Lent 2017


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

Christ is risen!

“You are salt for the earth… You are light for the world…” (cf. Mt 5:13-16)

This biblical passage from Matthew places us in the heart of the message of the Beatitudes. This is when Jesus, as the new Moses on the mountain of Gospel revelation, communicates the precepts of the New Law to his disciples. In reality, they are not actually precepts. It is more accurate to describe them as a new way of living the gift of God and new ways to communion.

What is striking is the invite to be salt and light. We could reflect a lot on what Jesus meant when he suggests these two metaphors. When hearing of salt losing its value, his listeners would certainly think of it being used as grit to stop slipping in the Temple courts. On hearing him speak of light, they would have thought of Hippo, the city of the Decapolis on the other side of Lake Tiberias, whose lights sparkled so brightly at night. These are very clear and motivational metaphors. What do they say to us?

Salt conserves and purifies, but above all it gives flavour to a dish. Salt is used as an indicator of the taste properties typical of food. In the same way, the life of a disciple of Jesus should be “tasty”, interesting and attractive. Otherwise, we become an anti-testimony. But how do we make our lives salty, and make this flavour last over time even through the challenges of life? What gives flavour to our lives?

Joy! Joy makes the difference in our lives. It makes life light and beautiful, even in our weakenesses and life’s difficulties that we all know well. Joy is not a simple sentiment indicating the absence of problems: it is a question of faith. To be joyful is to trust in Jesus who has given his life for us, a life that will not end. Joy is like a tree with roots that give it strength – the Word of God that testifies to our salvation, affirms the resurrection and confirms the blessing prepared for us.

This gives us our first Lenten commitment: read, pray and proclaim the Word of God. This Lent, dedicate time to the Word. It is an investment in joy and this joy will give flavour to your life. It will keep an abundant smile on your face.

It was impossible not to see Hippos at night, even from a long distance. It must have been a sight that even Jesus liked. The Lord desires a bright and radiant life for us. Light has the power to illuminate the path that lies ahead and to protect those who feel under ambush or attack. We are never caught off guard when there is light. What is it that illuminates the path before us and dispels all fear of the unknown?

Prayer. Prayer has the ability to divide darkness from light, that reassures us of the finishing line. Prayer permits us to see ahead even if the distance is far off, and challenges the fogginess that incessantly descends on us. Prayer is what gives hope because it shows us the treasure that awaits us.

So this is our second commitment: pray! This isn’t only about increasing our time of prayer, but about improving its quality with an abundance of thanksgiving and praise.

The Word and prayer are the combined commitment for this Lent. This will enable us to learn to always smile and to thank the Lord in every moment and for everything. It will render the heart light and capable of communion, and enable us to open our hands in generosity and open our spirit to mercy.

Let’s accept and welcome Paul’s invitation: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:16-17).

Plzeň-Valcha, 25th February 2017

Fr. Alvaro Grammatica
Pastor General