THE encounter

Aug 22, 2021

.
.
This week of August every year several hundred thousand people from across the globe meet in the Italian city of Rimini for the week-long Rimini meeting, known simply as “The Meeting”.
 
I have been fortunate to have been a part of the gathering several times in recent years, always overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the participants, and inspired by the sincerity of their seeking.
 
For one week, people of all ages (mostly 20-50ish) focus on faith as the heart of all human existence. One of the little meeting traditions is an opening reflection from Pope Francis.
 
Francis’ words to the 2021 event spoke directly to my own musings of today’s Gospel reading: “Then Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.”
 
Pope Francis reflects:
 

It is this experience that instils the courage of hope: “Encountering Christ, letting oneself be caught up in and guided by his love, enlarges the horizons of existence, gives it a firm hope which will not disappoint.

Faith is no refuge for the fainthearted, but something which enhances our lives. It makes us aware of a magnificent calling, the vocation of love. It assures us that this love is trustworthy and worth embracing, for it is based on God’s faithfulness which is stronger than our every weakness.

Let us consider the figure of Saint Peter: the Acts of the Apostles report these words of his, after he had been strictly forbidden from continuing to speak in the name of Jesus: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (4:19-20).

Where does this coward who denied the Lord find his courage? What happened in this man’s heart? The gift of the Holy Spirit”.

The profound reason for the courage of the Christian is Christ. It is the Risen Lord who is our security, who makes us experience profound peace even in the midst of life’s storms.

Many are quietly seeking God, led by a yearning to see his face, even in countries of ancient Christian tradition. All of them have a right to receive the Gospel. Christians have the duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone.

Instead of seeming to impose new obligations, Christians should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet. 

The joy of the Gospel instils the boldness to set out on new paths: We must be bold enough to discover new signs and new symbols, new flesh … particularly attractive for others… the awareness that the security of faith sets us on a journey; it enables witness and dialogue with all no one excluded, because the horizon of faith in Christ is the entire world.”

There it is, the key to today’s gospel reading, the reason for Peter’s confidence, just as Francis shares with the Rimini crowds: “The profound reason for the courage of the Christian is Christ. It is the Risen Lord who is our security, who makes us experience profound peace even in the midst of life’s storms.”

Now there’s a great mantra for my day.

6 Comments

  1. Loved this thank you.So encouraged me in my faith especially the words of Pope Francis ‘CHRISTIANS SHOULD APPEAR AS PEOPLE WHO WISH TO SHARE THEIR JOY AND WHO INVITE OTHERS TO A DELICIOUS BANQUET’ We are a blessed people !

    Reply
  2. Tho I was brought up Catholic it wasn’t until I got involved in alpha, that I experienced the holy spirit,
    This was the verse that impressed on me that this indeed was the truth, so as Peter said where could I go

    Reply
  3. Father John, With the pandemic ravaging the world, I am horrified that so-called Christians could have so little regard for the death and suffering such a gathering will no doubt cause. Infecting probably thousands, who will then go home and infect other untold thousands. I would have thought the Pope would have discouraged the meeting at this time.

    Reply
    • This year’s Rimini Meeting, as with the 2020 event is designed primarily as an online / virtual gathering. A small number are able to enter, but only those who carry the Italian Green Pass, ie those who are (among other requirements) vaccinated and who have taken a negative swab within the previous 48 hours.

      Reply
  4. For the grace of courage and to be on fire to share the joy and the sacred moments of meeting Jesus in my daily living.

    Reply
  5. CHRIST IS OUR SECURITY
    AND ITS FREE”
    HE “DOESNT” GIVE US A BILL.
    AMEN.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts

Impossible? NOT!

Impossible? NOT!

The stressed existence that most of us think is a normal part of life on earth is not the way things have to be.

comforting

comforting

It was the Jesuit priests who taught me in seminary who gave me an appreciation of and love for Classical music.

incredible things

incredible things

Many of the things I plan seem to bear little fruit and my most powerful encounters with the divine are often unexpected

metanoia

metanoia

With our backs to the light, all we can see is our own shadows.

I’m being saved

I’m being saved

The best response to the question “have you been saved” is not a past tense “yes I have been saved” but a present-tense, here and now response