Communion and Liberation – Rio de Janeiro Flyer
The tsunami in Japan left us all speechless: before such mystery it’s impossible to say anything. But, absurd as it may seem, one could feel some final relief in saying that that force of nature always imposes itself in history. But when a young man of 23 walks into a school and shoots 12 children, this is perhaps worse than a tsunami. It makes you want to scream in anger. It makes you shudder. There’s no meaning, except evil.
For those who have faith, there is a Mystery. What does it mean that we are before a Mystery -- a Mystery, the fact that God became man, and died, and rose?
This fact (the resurrection) for us, Christians -- practicing Catholics or sympathizers, agnostics and atheists – is such common knowledge that it has become a historical notion or a mythological tale. But we find it very difficult to use this fact as the criterion in our way of judging and looking at everything today, in today’s world. It is very difficult for us moderns to live it as a fact that changes our waking in the morning, our work, our looking at what happens, the beautiful and the tragic. But we moderns have an advantage: we are the ones now who have more need of Him, in the face of all that leaves us stunned and speechless in this Godless world; now we are those who have more need of God, of a God who died and rose and needs me. Not a far off God, who thus would’ve had no need to suffer and die for man, but a God who is a friend, who has compassion on my nothingness, gives me existence, and is my companion.
In the face of what happened in this school, we would like to put ourselves before two witnesses who tell us that it is possible to live with meaning, with the certainty of the presence of God made man, now, not in the afterlife, without censuring or forgetting anything. These words are the experience of two men who we want to look at; before this Mystery, we want to implore that our gaze may become like theirs, that we may have their same certainty in a Presence who is a friend, who exists now.
“‘If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain’ (1 Cor 15:14-15). The Christian faith stands or falls with the truth of the testimony that Christ is risen from the dead. If this were taken away, it would still be possible to piece together from the Christian tradition a series of interesting ideas about God and men, about man’s being and his obligations, a kind of religious world view: but the Christian faith itself would be dead. Jesus would no longer be a criterion; the only criterion left would be our own judgment in selecting from His heritage what strikes us as helpful. In other words, we would be alone. Our own judgment would be the highest instance. Only if Jesus is risen has anything really new occurred that changes the world and the situation of mankind. Then He becomes the criterion on which we can rely. For then God has truly revealed Himself.”
“The ‘event’ does not indicate merely something that happened and with which it all started, but what awakens the present, defines the present, gives content to the present, and makes possible the present.
What we know or what we have becomes experience if what we know or have is something that is given to us now – there is a hand that offers it to us now, there is a face that comes forward now, there is blood that flows now, there is a resurrection that happens now. Nothing exists outside this ‘now’!
Our ‘I’ cannot be moved, aroused, that is, changed, if not by something contemporaneous – an event. Christ is something that is happening to me.
Now, in order that what we know – Christ, the whole question of Christ – be an experience, there has to be a present that provokes us and arouses us. It is a presence as it was a presence for Andrew and John. Christianity, Christ, is exactly what He was for Andrew and John when they followed Him. Imagine when He turned around, how they were struck! And when they went home with Him... It has been just like this up to now, up to this moment!”
For this reason, we pray for the victims and their families who lost their beloved children, uniting in prayer with our Archbishop Orani and the entire Church of Rio de Janeiro.
Communion and Liberation – Rio de Janeiro