Eight Report – 29 April 2013

Bethany, A place of rest and meeting

After a Sunday of rest with good weather in the spring sunshine, the delegates of the 20th SMA General Assembly continued the third phase reflections on formation, spirituality & lifestyle, administration and finance.

Today journalists from Vatican Radio came to conduct interviews relating to the SMA General Assembly and our missionary work in Africa.

The Superior General, Fachtna O’Driscoll presented the Society and our work in Africa today; Jean-Marie Guillaume, former Superior General presented the topic of SMA and its mission today and vision for the future; Augustin Houessinon, a missionary in Abomey-Calavi (Benin Republic) spoke of SMA pastoral work among the street children of Cotonou, and Maurice Henry, the SMA Regional Superior of Nigeria spoke of the SMA mission amidst the security challenges that Nigeria is facing in light of Islamic extremism.

The celebration of the feast of St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church, co-patron of Europe and Patron Saint of the media coincided with the birthday of Gabriel Noury ​​(Vice-Provincial, Lyons Province) and the 40th anniversary of the priestly ordination of Lionello Melchiori (Provincial Superior of Italy). They presided at the Eucharistic celebration

Here is Fr Noury’s homily at that Mass, based on Luke 10: 38-42.

“The Gospel has become so sacred for us that we sometimes refuse to taste some passages so human and so close to us. The passage that we have just heard is one such example. Like us, Jesus needs a place of rest where he can relax and meet friends, away from his usual work. Bethany is the resting place for him where he likes to come to meet his friend Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary. But during his stay we have a scene of jealousy between an active Martha and the contemplative Mary. Even though Jesus supports Mary for listening, he does not disapprove of Martha for her willingness to serve.

This scene is closely connected with what Jesus tells us elsewhere in the Gospel: there are several places in the house of my Father. Each of us has received talents, qualities that we need to improve on. We tend to compare ourselves and of course think that we do better than others. Oh we’re not going to do like the Pharisee who prayed, “I thank you Lord that I am not like this publican
…” We have enough sense not to exaggerate. Yet our attitudes, words show that we often compare ourselves to others, instead of putting ourselves in front of God, to see what we have done with what we have received. I remember the words of a confrere who said, “others have flaws … fortunately not the same as mine, otherwise life would be difficult.”

I invite you to look at yourself as you are, not comparing with others, but in front of God listening again to this passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians Chapter 2, “be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than you.”

On Tuesday, 30 April 2013, the 40 delegates of the Assembly will elect the Vicar General and General Councillors from a list of names submitted by the Superior General, following his consultation with delegates. We request your prayers that the Lord inspires us to choose the correct persons who, together with Fr Fachtna O’Driscoll, the Superior General of the SMA will lead us for the following six years!

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