At fixed times all the abbots/abbesses come together. They discuss there the salvation of their own souls and of those committed to them. They take measures regarding the observance of the Holy Rule and of the Order where there is something that needs to be corrected or added. They foster anew among themselves the benefit of peace and charity. They devote themselves to maintaining the patrimony of the Order and safeguarding and increasing its unity. (C.77)

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Homily of The Abbot General for Opening Mass of MGM, September 7, 2011

When St. Luke wanted to express the heart and purpose of Jesus mission to his people he did so in the words of the prophet Isaiah:  Jesus was anointed with the Spirit of the Lord to bring good news to the poor, release to captives, sight to the blind, liberty for the oppressed and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. The Spirit of God brings good news, freedom, healing, life.  It is the spirit of the Jubilee Year that undoes and puts right human injustices and makes life possible for all.  God, in the experience of Israel, is a God who gets his people out of trouble and enables them to live.  He is a Saviour and he is merciful to the needy, the poor.

In the Gospel today we find Jesus bringing the dialogue onto another level.  The poor, the hungry, the weeping and the excluded for the sake of Jesus are blessed because they are his disciples and because they come to him looking for life.  They are blessed because he cares about them in their need and they are blessed because this need of theirs is the path by which they will come to true and everlasting happiness.  Their neediness calls down God's mercy and this opens them to life with Jesus, to the blessings of his kingdom.  At bottom, in their neediness they are open to being made new by God.  They are open to being saved. 

The woes pronounced against the rich are not a condemnation of the rich but a warning not only that doing well in this world and being highly thought of by this world are not necessarily a blessing but that in fact they can make it very difficult for the rich to become disciples, to see the world differently and to accept the salvation which the Gospel message offers.  If we don't see the need to be saved then we don't need a Saviour.  And so they miss their opportunity of knowing the joy of being children of God, of living as brothers and sisters and of giving oneself for others.   In fact the only way for the rich to be saved is to share what they have with others as we find happening in the earliest Christian community where the disciples shared what they had and distribution was made to each as each had need. 

The Spirit of the Lord then, the Spirit of Jesus is a spirit that gives life, but a life that is not for this world only but is eternal and which is everlasting happiness.   The goodness of God, as the refrain to the Psalm said is for all.   And as Paul reminds us in the first reading, with God there are no distinctions among people.  God does not have favourites but he does call us to be disciples and to put on the mind of Christ. 

Gathered together in prayer to God that his Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus may guide us in our work for the salvation of our souls and of those committed to our care, may our celebration of these sacred mysteries renew us with the Spirit of Jesus, helps us to work justly in all we do and experience the mercy of God and of the Order.