El Shaddai 18 jaar!
Viering Kerkwijding van de Sint Jan in de Vredeskerk
In de Vredeskerk in Amsterdam (O.L. Vrouw, Koningin van de vrede) vierde de Nederlands-Filippijnse gemeenschap El Shaddai haar volwassenheid met een dag van ontmoeting en gebed onder het motto: “Vandaag is dit huis heil ten deel gevallen” (Lc. 19,9).
Deze wereldwijde katholieke charismatische gemeenschap komt iedere zondag in deze kerk samen voor de heilige Mis. Voor deze 18e verjaardag waren ook gasten uit het buitenland gekomen, waaronder enkele bussen met pelgrims uit Parijs, en verschillende priesters die met de gemeenschap verbonden zijn. El Shaddai dat vooral in de Filippijnse gemeenschap wortelt, is een levende en levendige gemeenschap met een mooi koor. Tijdens de heilige Mis heb ik het zoontje Jerrol Jacob van de koorleider mogen dopen. Het was een mooi, inspirerend gebeuren deze gebedsdag! Vele vrijwilligers hebben er echt een feest van gemaakt!
We vierden de kerkwijding van de Lateraanse basiliek van Sint Jan in Rome.
Gospel: John 2:13-22
It is a great joy for me to be with you
and celebrate this beautiful day of the 18th anniversary
of the Dutch Chapter of El Shaddai.
For this day you have chosen the motto
from Saint Luke’s gospel
where the evangelist narrates
how Our Lord Jesus entered Jericho
and met with a deceiver, a sinner:
Zacchaeus, the rich chief tax collector ,
who climbed a sycamore fig tree
because he wanted to see Jesus.
The Lord saw him and said:
“Today I must stay at your house today”
Then Zacchaeus changed his life
and the Lord spoke these words
that are the theme of your celebration:
“Today salvation has come to this house”.
This is really a marvelous theme:
the Lord looked at this sinner,
despised by everyone around him,
and he picked out him.
This friendly, merciful gaze,
this opennes for this man in the sycamore tree,
changed the life of this tax collector.
Our Holy Father, pope Francis,
was commenting on these words last sunday:
If you have a burden on your conscience, he said,
if you are ashamed of many things you have committed,
please, don’t run away,
don’t get frightened.
Remember you that Someone is waiting for you,
because He never stopped remembering you.
And that One is your Father,
it is God who is waiting for you.
Do like Zacchaeus
and climb the sycamore tree
of your desire to obtain forgivenness.
I assure you, that you will not be disappointed.
Jesus is merciful,
He never gets tired of forgiving you.
In the depth of our hearts
we hear this voice:
Today I must stay at your house,
that means: in your heart, in your life,
I want to enter.
Let us welcome Him with joy,
He is able to change us,
to transform our hearts of stone
in hearts of flesh,
He can free us from our egoism
and make out of our lives
a gift of love”.
Today we celebrate
the dedication of Saint John Lateran’s basilica.
Maybe you have visited this beautiful church in Rome.
It is a very special church
because for centuries christians had had to live
in a hidden way;
often they were persecuted,
many suffered death
and gave their lives in martyrdom.
This was the first church that was build,
when the Roman emperor finally gave freedom
and equal rights to christians.
So, this is a day to commemorate with gratitude
that we can live our lifes
and profess our faith
We have to thank God
for the great gift of freedom,
for the precious grace
of being able to show publicly
that we are christians, that we are catholics!
O, how great would it be
if our christian people would have
just half the courage of these martyrs
to profess their faith.
Those martyrs were standing in front of judges and emperors,
they were threathened,
the had to face persecution and death,
but nonetheless the professed their faith
with love and conviction.
This basilica of Saint John Lateran is moreover important
because it is the cathedral church of the bishop of Rome.
No, not Saint Peters’s but Saint John’s
is since so many centuries the cathedral church of the pope.
Therefore today it is a special occasion
to celebrate with joy and gratefulness
our unity with the successor of Peter, pope Francis,
and to pray for him,
that the Lord grants him peace, strength and health
to accomplish his great mission.
Let us thank God for our holy Father
and sustain him and his mission with our prayers!
In today’s gospel Jesus drives out of the temple
all the money changers, the sellers of doves,
and sheep and oxen
that were sold there for the sacrifices
that were brought in Jersualem’s temple.
And all of a sudden He starts speaking
about the death and resurrection of his own body.
This all should bring to our minds
that we ourselves are temples of the holy Spirit
and that we all together are the mystical body of Christ,
that we are called to be holy, for Him,
that we are called to share in His mission.
Yes, we all are invited
to be a presence of Christ in this world,
to make Him visible
in our deeds and words.
Yes, this is todays message
that we all should say ourselves
time and again:
The Lord saw me
and He has entered my house,
He has changed my house, my environment,
in a church, a domestic church
a place where He dwells
and I became a part of His body the Church.
And that we should often say to Him:
Yes, Lord, I will do like Zacchaeus,
I want to give what I have,
my talents, my love, my inspiration, my capacities
and build your Church
with the grace of the Holy Spirit!
Just outside Saint John Laterans basilica
and linked to it,
we find a very old baptismal font
in a special chapel,
a place where in the fourth century already
many christians were baptized.
Having been baptized,
you would enter this magnificent church
and this made clear:
now that you are baptized,
you have been adopted by God
as His son or daughter
and you belong to His mystical body the church.
We are glad therefore that today we can confer
this beautiful sacrament
to Jerrol Jacob
and we pray that his life will be
a great contribution for the Kingdom of God.
Don’t be afraid.
Go and build
the Church of God.