Dearest brothers and sisters of the Calabrian Family,
Peace, love and joy of Christ our hope may always keep in our hearts. I address to you my fraternal wish on the occasion of the Holy Easter, reaching you with this message that stems from the depth of my heart, while I contemplate the mystery that the Church invites us to celebrate in these holy days.
I share with you a reflection that I feel in tune with the path of the joy of prophecy, since the resurrection of Christ opens our life to hope: “Christ our hope is risen!”
Looking at the world and the society in which we live, we see today many disheartened people, living in the darkness of despair. Sometimes I meet people very discouraged: it seems that they are indifferent to all things, that there is no a way out, and nothing can change. These people bear inside a negativity that communicate to other constantly, becoming prophet of misfortune in the society instead of prophet of hope and optimism. Pope Francis reminds us: “No, to the prophets of misfortune that defile the world with negativity. Instead, every Christian is a missionary of hope and not a prophet of misfortune.”
Also the disciples of Jesus, in front of the events of the Good Friday, got discouraged. Many of them went back, resigned, to their villages (cf. Lk. 24: 13-15) and did not hesitate to manifest this unease to the “stranger” (the risen Jesus) who was walking with them: “We had hoped that he would redeem Israel…” (Lk 24: 21).The worst in the life is to keep in us attitudes of disappointment and lack of hope.Perhaps we, too, as well as the disciples, bolster wrong expectations, because we would like a successful God, who destroys evil, always at disposal of our needs, and available to solve every unexpected occurrence. Instead he shows himself powerless on the cross.
In front of a “failed” God on the cross, doubt and suspect are born in us. This is our daily story that proceeds between doubts of faiths and disappointment before a God who seems so far when we feel more in need of him and invoke him in trial. But the journey of the disappointed man is not a solo one, because it interweaves with that of the Risen Jesus. The One who is risen is near us, today also, and pursues us in our confused search of Him.
In our daily life we live of human hopes, small or great: hope to have a good day, to arrive at the end of the month with our salary, to pass an exam, hope of the farmer to have a good harvest, hope to solve a problem in the family, to recover from illness, not to lose one’s job, hope to see again our dear persons, to be able to help a friend in need, to be a good person...
In front of the mystery of the cross and of love, all these hopes pale. Christian hope cannot be only the earthly one that gives us an impulse and a mere human motivation to go ahead. There is a hope that doesn’t die, neither fails, and keeps always open to the mystery of our life and that of humankind. It is the hope that Jesus Christ gave us with his passion, death and resurrection. In the Crucifix also our hope is risen. Fr. Calabria reminds us: “Yeas, my dear and beloved brothers/sisters, the cross is, and always will be, the mirror, and hoe of Christian people. To this holy cross we turn our sight… Let us draw close to this Holy Wood; let us greet and venerate it as our only hope”.
When we let the hope from Jesus embrace us, little by little we discover that the successful way of living is that of the humble and self-giving love, like the seed hidden in the depth of the soil that dies to give life. There is no other way to defeat evil, and to give hope to the world. It may be seen as a losing logic, but it is not, in the perspective of the Gospel. The one, who truly loves, expropriates himself so as to offer totally himself. This is the logic of the humble love, which gives life and hope to the world.
Our great mission in the world today, as Calabrian Family, is to be close to the people in order to communicate hope. The world is in great need of this, and we can live this in our daily life with the strength of the Risen Lord. We cannot renounce the prophecy of living and giving hope!
As Fr. Calabria taught, hope is a fruit of faith in God’s paternity. Don Giovanni lived an immense trust in Providence, and an absolute surrender to God who is the Father of all. “Brothers/sisters, in moments – those terrible moments – in which distress disheartens you, and sorrow oppresses you, and when it seems that you are abandoned by all, lift up your hearts, contemplate the cross, look at the Crucifix, kiss it with love, invoke it with faith, as the only hope, spes unica, and I assure you that a wave of comfort will come upon you and will console your dejected souls”.
Dearest brothers and sisters let us contemplate in these days the cross of Christ. Hope cannot die out in us, since Christ our hope is risen! He shall die no more. Think about how much good we can spread in our daily life, in our service to the neediest people, if we bring this hope.
May the Risen Lord fill us with his hope, so that we can take it to the heart of humankind with simple and concrete deeds, and then becoming messengers of true hope.
I greet you with fraternal affection, and wish you and your families a Holy and Happy Easter!