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January 1992

Know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time. (Mt. 28:20)

Just before leaving this world, Jesus gathered the apostles together with him for the last time. During his life on earth he had focussed his attention on them in a particular way, so as to unite them ever more closely to himself until they were one with him. And now, as he bids them farewell, he sends them into the world with the fullness of his powers to continue his mission, that of announcing the Good News and uniting the whole human race in his love, like one great family.

The apostles will have to face much resistance and many difficulties. But Jesus reassures them. Even if they do not see him again for the rest of their, earthly lives, he will always be with them to guide them and support them. He himself will keep them united, even when they are scattered throughout the world, so that they are always of one heart and one mind with him. It will be he who acts through their work as apostles.

Know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.

It is no accident that these particular words come at the end of Jesus' earthly life. They remind us of what is the source of the life and fruitfulness of the Church, that is, the continual presence of Jesus not only in the midst of the apostles and their successors but also amongst all his disciples. In reality Jesus has not left us. Even if our eyes cannot see him, he is always in our midst. He continues to enlighten us through his word, to share divine life with us through his sacraments (especially the Eucharist), and to guide us through his pastors. Jesus continues to sanctify the world through his disciples united in his name.

Know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.

How shall we live the Word of Life this month? We too are sent by Jesus to bear witness to his Gospel wherever we live. But we too, like the apostles and especially in today's world, can be aware of how difficult this task is, and feel almost overwhelmed by the secular environment and the intrusiveness of the evil we find around us.

So Jesus wants to remind us that he is always with us. He wants to assure us that it will be he who acts through us. If he is in our midst, not even the world can make us afraid any more, because he has overcome the world.

Of course, Jesus' marvellous and active presence amongst us can only come about if we are united in his name. So the way to live the Word of Life this month is by creating the necessary conditions for Jesus to be always in our midst. We can help one another live his word, above all the commandment of mutual love. We can pay more attention to all that can increase unity with our pastors and in our communities. There will be no shortage of opportunities.

And as this is the month in which we celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18th - 25th January), let's remember the theme for the week which is: 'I am with you... Go then...'(Mt. 28:19-20). We Christians can pray and work in a particular way so that all Christians, united by our one baptism, may give the world a witness to the presence of Jesus amongst us, through our reciprocal charity. It is he, the Risen Lord in our midst, who can restore hope to the world.

With his help and strengthened by his presence, we shall 'go'. Where shall we go? Wherever he takes us, wherever his will directs us to go: to work, to our homes, to school etc. And wherever we go, we will take Jesus present amongst us.

Chiara Lubich


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