Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Word of God is a Fact: It is the Person of Jesus Christ

-- H.E. Most. Rev. Filippo SANTORO, Bishop of Petrópolis (BRAZIL)

1.The Word of God is a fact: it is the person of Jesus Christ whom the Apostles met as he walked along the shore of the Sea of Galilee and whom the Church proclaims as one who can be met today in the paths of our life.

There is a challenge that this announcement has to overcome; the challenge is above all anthropological. And that is does this fact shows it is able to overcome space and time as something that does not fade away, that does not wear out and answers the desires of a man’s heart in a unique and singular way. Experience shows that things sparkle then fade with time: the Ancient Greek poet Mimnermus said “like the leaves that germinate spring” and along with him Arnault, Leopardi and the literature of all times. The ego also fades and what fascinated us loses its value with time, it is consumed or it no longer attracts us. The big question, which cannot be denied even by contemporary culture, is: does something exist that can fully realizes the needs of our hearts and that lasts in time, forever.

2. The dynamic of Incarnation presents us with the other challenge that it is important to study: the challenge of method. The Word made flesh indicates not only a content of salvation, but also a method by which the Apostles start to understand themselves. In the meeting with Jesus, something is awoken in them which had previously been sleeping and they begin to see the possibility of something positive in their future. The method drawn from Incarnation is, a theme which was developed in great depth by Father Giussani, witnessing the event in which the miracle occurs. In all the biblical meetings with John, Andrew, Zacchaeus, the Samaritan ... by following that man it was possible to encounter more, destiny, the Father. This same method continues after the resurrection through the meeting with the visible body of Christ, the Church, with Peter as its head.

During the V Conference of Aparecida, Latin American Bishops referred back to the opening speech by Pope Benedict in saying: “The very nature of Christianity consists, therefore, in recognizing the presence of Christ and in following Him. That was the marvelous experience enjoyed by the first disciples who, meeting Jesus, were fascinated and amazed by the exceptional person who spoke to them and who was able to provide answers for the hunger and thirst for life in their hearts. John the Evangelist gave us a graphic description of the powerful effect which Jesus had on the first two disciples John and Andrew when they first met Him. Everything began with the question “What do you want?” (Jn 1:38). This was followed by the invitation to live a new experience “Come and see.” (Jn 1:39) This description will remain in history as the only synthesis of the Christian method”. (244)

For this reason, as part of the current discussion on extraordinary ministries, we would like to make the observation that they, alone, cannot provoke the meeting, but can rather lead to an increase in bureaucratization in the Church. Only the action of the Spirit can call the meeting, and as Lumen Gentium 12 says, is at the source of hierarchical and charismatic gifts. Through charisms the Spirit shows how attractive is the face of Christ even for mankind today, arousing the sequence of the Word made flesh.

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