Thursday, July 7, 2016

Retreat: The Joy of the Gospel

The Participants with Bishop Rodrigo Mejia, S.J.

Our common intent fo this renewal program is “Rooted in Christ we rediscover ourselves for the joyful witness of the Gospel.”  From the 26th of June to 3rd of July we had time of rooting ourselves in Christ by the retreat directed by Bishop Rodrigo Mejia, S.J.  He accompanied us in reflecting the Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” of the Holy Father, Pope Francis. It was really a time of spiritual discerning and personal encounter with Jesus Christ, the source of our true joy.

            The Bishop noted from the beginning that this exhortation is not only for reflections and meditations but is mostly real program for today’s church. It invites the Church, each and every member to bring a change in our lives so that we will be rooted in Christ for the joyful witness of the Gospel.

            The aim of this precious time of deep spiritual exercise in our program was to help us see fully in our lives the greater things and to find the true joy from the Lamb of God, source of our joy. (John 1:35-51)

            The exhortation enters in the context of the New Evangelization and invites us to rediscover, the joy of being Christians. This joy is a spiritual gift of God called to be shared. We need to feel that  joy of being Evangelized and of being Evangelizers.  To evangelize is to communicate life of God who is full of Love and Mercy. The Church needs continuos conversion and adaptation, and each evangelizer needs continuos renewal. This renewal consists of increasing fidelity to our own calling. The community, the church has to be the model in Love and in Mercy.

            Our world today is full of challenges, but we should read them with the light of the Gospel; What is the will of God in this particular situation?  Evangelization has to touch our Human experience; all challenges faced by the society.  It should take into account the social aspect of life because the Gospel itself is Social. Our works for Evangelization aims at the common good of the society and its peace. Dialogue among peoples is an important contribution to peace.

            Our society is also affected by poverty, when the poor are excluded from the common good. The missionary activities have to include the poor with the attitude of mercy and compassion.

            To put into practice the Joy of the Gospel we need the help of the Holy Spirit to transform us to become spirit-filled evangelisers. Spirituality is the motivation of evangelization. It is from the Holy Spirit that we can get the zeal, the courage to share the joy of the gospel and bring hope to the world.

            Spirit-filled evangelizers is the one who prays and works.  By so doing, the church can become the sign of Love, Joy, Mercy, Justice and Peace of God in the society.

            Mary, our Lady of Perpetual help is the model of evangelization.  She was the first to be evangelized and the first to evangelize.  In our Mission let us ask her to interceed for us so that we can be more and more rooted in her Son, for the joyful witness of the Gospel.

Fr. Alex Manda, M.Afr.
Missionaries of Africa
Working in Ivory Coast