Plenary Council 2011 Closing homily

Our Journey towards GA 2013

paul enninWith the end of PC 2011, the journey towards GA 2013 has begun for the world Society. As we say farewell to one another and to Tenafly, the readings of today have some insights for us: both reading are about farewell addresses – Paul to the people of Miletus, and Christ at the last Supper.

Permit me to underline 3 points that I feel would be beneficial to us in our preparations towards GA 2013.

1.  The Word

Paul commends his people to the gracious word of God that can build them up. As missionaries, announcers of the word; the word has a special place and is key to our Mission. We have set “Mission” as the starting point of our reflection and preparation for GA 2013. Jean-Marie Guillaume reminded us in his Opening homily that God is the first missionary; and we are only helpers, assisting God to incarnate his word in the world; and for us, it means incarnating the word in the lives of the most abandoned. I believe the expression “most abandoned” is key to our reflection on our mission and vision today. Who are the most abandoned? Abandoned by whom – the Society or the Church? I think the presentation of Huge Lagan opens up a whole world of the most abandoned different may be from our traditional mission areas. I feel the challenge we face is to establish some criteria for identifying the most abandoned today in the light of our missionary charism.

2.  The Truth

Jesus states clearly “Your word is truth. Consecrate them in the truth”.

The challenge we face, today, and which will determine the success or not of GA 2013 is truth. Truth about the situation we find ourselves today. The truth about our strength but also our vulnerability. If we are honest with ourselves, and prepare ourselves to face the plain truth about our future, our problem of adequate personnel for our needs, our financial solidarity, excesses and limitation; the truth about our aging profile, and age-gap, about our administrative bottlenecks; the truth about the urgency, and certain cases, the drastic measures needed to address them, then we shall be consecrating the society and its future in Truth; for the word is Truth; and the Truth will set us free!

3.  Unity

That they may be one.

A unity based on the Trinitarian model of communion. We were founded to live a life in common: that is, a fraternal life in common. For a long time in our history we lived this life in diverse forms: apostolic teams, apostolic communities, distinct and almost independent Units of provinces and districts. Today, the signs of the times are pointing to a future in which the measure of our inter-dependence will determine the effectiveness of our mission, and in certain cases, its very survival. May be it is time to move from a life in common to a communion of life; a communion in which we do not compete against each other, but work together; a communion of life where we work, not on individual projects, but on common projects; in which we are interested not only in the good of our Unit but the common good of the Society, happy to share what we have no matter how big or how small; where we do not discredit the other for ulterior motives, but walk hand in hand, supporting each other in our fragility and weakness; a communion of life that makes the other not just a neighbor, but a brother; not just a confrere but mon frere, mio fratello.

These are some of the challenges facing us as we leave Tenafly in this Pentecost eve. May the Spirit of Pentecost embolden us, breaking up all barriers and fears as we journey towards GA 2013. Like St. Paul, we commend ourselves to the Lord who has the power to build us up and give us an inheritance!

May His name be blessed now and forever, Amen.

Fr Paul Saa-Dade SMA, Vicar General (pictured above)