“All Saints” door bisschop opgericht als allochtonen-missie
Op de derde zondag van de Advent was ik voor de heilige Eucharistie bij de All Saints om het decreet van de Bisschop voor te lezen waarmee deze Engelstalige gemeenschap werd opgericht als “quasi-parochie”, missie voor de west-afrikaanse gemeenschap in ons bisdom. Het decreet werd met vreugde ontvangen, want deze (quasi-) parochie heeft daarmee de mogelijkheid gekregen om een eigen kerkgebouw te kopen.
Nu kerkt All Saints nog in de Boom (H. Franciscus van Assisie-kerk) aan de Admiraal de Ruyterweg in Amsterdam, maar zij hoopt te kunnen verhuizen naar een lokatie in de Bijlmermeer. We hopen van harte dat alles voorspoedig mag gaan.
Een “quasi-parochie” is een gemeenschap van gelovigen die in het algemeen de rechten en plichten van een parochie bezit, maar (nog) een aparte status heeft, zodat eerst gekeken kan worden of de gemeenschap voldoende bestendig is en voldoende kan groeien. Dat wensen we deze Engelstalige parochie natuurlijk van harte toe: dat zij mag uitgroeien tot een stevige ‘boom’.
Hieronder de homilie die ik bij deze gelegenheid heb gehouden.
Dear brothers and sisters,
It is with great pleasure that I am here
to announce and proclaim
that your community has now been officially erected
by the bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam
as a so-called “mission”
for west-african people,
which gives All Saints the rights and duties
of a parish.
It is a sign of trust and recognition
that the Bishop wants to show you
and it enables you
- when you have enough financial means -
to acquire your own parish-church.
So, I really congratulate you with this new step,
in my own name as well as in the name of Bishop Jozef Punt,
our diocesan Bishop,
and I hope and pray
that your community will flourish
and attract always new members,
and that you always may experience
especially in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist,
the presence of the Holy Spirit,
and the redemptive power
of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
May the Lord always be with you,
may He protect your families,
your parents and grandparents,
your children and grandchildren
and all who are dear to you!
May He give to all of you
in His mercy,
that one day you will be
praising the Lord and enjoying His presence for ever in heaven,
that you may attain the goal and destination
for which the Lord out of love
has created you.
He loves you,
He wants you to be His dear child,
be proud of this election!
He has entrusted to you and each of us a specific vocation
and I hope and pray that we all may be able
to discover and follow that vocation,
trusting that the Lord who created us,
gives us the power we need
to fulfill the beautiful plans and desires
God has about our lives.
Advent is a season of expectation,
of looking forward to the coming of the Lord.
So, let us be people of expectation, of hope,
of faith and trust:
we never, never walk alone,
not even in our darkest moments!
Hope is there, always,
because He is there;
faith will make you strong,
love will unite you with God who is Love.
Our holy father, pope Francis,
launched his new Apostolic Exhortation
about two weeks ago.
It is called: “Gaudium evangelii”,
that means: “The joy of the gospel”.
And this is the joy of the gospel:
that even where there is suffering and pain,
still there is hope;
even where there is persecution, oppression, war,
still there is love.
They never leave you
when you have faith in God;
and through faith you will conquer everything,
till you obtain the final victory:
everlasting life and happiness
in the presence of our God and Saviour.
So, this is my wish for All Saints mission
and for all of you:
Live a life of Faith, of hope and charity
and God will give you courage,
He will be with you.
In today’s gospel we hear about Saint John.
He is a righteous and courageous man.
He proclaimed the coming of the Lord,
but he was put in jail
and will now have to die as a martyr.
We all experience that it is more difficult
to keep up hope and faith and courage
when we are in trouble,
when we feel down and deserted.
This is true even for bishops!
It has now been almost two weeks
since we, dutch bishops, met with our pope Francis.
He listened carefully
to the words of our cardinal
who told the holy Father that we
in the Netherlands,
live in a very secularized society
and that many people don’t go to church any more
and that we have to close down
Then he was silent for a while,
before he continued.
“You must feel very sad about this”,
pope Francis replied,
“You might feel like the Jewish people
who saw their beautiful temple in Jerusalem destroyed,
while they were sent in exile.
They were tempted to look back and just be sad,
but they had to look forward,
to have faith and courage and hope,
because the Lord would prepare them
a new future.
When we feel discouraged, when we are doubting
we are not alone.
Such a great figure as Saint John the Baptist
had feelings like those.
In today’s gospel he feels himself tempted to be discouraged
and to doubt his faith in the coming of the Lord.
He was sent to prepare His coming,
but now he was in prison.
He sent therefore some of his disciples to Jesus
and the Lord answered them but not directly.
Jesus didnot say: “Yes, I am the one”,
but He said: “Look at the signs:
the blind regain their sight,
the lame walk, ....
the deaf hear ...
and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them”.
We should do like Saint John
and we ‘ll hear the same answer:
If you feel down, discouraged,
losing your faith, your zeal, your inner joy:
Go to Jesus!
Put your questions to Him!
Bring your feelings to Jesus,
possibly with the help and the prayers of others
who are near to you.
send your disciples to Jesus,
that is: ask others to pray for you,
let them bring your petitions, your doubts,
your feelings and darkness
This is very important.
We need others to help us,
You’ll get the same answer:
Look at the signs,
recall the moments in your life
where the Lord touched you,
a swift, gentle touch it was
or a sudden turning point in your life;
don’t forget what He did to you,
how He was there after all even in difficult times.
We are preparing to celebrate Christmas,
the feast of the coming of Our Lord in this world;
welcome Him with faith and love.
May He always be with you,