El Shaddai celebrates 24th anniversary
at Vredeskerk, Amsterdam
El Shaddai is an international catholic charismatic community, widespread in the world and present in our diocese in Amsterdam and Amstelveen. The annual celebration in Amsterdam is every year a beautiful day of prayer, reflection, meeting each other and of course the Eucharistic celebration. This year the 24th anniversary was celebrated and we prepare for the silver jubilee next year on the 22d of november.
El Shaddai is of Filipino origin and even today most of its members have this background, but of course the celebrations are open to everyone; Mass is celebrated in English; every sunday at 2.00 p.m. and every wednesday at 6.30 p.m. El Shaddai comunity has its Mass in Vredeskerk, Pijnackerstraat, Amsterdam.
This year many had come for the celebration that started already at 9.00 a.m. I came for the Mass at 4.00 p.m. The church was very crowded, pilgrims had come even from Paris (two busses) and from Belgium (one bus) and the celebration was really joyful and festive.
Down below you find my homily for this occasion
A Living faith
Dear brothers and sisters,
It is a joy for me to be with you
at your annual celebration!
I hope for all of you
this celebration will contribute
to a living faith with joy and peace.
I pray that the Lord may renew and strengthen
your desire to be a good instrument
in the hands of the Lord
and help you to live
a truly Christian life.
Yes, be a witness to the gospel
in your daily life!
We need, especially in our times,
people, real catholic Christians
who live a missionary life.
Don’t be afraid!
What is a christian like?
What should be the attitude
of a Christian?
How could we characterize
the essence of a catholic life?
Of course our first and most important answer is:
look at Jesus.
Try to imitate Him,
ask yourself: What would Jesus do?
Do the best you can to be like Jesus!
Talking about others...?
Today’s parable was addressed to those
who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else.
This in fact is something
that happens quite often.
Most people for instance
find it more easy to confess the sins
of their neighbours
and the people with whom they live,
than to discern and confess their own sins and shortcomings!
Sure, they can tell you
their successes, their ventures and their good results,
but talking about ones failures
is a lot more difficult!
We also would be quite capable
to mention the defects in the characters
of the people around us
but only a few people have a clear insight
in their own weaknesses and peculiarities!
Still they are there!
We are not perfect!
We are ordinary human beings.
Why go to confession?
Some people say: Why would I go to confession?
What wrong do I do?
An examination of conscience
can help those who do not see any wrong
at the first sight:
overlooking our day,
hour by hour, step by step,
we may be able to reflect a little more...
Our intentions: were they really always the best?
Our words: were they really always respectful?
Our deeds: were they self-centred or Christ centred?
Out of love
Realising yourself that you are not perfect
is not a highway to sadness and depression,
on the contrary!
It is a road to humility,
a path to discover God’s mercy and love,
a help to rely more on the gifts of the holy Spirit
and to realise ourselves
that God out of love for you and for you
- yes: for all of us -
and that He sacrificed Himself for you, for us at Calvary,
out of love.
The happy sinner
So, be glad to be a sinner!
Because, since you are a sinner,
you are truly redeemed by our Saviour.
He came to us
because we are sinners.
If you are not a sinner,
you don’t have a need for redemption,
in that case Jesus did not come for you!
Don't forget the Lord said:
“I have not come to call the righteous,
but sinners." (Mt. 9, 13).
“O, God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”
These were the words
the tax collector pronounced in his prayer
in today’s gospel
and he went away justified!
So, our first and principal mission is
to be humble.
Pride makes people sin.
Out of a desire to be greater than God
Adam and Eve picked the forbidden fruit.
Who humbles himself or herself
will be saved.
The Lord of heaven and earth
came down on earth
He led a humble life
and died like a criminal,
innocent though He was.
The Borromeo-family in Italy
was very rich and powerful.
But if you visit the Borromeo-islands
in the Lago Maggiore,
you find it everywhere:
That is the motto
in their code or arms:
So, they were mighty
and they wanted to be remembered everywhere
that they had to be humble.
The greatest of gifts
Yes, let us stand before the Lord
we are here
because we want to receive
the greatest of gifts.
It is a free gift by a loving person,
we have no right to receive God’s gifts.
We are here with open hearts and open hands,
like the tax collector in today’s gospel.
A humble heart will be able
to receive this greatest of gifts:
it is a humble Lord we receive
under the species of bread and wine,
He comes to us,
simple, low and humble.
Let us be inspired by His example.
If we approach Him
with a humble heart
He will bestow upon us
the abundance of His gifts.
We’ll never walk alone...