Sunday, January 24, 2016,
Akamasoa mass was celebrated once again with great joy,
After two Sunday where we had named 419 small children.
The Church was full, although many godfathers and godmothers, from outside during these past two weeks, were not income.
In our church we just raise the roof and this gave more light to our prayer and gathering space.
Now you can see the multitude of brothers and sisters who meet every Sunday to listen to the word of God and receive the body of Christ.
For more pictures click on the image
The Gospel, I've read this Sunday, was just the beginning of Jesus ' public action: after his baptism in the Jordan, Jesus returned to Galilee in his hometown of Nazareth, and the day of the Sabbath, he enters the Synagogue where he is given the book of Isaiah to make reading. By opening this book, it reads the passage where it is written: the spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me by anointing, it got sent carries the good news to the poor, announce to the captives their release to the blind that they end up the view, release the oppressed and announce a year of grace given by the Lord.
And Jesus added: today is accomplished this passage of Scripture you just hear (
Lk 4: 18).
I was so happy to hear this message which will be the life of Jesus, and I followed in the priesthood.
It is this Jesus, friend of the poor, this liberating Jesus, this Jesus, full of humility and courage which brings freedom to the oppressed that seduced me at the age of 15-16.
This Sunday, I went to sit in the middle of the crowd, and it is, as Jesus did, among the people of Akamasoa I did my homily, eyes closed to draw more concentration and more deeply understand these words of the Gospel. I believe that this first homily of Jesus in a synagogue, to the people, is the shortest of all the homilies he will deliver. An example for us priests not dreaming or add phrases literary, theological, or even scientific, we do often to seduce the audience, when in fact it is the holy spirit that should inspire us and speak through us. When the spirit speaks, just a few very concrete sentences drawn from daily life that the faithful are achieved in their hearts and their minds.
I said then to my 7 000 present brothers in this Eucharist: "Dear brothers, when he spoke to his brothers in Nazareth, Jesus had no distinctive habit. "He did not stay at the lectern to address the crowd from the top down, but it went to sit in the middle of the people which he emerged to tell them: today the Scriptures are fulfilled.
This humility of Jesus the son of God made man, who did not come with the force of power, nor money, nor of any prestige, but with the strength of the spirit which he was anointed by God, to bear witness to the truth and love.
It comes to mind that the God of Jesus is a God who surprises us all the time, a God who travels with his people, a God that cannot assign to final residence or attach in any century or withhold in a temple, so beautiful may be, because no temple cannot confine his spirit of love and freedom.
And I can't forget the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman, these words which struck me from the earliest age: but the hour is coming, and it is already coming, when the true worshipers will worship the father in spirit and in truth; because these are the worshipers that the father
(Jn 4: 21-23).
I understood this Sunday, sitting in the middle of this people of God which I am part, the novelty brought by Jesus was so great that no generation could grab it or understand it fully. And this novelty is recalled to relive every generation, until the end of the world, when it will take place.
This novelty, we the baptized on behalf of Christ, we have never really assimilated it into our minds and our hearts, we don't have never put it totally in practice, because we hesitate, we fear and shame that will think and say people; because it bothers also expose themselves, because denouncing injustices causes exclusions, and that defending the oppressed brings trouble and persecution including our brothers in faith, in Syria and Iraq, testify, we prefer to make low-profile and "peace".
This new Jesus that appears in this reading, we will seek our whole lives and the generations that come after us will do the same.
But I felt this Sunday, with this people, such harmony, a joy that find it me difficult to describe, but I lived for almost 3 hours, during the time where we all listened to the word of God and celebrated the Eucharist.
Before finishing his homily, I asked all the brothers and sisters put their right hand on the shoulder of their brother next door, and thus constitute a chain of friendship to feel that we are all, together, the body of Christ, the living Church today, here and now. A gesture can mean the unit a few times much more than long speeches. And we know how much we need this unit, this friendship and this communion during the Eucharist. At this time, the joy of the children and the faithful present was palpable, because a spirit hovered above but also within each of us.
Thus, at the end of the mass, sister Malagasy, missionary in Cleveland (USA), said, when he was given the microphone: I felt here like in heaven
. Another sister, Congolese, of Akamasoa crossing said: I did not know that such a place existed, a place of such a joy
. And a French family after mass outside the front door: If in France there was so much joy in a mass, people would pray
In all humility, I would say to my brothers the priests: when we chair the Eucharist, it is by grace, and only free grace given by God, without any merit on our part.
It is not we the priests, but Jesus who brings together the Assembly of brothers and sisters who are all disciples of Jesus baptized in his name, who all also received the anointing of Holy oil (SC), this particular sacrament to all Christians, and who made this people a people of priests, prophets, a royal people.
Why we are we, we the priests, so distant from the people of God, by creating a gap between the people and the priests, when both are one body without any distance?
This distance was not intended by Christ, but we are men that have created you with this mentality of pagan culture remained in us. Many pagan cults, indeed, were grafted in our liturgy, and we have enshrined them in extreme, making the people of God a spectator, watching without participating, which comes there than to perform an act of presence on the day of the Lord. And it may be one of the reasons that explain that many churches to be flushed from their followers, because there was so little friendship, fraternity and communion in our Eucharists.
We have no magic formula to attract and convince those who are also far from grace and the love of God, the temptations are great, those money, power and the misunderstood sex, that make us all lean towards selfishness, everyone for himself and indifference, and that form then individuals it is difficult to turn to prayer and worship of the God of love.
Each, we priests and each loyal, we need personal conversion to follow Jesus. Never and nowhere in the world, it will be easy to attract people to accept and live the Gospel. Because there is always a self-denial to, an effort to acceptance of the other as his brother, even other race, culture and civilization, as well as a gift of his life for the one you love; and it will never be easy.
But we know from experience that where there is joy, participation, sharing of resources and the brotherhood, people come for themselves. But this joy, this fraternity are created with imagination and effort, incomprehension and pain.
Jesus went through there, it has been disputed, insulted, misunderstood, but he persevered to the cross, where he suffered and assumed all the evils that attack humans. He defeated in his own flesh the evil that is the formidable opponent of every human being.
And it is from his resurrection that changed everything, because all we are saved by this resurrection which was given to us for free as a gift of God's love for each of his children, these children we are. And this resurrection that we celebrate every Sunday should really look like a community of resurrected: such a community has a face happy, bright, full of joy and hope, of brotherhood and love, all this must be read on the faces of the brothers and sisters present. Of course this may be only beautiful greeting, but there are places on Earth where these communities exist.
This is what we try to do at Akamasoa, with young people, children and adults, with all the brothers and sisters tourists coming from different nations, each Sunday, for 20 years. And every Sunday is a new liturgy, a new life of God that we are trying to live and to understand in our hearts and our minds.
Every Sunday, we live the novelty of the word of God and the spirit of Jesus to Akamasoa.
In all humility and simplicity, we say to you as Jesus said to his Apostles: come and see.