And I am with you - Anafora Program 2021

Final Celebration: "And I am with you”

Anafora, October 2, 2021

 

Sherin Helmy and Martin Hoegger

 

At the end of this meeting in Anafora, the Lord calls us as sons and daughters, just as he called Jesus his beloved Son, according to the words of the prophet taken up by the evangelist Matthew: "From Egypt I called my son" (Hosea 11:1; Math 2:15). 

He calls us from the desert of Egypt to reach our contemporaries, whoever they may be, to be ambassadors of the Risen Christ to them. 

Yes, the Risen One sends us, but he does not leave us alone. He gives us this promise that concludes the Gospel: "And I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Mat 28:29).

We will go home, but Jesus will continue to be present with us, among us, for us and in us, whatever the situation!

We will have beautiful encounters where we will experience the joy that we have shared during these days. But we will also experience suffering, lack of unity and opposition. 

In these moments, let us not forget that Jesus entered our humanity by assuming all our frailties. Let us look to his cross, through which he reconciled us. Let us love him against all odds. Then we can receive the gift of the presence of the Risen One. It is he, present in our midst, who will enable us to go forward.

How will the Risen One be present? Here are some ways in which he will be present, taken from Matthew's Gospel

 

  1. Jesus, present through the Holy Spirit in us  

Let’s not fear to go back home, because we will feel the power of the Risen One. 

We will feel it every time we stand before the tribunal of the world

We will then take refuge in the word of Jesus who promises to assist us when we are in a mission situation: "The Spirit of your Father will speak in you" (Mat 10:20). 

Doesn't this give us a beautiful motivation to share what we have experienced here in Anafora?

 

  1. Jesus, present when we are together in faith and love

This is a promise of presence not in us, but in our midst. " Where two or three gather in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Mat 18:20). 

Jesus is not talking about any kind of gathering, but about being together in faith and mutual love. 

To those who are together in this way, Jesus promises to answer their prayers. 

Community prayer in faith is the place par excellence of Jesus' presence. 

He is present when there is consonance of prayer in truth and charity, and above all when forgive each other! 

Let us continue to pray with and for each other as we have done here! 

  • Jesus, present in every person in difficulty. 

" Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40). 

Matthew's text speaks of the most basic needs: lack of health, food, clothing, freedom. 

But it also implies all the other cases where there is a need to help.  

How can we also meet the Risen One through them if not by leaving our comfort zones? 

 

Sending 

The risen Jesus in our midst is the presence of God that brings us together. We have experienced this during these days. 

His presence gathers a people from all nations and all human situations, and with the people from which Jesus is born.

His presence transforms us and directs us towards a city where justice and truth in human relationship reigns.

A city where reigns friendship and the capacity to recognize and love one another. 

This blessed place of Anafora has given us a foretaste of this city, where we live for one another. 

Let us remember that the very meaning of the word Anafora expresses the offering of Christ who gave himself for us so that we might give ourselves for one another. 

Let us pray to the Lord to remove the fear of the future from our hearts, for he is with us.

Often, after a strong time like the one we have just experienced, we go home with a little anxiety. 

But this fear is not bad, because deep down we are vessels of clay. 

The Lord does not take away this fragility, but he repeats to us the word: "Do not fear, I am with you".