WITNESSES OF THE REDEEMER:
In Solidarity for Mission to a Wounded World
“Through this total dedication to the Mission of Christ, Redemptorists share the self-renunciation of their crucified Lord, the virginal freedom of his heart, and his whole-hearted offering of himself for the life of the world. They must therefore become signs and witnesses before people of the power of his resurrection, proclaiming the new and eternal life”
Dear Confreres, Sisters, Partners in Mission, Associates and friends:
As we celebrate the great mysteries of our Redemption during Holy Week and Easter, it is a great joy to greet you and to offer these brief reflections. Constitution 51 captures the very heart of our missionary vocation – we are called to participate fully and whole-heartedly in the paschal mystery of Jesus our Redeemer so that we become living signs and prophetic witnesses of the power of the resurrection!
The Gospels remind us forcefully that the power of the resurrection does not erase the wounds of the crucifixion. Jesus continues to bear these marks in his body, and on his soul. He invites Thomas to touch them, and to place his hand in his wounded side. As the Theme for this Sexennium reminds us, it is in this wounded world that we are called to witness to the power of the resurrection to heal and transform, and to accompany those who suffer with compassion.
As Holy Week began we were confronted by the news of the terrorist attacks in Egypt, which followed closely on the attack in Stockholm, and the news of chemical attacks and air raids in Syria, and violence in so many parts of this wounded world. Ukraine, Venezuela, Philippines, Congo, Syria, Iraq and so many other places call us to a new solidarity in mission among all people of good will. The fear of refugees and migrants in Europe, the United States, Australia, and among so many other nations, calls not for building walls to keep people out, but for a prophetic witness to compassion and welcome.
The power of the resurrection does not ‘rescue’ us, as if by magic or miracle, from the wounded world which we call home. Rather, the experience of the resurrection of Jesus empowers us to embrace this world with compassion, to accompany those who suffer with hope and understanding, and to forge new bonds of solidarity among ourselves and with the abandoned and the poor. It is the wounds of the Redeemer himself whom we touch in the wounds of the world. And the Redeemer also touches our wounds with healing and peace.
Like the women in the Gospel for the Easter Vigil, we are ‘fearful yet overjoyed’ as we go forth to announce the power of the resurrection to all our sisters and brothers. May his peace and his joy touch and transform us all! May Mary, our mother and our Perpetual Help, accompany us on this journey of prophetic witness! Wishing you all a blessed and joyful Easter.
Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R.