“Go and announce the Gospel” (Mark 16:15-20)
Dear Brothers, members of the Nazarene Fraternities, Aspirants to brothers, Educational Communities, Christian Communities, Catechists, and friends of the Sa-Fa Family:
Receive my affectionate Easter greeting this year as we prepare for the celebration of our 38th General Chapter. In this Easter and Congregational context, we are invited to live with the joy of the Gospel the essential mysteries of our faith. Following on from the theme of our next Chapter, the Pope reminds us that “joy” is the most eloquent sign of the passage of the Gospel through people’s lives and the most eloquent witness of a Christian in his daily work. Therefore, let us take advantage of this orientation to analyze what is in us of routine or sadness in order to change it into novelty and joy.
Therefore, in this greeting I propose to ask you about the “joyful steps of the Gospel” that we personally or communally have to take in the personal, community, family, social or educational spheres. To believe in the resurrection of Christ and celebrate it with joy is to trust that good can triumph over evil. The newness of Easter is a beautiful news that changes the lives of all who believe in Jesus and commits Christians to spread the message of the Gospel
“Go and announce the Gospel, is a kind of preaching which falls to each of us as a daily responsibility. It has to do with bringing the Gospel to the people we meet, whether they be our neighbours or complete strangers. This is the informal preaching which takes place in the middle of a conversation, something along the lines of what a missionary does when visiting a home. Being a disciple means being constantly ready to bring the love of Jesus to others, and this can happen unexpectedly and in any place: on the street, in a city square, during work, on a Journey” (EG 127). This way of announcing the Gospel invites us to make visible in our lives some signs of the Risen Christ, among them: joy, peace and hope.
The ecclesial framework of recent months has highlighted the evangelizing attention that we must give to young people. In union with the Church, let us announce that Jesus wants to be present in the hearts of all young people and, following Venerable Brother Gabriel, let us make the commitment to accompany them in the classrooms, in the playgrounds, in catechesis, in the social networks and in the environments where young people live. Being in their midst identifies us with our vocation and recalls our mission.
Three attentions I propose to you to live this year’s Easter:
Walking together: Walking together and not alone or on your own. We must know how to be in Community, in family, in Educational Community or in pastoral groups in order to walk as a Sa-Fa Family. Communion is the way and the strategy of success for the resolution of problems in our lives. Our educational and pastoral action is always a community experience that involves religious, educators, parents and learners. Education and evangelization must be a common and shared journey. Thus, one of the best gifts we can offer to the members of the Sa-Fa Family as a fruit of this Easter is to foster in us family bonds and relational virtues.
Letting us allow to be evangelized: The “go and announce” begins when we contemplate the world with the eyes of the Risen Jesus. Therefore, the first condition for speaking about God to others is to speak personally with Him. Mission begins with the personal conversion of those of us who have the responsibility of proclaiming Jesus Christ. Some truly evangelized heralds will be credible and effective, because they will speak with their lives, rather than with their words.
Practicing some work of mercy. Love and mercy tend to be projected into concrete works, gestures and signs “every time you did it with one of these, my little ones, you did it with me…”. We all accumulate shortcomings and limitations that claim the generosity of others. How many people live in need of the means necessary to live with dignity! How many people live in need of affection, companionship, education or health! How many people feel excluded, isolated, empty, lack of comfort, of hope, of orientation or moral and spiritual abandonment! And how many teenagers are victims of bullying in schools!
Celebrating Easter is an opportunity to go out of ourselves and meet the other, the one wounded by life, the one who lacks what is necessary, the sick, the elderly or the excluded. As disciples of Jesus, we are called to “bear the marks of Christ” and to incarnate on earth the values of justice, peace and love. Among them, we can incorporate one more value that is being asked of us by our next General Chapter and that is in harmony with Easter: joy.
Dear brothers and sisters, united to the whole Church, let us celebrate Christ’s Passover and look to the future with the conviction that the Lord walks with us, shows us his merciful hands and offers us his new life in the sacraments.
Happy Easter of Resurrection!
Br. Juan Andrés Martos Moro, SG