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Thursday of the third week of Lent - "Listen to his voice today" - Rome, 27 March 2014

XXVII General Chapter
Thursday of the third week of Lent
"Listen to his voice today"
Rome, March 27, 2014


Dear Confreres,

the General Chapter that we are living in these days calls us to live an experience of unity in diversity. The differences are a richness to be recognized and appreciated; at the same time, unity is a treasure to be preserved and made to grow. In Don Bosco's charism we live the variety of cultures and the plurality of expressions; but at the same time we experience the communion between confreres and the sharing of choices.
In this Eucharist we invoke the Spirit of Christ, so that he may build the unity of hearts and the convergence of minds between us; for we know that it is easier to divide than to unite, therefore we need the transforming action of the Spirit. He is the Spirit of unity, which does not mean uniformity, but brings everything back to harmony. Harmony makes the Holy Spirit, indeed the Holy Spirit, as a father of the Church says, "ipsa east harmony". Unity in diversity is a free gift to welcome and a difficult task to accomplish.
In the Congregation we have the gift and the task of preserving and growing the charismatic unity, looking at all of our dear Father and Founder Don Bosco, recognizing the leadership of his successor, guaranteeing a formation "unitary in essential contents and diversified in concrete expressions" (Const. 100). At the same time we must strive to value the differences; today, with the election of sector councilors, we will have the opportunity to make our contribution as a Chapter to the construction of a General Council that expresses the richness of the diversity of our Congregation, a Congregation that becomes ever more intercultural and transcultural.
Let us now pay attention to what the Sacred Scriptures of today's liturgy offers us for our meditation

1. "Listen to his voice today"

In the first reading, the prophet Jeremiah repeatedly addressed to the people the invitation that God himself addressed to him: "Listen to my voice!" But the people neither listened nor listened; instead of turning his face to God, he turned his back on him. Then God, through the prophet, concludes bitterly: "This is the people who do not listen to the voice of the Lord his God".
We too can run the risk of being deaf to the word of God. Then our heart hardens and becomes obstinate. God speaks to us through situations, life, expectations and desires of young people, confreres, joys and sorrows. We must therefore take the attitude of listening. The exercise of prayerful listening to Sacred Scripture helps us to discover how God also speaks to us through events and the people who place us next to us. In these days he spoke to us with the election of the Rector Major and his Vicar; today he will also speak to us through the election of sector councilors.
In the Congregation we have the opportunity to grow unity among the brothers in the communities, listening, meditating and sharing together the Holy Scriptures. This will stimulate us to have a profound communication between us. Without common listening, we cannot be prophets in life and in history; neither will we be able to perceive the questions and needs of others. Common listening to the Word of God helps us to get out of ourselves, to overcome self-referentiality, to listen to the needs and needs of others, especially young people ..

2. "Every kingdom divided in itself goes to ruin".

In the Gospel we see Jesus being attentive to the needs of a poor sick person. He restores the ability to speak to a demon-possessed person, whom the devil has made mute. This is a luminous and provocative sign of the power of God that saves in Jesus. This is the word of God that waits to be heard and received; but the adversaries of Jesus refuse to see and listen, indeed they propose an alternative reading of the fact: Jesus has a demon and is able to heal the possessed, because he acts in the name of Belezebul, the leader of the demons.
They are blind: if they see, they cannot see the signs of the presence of God. They are mute: if they speak, they say only foolish things. Jesus manifests in them the originality of this inability to see the signs of God's presence and to listen to His word. The devil, precisely the one who creates division, blinds and mutes.
In the powerful gestures of Jesus breaks the kingdom of God, which puts an end to that of satan, the adversary, the spirit of division. Jesus reveals himself as "the strongest", which eliminates the watchman who keeps the man a slave. Jesus overcomes the spirit of division and unmasks the division and conflict as the cause of ruin: "A kingdom divided in itself goes to ruin".
Conflict and division can be a risk, to be aware of. We need to be aware of them to face them and overcome them. "In this way it is possible to develop a communion in differences, which can only be favored by those noble people who have the courage to go beyond the conflict surface and consider others in their deepest dignity ... Unity is superior to conflict" .

We now ask God to transform our "heart", that is the interiority and depth of ourselves because we have eyes to see and ears to listen not to what the spirit of division proposes us, but what the Spirit of unity suggests to us . Today we hear his voice and we will see the signs of God's power. Amen