Monday, October 5, 2015
The XVIII General Chapter of the Comboni Missionaries on the theme “Comboni missionary disciples called to live the joy of the Gospel in today’s world” was held from August 31 to October 3, 2015, at the General house in Rome. It ended on Saturday, October 3, with the Eucharistic celebration presided by Fr. Enrique Sánchez González. During the homily, Fr. Enrique pointed out some of the words already taken into consideration in recent days, such as courage, joy and hope. He invited every Comboni missionary to renew the experience of the love of God, the source of our missionary commitment, to proclaim with even greater joy the Gospel to the poor and to the outskirts of suffering. “The Lord has not tired of us – he said – He is still with us ... and the best is yet to come.”
We publish here a summary of the homily of Fr. Enrique.
A month ago, we gathered here to begin our XVIII General Chapter. Everyone arrived from the missions and carried in his heart the desire to live a Chapter that was not a break in his life, but a special time of mission. In the opening address, I reminded you that we were in Mission, a particular and unique mission because it was about listening to God, listening to Him through the voice of reality we share in our circumscriptions with so many people who are for us the face of God.
Today we find ourselves here with a heart full of gratitude and thankfulness because the Lord has been once again loyal to the appointment.
"You can tell everyone that the best is yet to come",
said Fr. Enrique Sánchez [in the picture].
The Chapter in Rome ends today, but the mission received has already started as we undertake our way back to the many mission areas that await us as witnesses to a grace and a gift that has been granyed us in recent weeks.
What have you seen, what have you experienced, in what way has the Lord touched your hearts? These are some of the questions that our confreres will ask us in the coming days. Like the 72 disciples of today’s Gospel, we can answer these questions not with great speeches or lengthy explanations ... It will be enough that our confreres perceive the joy that we carry in our hearts, because we feel strengthened in the gift of our Comboni missionary vocation. As we return home we can say that the Lord, in these days, has guided us, making us understand that the mission is his, that he is happy to have us as his collaborators and that he intends to continue to make use of us in showing his love through our smallness and poverty.
What have we seen?
That our mission is still full of challenges and it has become an urgency that requires an even more joyful and radical commitment. Faced with the immensity of the Mission, the Lord renews his promise of nearness and fidelity; so take heart. We have seen that the mission is based on the person and we felt challenged, recognizing that we are on a journey and that we will complete our effort to grow so that we may become the persons the mission needs.
We are the persons who live the mystery of God in our flesh, experiencing the infinite that inhabits us and the limits that remind us of our belonging to this humanity of ours, with its dramas but also with its beauty. We are people called to live with our gaze fixed on the Lord, as Pope Francis told us, contemplatives who recognize his face in the face of the brothers and sisters that we encounter in the mission.
We have seen that the mission is not only a question of strategies and programs, because the situations and challenges of today’s world call us to a responsibility that it’s realized by better coordinating our forces, our resources and our abilities.
Tis coordination does not mean the skills we will use to offer a new arrangement to what we are and have, but the ability to live the creativity inspired in us by the power of the Spirit.
They will ask us: what was the novelty of this Chapter?
You can tell everyone that the Lord has not tired of us, that he is still with us ... and that he has looked at us with mercy. Also tell everyone that we lived a beautiful and joyous time of fraternity, communion, gratitude and appreciation of our diversity. Say that we felt as a family, where one can strongly feel the holy and paternal presence of Saint Daniel Comboni. You can tell everyone that the best is yet to come.