To all the brothers and sisters of the Oases – Realities of Koinonia John the Baptist
Christ is risen!
“They were overjoyed at seeing the star”
Dearest sister, dearest brother,
Entering the season of Advent, this verse from Matthew is enlightening, in the truest sense of the word. I would like that the metaphor of the guiding star help us during this special liturgical time and not only, becoming a lifestyle in our earthly journey towards our encounter with the Beloved.
The stars appear in the sky at nighttime, when it is dark and cold. They aren’t visible during the day. We are living in a complex and ever-changing historical context. As well as real wars, we are witnessing widespread conflictual language at a political, social and ecclesial level.
I wish to share with you a reflection given by Pope Francis for the first time in 2019 (before the pandemic), in his Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia: “what we are experiencing is not simply an epoch of changes, but an epochal change”.
From this statement, it seems that it isn’t simply a matter of events that we’ve already seen in the course of history, but of one world giving way to another. Certainties that now turn out to be not certain, and stabilities that are becoming fluid. This dialectic tension is affecting religions, politics, morality, institutions, and the vision of man, with his rights and responsibilities.
As believers in Jesus, we are certainly not immune to all of this. However, motivated by the words of the Apostle, “do not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thes 4:13), we can grow in awareness of our call and, with Jesus’ help, turn this moment into an opportunity: by testifying that we live in the world, but that we already belong to the Kingdom that awaits us.
It is in this context that we are called to make a difference and to live our hope, in its fullness and as a community. In fact, we know and believe that Jesus is the Lord of history, and He leads time and history towards its ultimate end, as He Himself says: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End” (Rev 22:13).
So, even when it is dark and the Sun of Righteousness seems far away, He doesn’t abandon us. Rather, He guides us by the star that, for those who lift their head and look at it, is the source of joy and assurance. This assurance is animated by the trust that, despite the difficulties, we live in Him and depend on Him.
This star is His Word, which illuminates, guides, heals, and creates that which doesn’t yet exist. The star is His promises and, in a prophetic way, we as Koinonia John the Baptist, together with the Church and in the Church, embody the ‘already’ of immutable and enduring truth as well as the ‘not yet’ of the new reality which is still to come. The star is the source of joy: by shining in the darkness, it reminds us that we are a people on a journey, on the move, and opens us to the hope of what awaits us: “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Is 43:19)..
Dearest friends, the season of Advent is the season of the Word proclaimed, prayed, and lived at both a personal and community level, knowing that after the night comes the dawn, and after the pains of labour comes the new birth. Let’s allow ourselves to be guided by the star. It isn’t only an object in space, but also the goal of our journey: “I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star” (Rev 22:16).
All that remains for me to do is to wish you a fruitful Advent journey, a joyful Christmas and a prosperous New Year!
Rome, 30th November 2023
Fr. Giuseppe De Nardi