To all the brothers and sisters of the Oases – Realities of Koinonia John the Baptist

Christ is risen!

Dear sister and dear brother,

Once again the time has arrived that introduces us to and prepares us for Christmas. This year however has been especially meaningful and marked by events that have engaged the entire Federation.

The memory of the pastors meeting in the sanctuary of our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico at the beginning of the year is still very much alive in our hearts. Responding to our Founder’s invitation, we joined him (and each one of you was present through your pastor) to thank our Mother for all that she has done for us in this time. It was a short but intense visit, where we experienced moments of deep communion among us.

The International Congress was the highlight of the Koinonia’s fortieth anniversary. Without identifying a specific moment, we savoured the joy of being together, we thanked the Lord, we were confirmed and encouraged by our Bishop friends and especially we felt and tasted the Lord’s presence. His presence was discreet but engaging, so much so that regardless of age, ministry, or language, we were all drawn to and absorbed by Him and we certainly did not leave Prague as we had arrived.

For the children of Israel, the most significant “fortieth year”, is the one that marks a before and after in their history: the crossing of the Jordan River and the entry into the promised land, after their time as nomads in the desert.

The desert was a time of purification and therefore they did not enter sooner into the promised land because of the misuse of their tongue, because of their grumbling and because of every other form of bitterness that dwelt in their hearts. This way of talking was translated into a discouraging language also for those who listened to it.

The desert was a school in which they learned to depend on the Lord and to manage their freedom, in harmony with the rules that the Lord gave them.

The desert was above all a time of the Lord being close to His people. He himself provided food for them as they needed. As Scripture says, according to their tastes: the first real “catering” in history. In short, it really wasn’t that bad.

So why did the people suffer this strict dependance on the Lord since as Scripture says, they lacked nothing that they needed?

What the people needed was in fact much less than what they wanted and desired. This difference generated murmuring and complaining.

All of this is valid for us too in the Koinonia, therefore it is good for us to treasure this time of waiting and to synchronize ourselves with the ways and timing of our providential God. If we do this our hearts will be ready and willing to welcome the gift of His new birth in us and among us. Maturity lies in recognizing that everything comes from Him, remembering where we have come from and how we were born.

This Advent as we become ever more aware of our dependency on God, may the desire to be supportive of the other communities and the brothers and sisters who are in need, grow in us as we learn to share generously what the Lord has given us, according to our charism.

With our hearts full of thanksgiving for the moments we have lived together this year and with the trust that the best is yet to come, I wish you all a fruitful time of waiting and a blessed Christmas!

Plzeň-Valcha, 23rd November, 2019

Fr. Giuseppe De Nardi
Pastor General