Jubilee 2000 Search

Three answers to reflect on

Enrico Del Covolo

Conversion, repentance, reconciliation...they are words which express the profound meaning of the Jubilee. Directly from these three things depend the indulgence. We can see this from the Bull of Decree in numbers 9-10-11. The Holy Father writes in n. 11, “The Holy Year is by its very nature is a call to conversion...The examination of conscience is one of the most qualifying moments of personal existence...The embrace that the Father reserves for those who have repented will be the just compensation for the humble awareness of their faults.” We also see it in Tertio Millennio Adveniente, in number 31: “The joy of each Jubilee is in a particular way the joy for the remission of sins, the joy for conversion;” and in number 50: “The announcement of conversion as an unprecedented need of Christian love is particularly important in the current society, in which often those same foundations of an ethical vision of human existence seem lost.” With this perspective of conversion, I choose three words, which in a particular way are connected to the charisma of consecrated life. They invoke the vertical dimension (retrospection) and the horizontal dimension (solidarity) that have to characterize in a special way the pilgrimage of consecrated life. These words - in my opinion are exceptionally rich with spiritual meaning - are retrospection, solidarity and pilgrimage. Let’s first talk about retrospection, rather, in our specific personal case, of the intimate relationship with the Lord. What does the invitation to retrospection, within the Jubilee context mean? It means not losing oneself in exterior things; it means caring for the interior part of life, in particular in our relation of love with God. The risk to which we are exposed every day is that of the “schizophrenia between prayer and life, between contemplation of God and helping our neighbor. To put order in our lives, and to reach a balance, we must put ahead of everything else listening to the Word, which is “the best part” actually, “the only necessary part:” read Luke 10:38-42. Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet, is the icon of the faithful disciple, who listening to the Word, overcomes the risk that Martha faced, that is the risk of those who loose sight of the real reason to act. Let us question ourselves: do I read the Word of God enough? What is the quality of my taking the Sacraments? Do I commit myself to sanctifying the day through the prayer of the day? And still: how do I manage my the existence of my relationship with contemplation and service, between the prayed Word and concrete obedience to the Father, between Eucharist and solidarity with my brothers, between reconciliation and a life orientated towards conversion...? Let’s talk now about solidarity, or our relationship with others. For this we can reread from Luke the parable of the good Samaritan (10,25-37), by drawing attention to, in a special way, the second and third parts of the parable. These two moments represent a question that we cannot escape, in line with the evangelical radicalism: which side are you on? Are you someone with a hard heart, who “ignores” the expectations of their neighbor, or are you someone with a merciful heart? There is no third way. Your choices, your behavior will judge you. Or are you like the priest and the student, or are you the Samaritan. The issue is even more worrying, if we think that the priest and the student – even having their good reasons to not stop: perhaps they were traveling to take care of an urgent ministry. But the simple fact of “having passed over” will be how they will be judged and they will be condemned. They have a hard heart, they do not know “the merciful parts” of their God. Let’s question ourselves: how do I describe my relations with others, along the lines of the priest or the student, or along the lines of the Samaritan? What resistance or difficulties do I encounter to accomplish the project of the good Samaritan in my life? Finally, let’s talk about pilgrimages, or better yet, about the walk of life. There is a good passage, by Luke, in which Jesus also joins a pilgrimage with two others (24:13-35). It is not difficult to retrace the fundamental steps of this pilgrimage. At the beginning, there is a situation of discomfort and disillusionment. This is followed by an encounter that provokes discussion, leaves marks and alights hope. Then life goes on, but by now, it has “changed signs” it is a new life, a life that is led by hope. The episode helps us to deal with our relations with Jesus. From the pages of the Gospel, Jesus appears, on a rare occasion, alone. Next to him there is, almost always, a crowd; there are the sick, the curious, the disciples. But, apart from the number of encounters, what interests us here is the quality of the relations with the Lord. No one is indifferent. All of his person is focused on the others. Jesus looks, listens, speaks. His senses, and especially his heart, are open to the real interlocutors. Whether it is the faithful or antagonists, women or men, children or adults, his attention is total and it enables him to interpret the questions that are not expressed. In this way, Jesus shows himself “as the model pilgrim.” Let us try to describe in more detail Jesus’ behavior (let us think about his look, how he listens, how he speaks...), and let us compare our behavior with his. In front of the Jubilee, the most appropriate behavior for the consecrated is that of the Magnificat. It is the behavior of stupor and of praise for the Virgin Mary. “Woman of silence and who listens, docile in the hands of the Father, the Virgin Mary is invoked by all generations as “blessed” because she was able to recognize the wonders accomplished in her by the Holy Spirit.” Let us pray, therefore, with the same words used at the end of the Bull decreeing the Grand Jubilee, so that Mary “can intercede, with particular intensity during the next few months, for the Christian people, so that they may obtain the fullness of the grace and mercy, while they celebrate the two thousand years that have passed since the birth of their Savior. May praise of the Church for the gift of salvation through Christ, our Lord, go to God the Father, with the Holy Spirit, now and in the centuries to come (n.14).