Letter of Easter 2011. It’s the Passover of our Lord of life through the sepulchres of our existence.
Our tombs, are they empty because we had risen, or among the edges of our history still lie the dead bodies of doubts and uncertainties, of fears and anguishes, of ambiguity and sins that are ours for such a long time now?
The time of joy and hope, of certainties and open horizons, of trust in that new life that opens the heart to the most beautiful realities of life and history.
It’s Easter time.
It’s the resurrection day. When Jesus talked of it for the first time to his disciples, they didn't understand. I don't know which Aramaic word he used. The Greek Gospel speaks of anastasis, of “rising among the dead”. How could the disciples understand it, if they were still unable to see the corpses among which they were walking? So prideful! They were the law-observers; they were decent people, respectable ones, no matter the meaning.
The time of fear, of running away, of betrayal does come. Facing those deaths of theirs, then they understood also what it means to emerge from the tomb, and to rise again among the dead.
Thanks to the digital progress, today all the dead bodies of the history - the physical, social, human, spiritual deaths - are right under our eyes and we feel their weight on our shoulder. However, do we accept also "our corporate responsibility" for them, which is the other face of the "Communion of the saints?"
Today, rising, standing up is a necessity, a need of life: it is the only motive for hope.
Facing today’s events and the history before us, we feel impotent and looking forward for truth. Bernanos in his Journal of a Country Parish Priest tells us: “When passing by you meet a truth, look at her very carefully, but do not expect it winking at you: the Gospel truths never do this”.
Every time that “we read” life, we discover crumbs of truth: a truth that is given, that is met. And we meet it since we are moving, walking in life, perhaps even going forward. Thus the “go out of your earth, from the house of your father,” where life directs you, is not really a “leaving” but a “receiving gift” that lets you find, meet and understand the truth, the sense of life and of the events. Whoever goes out is not a sacrificed person; he is a lucky one that discovers the treasure hidden in the field.
In the complexity and inter-relationship of today problems, we perceive that truth demands us understanding. We would like to understand what is happening in the World, which path the history will take, whether we indulge in or try to ignore the press pouring out at us daily; we would, at our core, like to know if the tsunami in Japan is only a natural disaster, if the revolutions in the Arab world are pure desire for freedom, if the wars in Africa are born only from local conflicts, if the poverties of politics are only a matter of some corrupt ones, if the crisis of the economy is transitory.
For a long time, I have been taught that working in a parish, producing for radio or publishing a newspaper, presiding over a school or university, building a chapel or maternity clinic are actually “useless” services, like farming a kitchen garden: do you want it to be useful, look at it as a part of our abundant universe of the world, since even the small role we humans play belongs to the only mosaic unfolding, that of the human history.
Thus, looking at my life I see that as always, nowadays too, what I’m receiving is more than what I’m giving away.
The work I am doing in Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation (JPIC) brings me in touch with reality, documents, studies, and persons, and all helping me understand and live the reality of our world: a world that suffer the labour pains of being born in the Kingdom of God.
Since October 6th 1969, the day I took my first departure for Africa, these letters of mine come now and then, and help me share my mission among friends. To be able to do this, I started a Facebook page and have entered news and articles there. The link is:
However, I can understand that many of you, even on the computer and having internet, are doubtful about this digital community, and you are not completely wrong. For this reason, with the help of a lay missionary who had been in Chad, I went a step further and we organized a blog. There I insert the account of my activities at the United Nations, in Ecuador, in Africa, in the United States, my articles and the texts that are helping me see some truths of this world. It’s a way to understand the paths God follows. See for yourself and participate if you like. The link is http://www.jpic-jp.org/en.php
I wish you a deep journey of prayer in these last days of Lent. Praying -said a monk of the desert- is like a thirsty bird. It found a glass just a half filled up and with its beak it couldn’t reach the water. So it threw pebbles in the glass until the water raised to the level at which it could drink.
Thus, a Happy Easter and best wishes that you see God passing closely in your life.