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Please, write a beautiful book of life!

El Shaddai Amsterdam anniversary celebration

overweging_preek - gepubliceerd: zaterdag, 4 november 2017
with volunteers and priests
with volunteers and priests
Please, write a beautiful book of life!
Please, write a beautiful book of life!

On the 4th of november El Shaddai chapter Amsterdam celebrated its 22nd anniversary with a day of prayer, reflection, life testimonies and inspirational talks. Representatives of El Shaddai Chapters from different countries were present as well as the inter­national coordinator, sis. Mae Hartberg. The ambassador of the Philippines gave a message and I was there to celebrate Mass.

El Shaddai gathers for sunday Mass in the church of "O.L. Vrouw koningin van de Vrede" in Amsterdam and this too was where the anniversary celebration took place. El Shaddai is a catholic charismatic renewal movement that is spread in many countries including the Netherlands. Most of its members in the Netherlands have Philippine roots but certainly not all of them. I noticed that also a number of dutch people joined this inspirational movement.
It was a beautiful day, well organised with a nice programme for the whole day and nice singing by the El Shaddai gospel music ministry.

 

HOMILY

Transition

Dear friends,
brothers and sisters,
We celebrate this El Shaddai chapter,
its 22nd anniversary,
in a very special week.
We celebrated All Saints days
and we honoured and commemorated
our departed loved ones on All Souls day.
Around us in nature
we see the leaves of the trees falling down,
it’s getting colder,
autumn has come!
All this remembers us
that life is transition.
If you are young,
a future ahead,
life on earth seems to be endless;
when we get older,
we notice how fast the years pass by...

Book of life

Our earthly life is like a book,
that we are writing
and that God is writing with us;
we turn the pages,
filling them with all kinds of episodes and events.
At the end we will consign it
to the owner of it all,
to the one who gave us the mission
to write this beautiful book of life,
God our heavenly Father.

I hope we will all be writing
a really beautiful book,
that the Lord may give us strength,
that He may
enlighten our souls and spirits
to be able to fill our book of life
with many, many prayers,
good words, good deeds,
with faith, hope and charity.

What was lacking?

In today’s gospel
Jesus is a guest
in the home of one of the leading Pharisees.
They were religious leaders,
but something was lacking
in the attitude of most of them.
They saw there being a religious leader
as a position of honour,
that entitled them to all kind of privileges,
but the real spirit of
loving and serving the Lord
from their hearts,
was not so much there.
It was more a career they were pursuing
than a gift to the Lord
and a service to His people.

Service and love

Our book of life will be most beautiful
if our lives become
such a gift and a service,
out of love.

If we really want to do so
- and I hope you all feel a desire
to love and to serve -
we have to stop putting ourselves
in the centre of attention.

The first part of the programme

That is not so easy
in a society like ours;
we are told to enjoy, to have fun;
all kinds of pleasures are presented to us.
But what makes our lives worthwhile
is the love we have given to others,
the love we have given to God.
We live only once, that’s true,
since life will not be taken away
it will be transformed, by the grace of God.
Our life on earth
is the first part of the programme
and the second part will be done
in the light of the first part;
hopefully for all of us
in heavenly beauty and splendour and joy.

The Lord will not abandon His people!

Saint Charles

Today’s saint is Charles Borromeo.
He was a prince, born in 1538,
member of a rich and important family.
When he was only 21 years old,
he was made already a cardinal
and important positions and missions
were entrusted to him.
He was really a high-ranking religious leader
and his uncle was the pope!
But then his brother died at a young age
and this changed him profoundly.
He had experienced
how vulnerable we are
and mortal...
He started to pray more and to meditate
and he wanted to give his life out of love
for his people.
He took as his motto: “Humility”.
An epidemic plague came in
and he started as a bishop and cardinal,
to take care of the many sick
in a very humble way.
That’s how he died,
out of love and in service of his people.

The lowest place

What a beautiful book of life,
he wrote!
We do not remember him
because of his being an important prince,
but because he was a saint!
He became a humble, serving man,
instead of pursuing a career
and putting himself in the place of honour.
That is what Jesus tells these religious leaders
in today’s gospel as well:
take the lowest place!
Try to serve and to love,
to live in faith and charity
with an eye for God’s mercy.
Who humbles himself
will be exalted in life hereafter.

Mary

The blessed Virgin Mary is our example.
She was a lowly handmaid.
God chose her,
but she remained humble
and serving with love.

She said and repeated
throughout her life:
“I am the Lord’s servant,
May your word to me be fulfilled.”
Let us ask today
on this beautiful anniversary day
that the holy Spirit
may guide us and give us strength
to repeat these words
together with Mary, caring Mother to all of us:
“I am the Lord’s servant,
May your word to me be fulfilled.”
Amen

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