Easter message from Bishop A. Musialek
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Go and proclaim
An Easter message from the Bishop of De Aar Diocese,
Bp Adam Musialek,
for Easter 2017
Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Risen Christ,
“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad. Alleluia” (Easter response).
Why shall we rejoice? Because Jesus is risen.
Why shall we be glad? Because He gives us new life, a life with Him in eternity.
As to Mary of Magdala and other women, who came to the grave of Jesus, so to us as well, the angel directs the words: “Do not be afraid. (...) go quickly and tell his disciples”, tell your friends, neighbours and others, “he has been raised from the dead”. JESUS IS ALIVE!!!
It is not expected of us to do something unusual or impossible or too difficult. I think that it is a something quite natural to share with others the joy and happiness that is in our hearts. We do this quite often, not even realizing it.
These words of the angel echo the words of Christ himself: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel" (Mk 16:15). Through the Church, these words addressed to the Apostles concern every baptised person because, by her very nature the Church is a missionary community (cf. Ad Gentes, n. 2). She is continually impelled by this missionary thrust which she has received from the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost: "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses" (Acts 1:8). In fact, the Holy Spirit is the principal agent of the Church's entire mission (cf. Redemptoris Missio, III).
There may be a number of questions arising in this context of “Go and proclaim...”. Who should go? Where shall he or she go to? How shall he or she go there? What shall be proclaimed? To whom shall be proclaimed? How shall this message be proclaimed? All these questions are valid and important and we have the right to ask them. But, we also have the duty to answer them and respond to each one of them in a constructive way because we are disciples and followers of the Risen Christ Jesus.
Who shall go?
This is a question concerning not only a specific person: a bishop, a priest, a monk, a nun/sister, a religious or a consecrated person. It concerns each one of us as baptised in the name of the Holy Trinity. It concerns our own vocation and all these specific vocations named above.
“The harvest is abundant! – said John Paul II - But, although there are many young people seeking Christ, there are still few apostles who are ready to proclaim him in a credible way. There is a need for many priests, teachers and educators in the faith, but there is also a need for young people inspired with a missionary spirit, because it is young people who ’should become the first apostles of the young, in direct contact with them, exercising the apostolate by themselves among themselves’ ( Apostolicam actuositatem, n. 12). This is a basic principle of educating in the faith. Here, then, is your great task! Pray for new vocations to the priesthood. Encourage young people to respond to Christ’s call to the service in the Church as priests and as Religious. They are needed. Blessed are the families dedicating their children, sons and daughters, to the service of God.
As members of Christ’s body, we are responsible for other members of the Church. There are some members that stay away from the Church. For many different reasons they are no longer coming to the services, they do not participate in our celebrations and they are physically alive but spiritually dead. What do we do about them?
Where shall he or she go to?
The mission lands in which we have been called to go are not necessarily located in distant countries, but can be found all throughout the world, even in the everyday situations where we are. These could be our own homes, our schools, work places, our neighbourhoods. It is enough to look around ourselves.
How shall he or she go there?
This is not a question about our transport but an inner attitude. The Easter Joy shall be our main motivation in our apostolate. A sad apostle is a weak and untruthful apostle. Go with joy, with a conscious awareness what you going with: a Good News of the Risen Christ, a new hope for the future, a message of God’s Mercy.
What shall be proclaimed?
Being a disciple of Christ is not a private matter. On the contrary, the gift of faith must be shared with others. For this reason the same Apostle writes: "If I preach the Gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it!" (1 Cor 9:16).
Proclaiming means — becoming one who brings the Word of salvation to others. There is indeed much ignorance about the Christian faith, but there is also a deep desire to hear the Word of God. And faith comes from listening. St Paul writes: "And how can they believe unless they have heard of him?" (Rom 10:14).
To whom shall it be proclaimed?
There are so many of the members of our Church who abstain from participating and sharing our faith; there are others totally inert to the matters and life of faith; there are others who neglect their knowledge and development of their faith. Finally, there are others who do not know Christ yet, even in our midst.
There are sick and elder people who need a new hope and those neglected and rejected who need a concrete help. All of them need to hear about, to learn about, to experience Christ being present among them, in their daily struggle with the Christian living.
How shall this message be proclaimed?
Proclaiming Christ means above all giving witness to him with one's life. It is the simplest form of preaching the Gospel and, at the same time, the most effective way available to all of us. It consists in showing the visible presence of Christ in one's own life by a daily commitment and by making every concrete decision in conformity with the Gospel. Today the world especially needs believable witnesses.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, you who love personal authenticity so much and who almost instinctively condemn every type of hypocrisy are able to give a clear and sincere witness to Christ. (4)
I invite you to reflect in the light of faith on the figures of the apostles and missionaries who first raised the cross of Christ in our country. Try to draw from their example the zeal and courage to face up better to the challenges of our time. (5)
This Easter time falls within the Centennial celebration of the apparition of Mary in Fatima. Therefore, the whole – let’s say – program of our Go and proclaim enlisted above, I entrust to Mary, our loving Mother and Mother of Perpetual Help. May she teach us that to bring Jesus to others it is not necessary to do extraordinary feats, but simply to have a heart filled with love for God and one's brothers and sisters, a love which impels one to share the priceless treasures of faith, hope and charity. (6)
With these words of encouragement and fraternal love, I want to wish you all a happy and holy season of Easter, praying that the Risen Lord will enlighten the heart of every believer so that you will be able to shine the light of Christ into a waiting and wanting world. May God our heavenly Father, through the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary, bless all your families and all those who are dear to you.
Yours in the Risen Christ,
Bishop Adam Musialek
Diocese of De Aar