusted with the ministry of war, of racism, of nationalism, of populism, of colonialism, we have been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation.

Saying this we immediately realize that it must be said with a penitential attitude: we are not a reconciled community; Christians are divided; within the Church itself there is the diabolical seed of division.

But why haven’t we been reconciled?  Why doesn’t the Word of God find its rightful place in us?  God said to the prophet: “Thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me”(Ez 33,7).  At times we have announced words which did not issue from the mouth of God; we have said many things, saying they were the will of God and instead this wasn’t true, they were – and at times still are today –  words of power, ideology, moralism, words that win and thus we have become ministers of division. We must not say words that win but words which save.

The Word of the Gospel does not make war, it is not a word that wins but that saves, that loves and reconciles.  We have been entrusted with this Word.  Faith is not a competition, or the defence of any structure, but the road to pursue in history pending full communion with God who will be all in all.

Once again it is the little ones, the children  who can be the true teachers of reconciliation, the Pope reminds us, summarizing a journey which had just ended: “What most impressed me about the Colombians: in the four cities I visited there were always crowds on the streets; fathers and mothers holding up their children to let them see the Pope and so the Pope could bless them.  As if they were saying: “This is my treasure, this is my hope, this is my future. I believe this. ”.  The tenderness. The eyes of those fathers and mothers. Wonderful, wonderful! This is a symbol, the symbol of hope for the future.  A people capable of creating children and showing. A people which is capable of producing children and then showing them, as if they were saying:  “This is my treasure”,  is a people who has hope and has a future”.

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“Let us take the first step”: Pope Francis in Colombia

Departing on 6th September and until the 10th, Pope Francis will be a pilgrim of peace and reconciliation in Colombia. As usual, last night Pope Francis went to the basilica of Saint Mary Major to bring a floral tribute to the venerated icon of Mary Salus Populi Romani and invoke Her intercession for his imminent pilgrimage.

Let us take the first step” is the theme of this apostolic journey because other first steps are required after the signing of the peace agreement.   The Government of Colombia and Farc signed a new peace agreement in Cuba last November which took account of some requests from the Front after the first agreement reached in August after 52 years of war was rejected in a referendum held on 2nd October last.

In the cities the Pope will visit – Bogota, Villavicencio, Medellin and  Cartagena – he will address  several issues: to be the artisans of peace, promoters of life; reconciliation with God, with the Colombians, with nature;  Christian life as Discipleship; human dignity and human rights.

On Friday in Villavicencio, South of Bogota, the Pope will beatify two Colombian martyrs: the Bishop of Arauca, Mons. Jesús Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve and a priest, Pedro María Ramírez Ramos.

Monsignor Jesús Emilio Jaramillo was killed on 2nd October 1989 at the age of 73, while he was returning from a pastoral visit to the town of Fortul. His car was stopped by three armed guerillas belonging to the Domingo Laín Front of the National Liberation Army (ELN) who kidnapped the Bishop; his body was found on the road a day later with several gunshot wounds and without his cross and episcopal ring. Pedro María Ramírez, known as the“ Martyr of Armero” was a rural parish priest, much loved by his parishioners; he was 68 years old when he was beaten to death on 10th April 1948 by a group of Liberal Party supporters in Armero-Tolima because he was considered to be «a fanatical and dangerous conservative».

The Pope will make twelve discourses in which – as highlighted by Cardinal Parolin, who will accompany him – Francis will confirm his brothers and sisters in the faith: “ The Pope’s visit to Colombia is of a purely pastoral nature, like all the Pope’s visits to various Countries and, therefore,  has the aim, the intention – let us say – of confirming and encouraging his brothers and sisters in the faith, of vivifying their charity and spurring them on to live Christian Hope.  Naturally, the papal visit comes at a key moment in the life of the Country as a peace process has begun after fifty years of conflict and violence and this makes it particularly important.”

Both Pope Paul VI and Saint John Paul II had already visited Colombia in 1968 and 1986 respectively. Today it is a Latin American Pope who is arriving to sustain and encourage the difficult path towards Peace following more than 50 years of war between the Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), after the signing of the peace agreements last November. However. the situation still hangs in the balance.

Pope Francis is visiting Latin America for the fifth time.   He was in Brazil in July 2013, Ecuador, Bolivia e Paraguay in July 2015,  Cuba in September 2015 and Mexico in January 2016.

As always we will accompany him with our prayers.

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The king is dead, long live the king!

Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States of America. The new president will swear his oath of office on the Bible; a private ceremony will be heldin the White House Blue Room, followed by a public ceremony on 20 January, traditionally held before Midday, when the President’s term officially begins. The oath of office of the President of the United States of America is traditionally taken before the chief justice of the US Supreme Court and reads“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States”.

The president will take the oath on the Bible. Traditionally, this is not just a formal act but has a profound meaning. Trump is also a very wealthy man. In the Bible, Jesus considers wealth merely a tool and warns us that it often becomes evil because men use it as an instrument of power and domination, even as a means  for exterminating the poor. We can all see how, worldwide,there is a planned and conscious effort to exterminate the poor. We have invested huge sums of money in producing weapons, as a result of which millions of people are killed. Regarding wealth, it is our responsibility to do what we can to transform it into an instrument for liberating mankind.

This is the biblical meaning of the love of God. Not empty words, but actual facts and solid commitment to achieve economic solidarity, social policies and an inclusive – not exclusive – welfare system, the awareness that the United States is a great country belonging to a global world, where there is urgent need for the globalisation of solidarity, not of indifference.

Let us pray for the United States of America and its new president that he may fulfil the Word of God, on which, in a certain sense, the entire American people take the oath, and live up to the Constitution and history of that country.

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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.