“We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20)
Dear Confreres, Sisters and members of the Redemptorist Family,
This Sunday, October 24, the whole People of God celebrates World Mission Day. This year, Pope Francis invites us to reflect on our experience of encounter with Jesus our Redeemer – ‘what we have seen and heard’ – so that we can participate more joyfully and actively in the mission of the Church. As the Holy Father reminds us in his message: “No one is excluded, no one need feel distant or removed from this compassionate love.”
This year’s theme and focus calls to make our own the words of Evangelii gaudium: “The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew. In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come” (EG 1).
May all of us joyfully accept this invitation to witness to the joy of encounter with Jesus our Redeemer in our wounded world today!
Our world is deeply wounded. This is clearer today than ever. The Covid 19 Pandemic continues to threaten the lives, health, and even livelihoods of so many vulnerable people and their families. The climate crisis and ecological disasters point to the wounds humanity has inflicted on our common home. Political and humanitarian crises continue to erupt into violence in many countries. It is this wounded world which is so loved by God that he sends his Son as our Redeemer. It is this world, our common home, in which we are called to witness to what we have seen and heard.
In the service of this mission of hope, Pope Francis inaugurated the “synodal path” of communion, participation, and mission on October 10 at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Last weekend, every Bishop inaugurated this journey in each local Church across the globe. Bishops and laity, priests and religious men and women, young and old, we will walk this synodal path together for the next two years leading up to the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome in October 2023.
Pope Francis has specifically asked that all religious – priests, Brothers, and Sisters, together with lay partners – participate in the synodal path in their local Churches. The General Governments of international congregations like the Redemptorists will also participate together with the other General Governments – male and female – in preparing our contribution to the Synod. I invite all of you to please take part in this journey in the parish, diocese, and community where you live.
As we continue to walk our own ‘synodal path’ towards our 26th General Chapter, may the Holy Spirit guide us and enlighten us. We walk together, accompanied by Mary, our Perpetual Help, together with St. Alphonsus and all our holy confreres.
In Christ our Redeemer,
Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R.