Jongeren bijeen voor de vrede - Youth for peace in Amsterdam
Internationale ontmoeting van Sant'Egidio
Zondagmiddag 28 augustus was ik in het Bijlmer Sportcentrum in Amsterdam voor de Eucharistieviering met de honderden jongeren van Sant’ Egidio die naar Amsterdam waren gekomen voor de internationale ontmoeting van Youth for Peace.
Here you find the English text of the homily I gave during the final Eucharist of the international meeting of Youth for Peace.
Qui sotto trovi l'omelia della S. Messa celebrata alla conclusione dell'incontro internazionale di Sant’ Egidio in Amsterdam.
De jongeren, afkomstig uit een twaalftal landen, hebben in een lang weekend niet alleen de stad verkend - onder meer door een boottocht door de grachten - maar ook het Anne Frankhuis bezocht en het namenmonument. Zij hebben zich verder in dialoog en gebed bezig gehouden met het thema "Vrede" en in dat kader ook een publieksmanifestatie gehouden. De Mozes- en Aäronkerk - de kerk waar Sant’ Egidio is gevestigd - was heel lang niet zo vol geweest met honderden opeengepakte jongeren staande voor het avondgebed van de Gemeenschap. De mensen van Sant’ Egidio van Amsterdam en van andere plaatsen hebben een geweldige inspanning geleverd om alles goed te organiseren.
Onder de ongeveer zevenhonderd jongeren was ook een groep jongeren uit Oekraïne (zie foto) en prof. Marco Impagliazzo, de algemeen president van Sant’ Egidio, en mw. Hilde Kieboom, de verantwoordelijke voor de Benelux en voorszitster van Sant’ Egidio Antwerpen (foto).
Bij de Eucharistieviering in de sporthal concelebreerde een zestal priesters, waaronder mgr. Giancarlo Dellagiovanna, chargé d'affaires van de Apostolische Nuntiatuur in Nederland, en Zeger Polhuijs, een Nederlandse priester van Sant’ Egidio. Daarnaast waren er jonge priesters uit Parijs en Italië die concelebreerden en assisteerden er enkele permanent diakens van de Gemeenschap, waaronder Colm Dekker.
Global Friendship, Global Peace:
Your Victory lies in Wisdom and Peace
Jongerenontmoeting van Sant’ Egidio
Dialogue and the rethoric of war
It is a pleasure for me to meet you here in Amsterdam. I am pleased that you have gathered for the tenth time from different European countries to meet each other, to reflect and pray together and to experience friendship between young people from different backgrounds, nations and cultures. Your coming together, your dialogue and sharing, your prayer as Youth for Peace united with the whole Community of Sant’ Egidio is an important sign in this world where these values of dialogue and prayer are forgotten far too often, while they are often substituted by the rhetoric of war.
Dialogue and prayer
I want to repeat the call Marco Impagliazzo made during the last meeting: remain committed to dialogue and prayer! When dialogue ceases, peace dies; if there is no prayer, we lose contact with the source of peace. So please, stay committed to dialogue and, please, create a movement of prayer, as Marco Impagliazzo asked you during the previous international meeting of Youth for Peace.
An expression of love
Therefore I am grateful that you have come to Amsterdam to know the city, its story, its beautiful buildings and monuments and to learn about Sant’ Egidio in Amsterdam and its commitment to peace and friendship with the poor, which is an expression of love for this city and the people who live here.
Many passages of the Old Testament invite us to seek wisdom. Wisdom is very important, especially in a time of fake news and the rhetoric of war. How can we acquire wisdom? I think we need to listen to the experiences of others, to the wise words you receive in your community and to Jesus Christ and to what he puts in your heart.
When Jesus was born...
The source of true peace is Jesus Christ. When He was born, the angels sang of peace on earth. There was harmony around his birth: simple people, rich and poor, shepherds and kings of orient, wise man, magi, came to visit. There had been peace among the people visiting the manger, with this powerless newborn King in their midst; they were connected in prayer, simplicity, humility and friendship, sharing their experiences. That peaceful harmony continued despite the simple, humble circumstances, until King Herod felt threatened and cruelly disturbed that peace with the massacre of the Innocents. Peace was over and gone, when one ruler felt threatened and when his central purpose became power.
Peace I leave with you
On the last night of his earthly life, Jesus spoke of peace again: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14, 27). That peace was brought about because Jesus Christ gave himself, He humbled himself and sacrificed his life on the cross. And after his resurrection his first wish to the apostles was again: Peace be with you. How can this peace be with us? We will have this peace if we dare to give ourselves with Jesus and trust in God's providence who will in the end everything lead for the better. He calls us all to be brothers and sisters of one another.
Do we dare to believe that it is not a power play that is needed to gain a real victory? Do we dare to believe that victory is in obtaining that peace that foreshadows eternal life? What do we choose: A power play or humble service? Friendship or domination? Fear or trust?
Places of honour?
In today’s gospel our Lord clearly shows us those two ways: the leading Pharisees are watching Him closely and the guests are picking the places of honour. That is a form of power play, a desire to dominate. Jesus recommends to us a different approach: “Take the lowest place and sit there, don’t invite who will repay you by inviting you in return, but invite the poor”. Do not invite others for an earthly reward in the form of money, prestige or as a tactic to rise higher, but do it out of love and friendship. Seek wisdom, seek peace, seek Jesus.
NOI E "GLI ALTRI"?
Il posto migliore?
Gesù ci invita oggi ad essere umili e semplici. Non scegliere il posto migliore per te stesso, non limitarti a tenere i tuoi pasti per i tuoi amici ricchi e le persone di cui potresti beneficiare. No! Perché così ti stai di fatto chiudendo nella tua cerchia. Allora dividi il mondo nei “nostri" e le persone a cui non è permesso appartenere al nostro gruppo. Questa separazione, questa esclusione non contribuisce alla pace, ma piuttosto alla divisione. È la divisione che spacca il mondo.
In cerca di amicizia
Ma quando chiediamo perdono per i nostri errori e con le nostre parole e le nostre azioni cerchiamo di creare unità e comprensione reciproca, quando siamo in cerca di amicizia con i poveri, i ciechi, storpi e zoppi, quando mettiamoci al ultimo posto, quando siamo umili e semplici, allora guariamo le divisioni, creiamo unità e lavoriamo per la pace. Quando si allarga l’amicizia, si allarga la pace.
Allora, sono grato per il vostro impegno per la pace, per l’amicizia con i poveri, con migranti e profughi, con i senzatetto, gli anziani e persone abbandonate e sole. Grazie di essere venuto! Non scoraggiatevi, continuate a credere nell'importanza del vostro impegno per la pace e l'amicizia!