To all the brothers and sisters of the Oases – Realities of
Koinonia John the Baptist
Christ is risen!
Dear brothers and sisters,
We are about to begin the liturgical season of Advent, a time that calls us to focus on the anticipation and welcome of God’s gift in the person of Jesus. Advent is not merely about remembering. Instead it calls us to adopt an attitude of willingly welcoming what God has prepared for us.
For us as the people of Koinonia John the Baptist, Advent signifies an anticipation marked by the gift of unity and the Word. With unity I mean that the face of Jesus cannot be separated from community with the brothers and sisters. With ‘the Word’ I mean that we have been called to be proclaimers of the Gospel. Jesus comes to us clothed with communion and testimony.
We have just emerged from a Congress full of joy and consolation where we “heard and felt” the presence of the Spirit who calls us not to stall on the journey undertaken. The Congress marked an important point in our 40 years of life since the earliest beginnings at Camparmò, a journey that has forged us into a united evangelising people, capable of enthusiasm, and that dares to go beyond it own strength. However, the Congress has only opened a door. It calls us not to forget our first love, and that moving forward means to return to our origins. In the first instance, our first love is naturally Jesus. More specifically for us it is Camparmò, and our brother and sister. Therefore our future will depend on our capacity to drink the chalice of unity to its end, so that the world may believe that Jesus is in our midst. In fact, the word of faith, fuelled by unity, attracts and renders hearts fertile through the seal of fraternal love.
This is why communion and the Word always go together, enabling us to recognise the action of God who dwells in our midst. In order to maintain this anticipation for the Lord who comes to meet with us, let’s welcome the particular way he gives himself to us as Koinonia, by strengthening our communion and witness.
Strengthening communion demands us to think well of our brother or sister, and to move beyond a presumptuous judgement of their intentions (good or bad). It isn’t easy, but neither is it impossible. Let’s not allow our hearts to be poisoned with thoughts that prevent us from drawing close to our brother or sister. As we well know our thoughts dominate our speech. Let’s compete in holding each other in high esteem so that damaging or hurtful words don’t leave our lips. Instead let’s speak in a way that builds each other up (see Eph 4:29).
Our witness is reinforced by rediscovering the courage to proclaim Jesus, making our lives a source of hope for those who are seeking the one true love. Laziness in this regard is like a cobweb which inevitably grows, beginning in the remotest corners of our heart. With courage, let’s keep our inner house clean. We do this through constant prayer, generous service of our brother and sister and our community without self-interest, as well as a life marked with inspired gestures and healthy and sensible “acts of penance”. Only in this way will we defeat the sloth that grips our lives, and rediscover the joy of speaking of Jesus.
Here are my two simple suggestions for this Advent: care in our speech, and penance. In this way we will once more welcome the gift of being Camparmò, the house of communion where His love shines with the proclamation of the Resurrection.
Have a blessed Advent.
Plzeň-Valcha, 20th November 2016
Fr. Alvaro Grammatica