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May 1996

I am with you always, until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

Jesus is risen. Wishing to speak to his disciples, he invites them to a mountain in Galilee and gives them his instructions for the future. Once again he is surrounded by the Eleven who prostrate themselves before him, fully aware that he who is now in their midst is the Lord of heaven and earth. The Father has given the Son 'all authority', including the authority to come and judge the world at the end of time.

In his turn Jesus entrusts to his disciples the task of proclaiming the good news of salvation, in his name, to all nations. They will accomplish this through baptism and by 'teaching them to obey' all that he has commanded them. Baptism, in fact, is not enough: it must be transformed into a life that is really lived. But the great undertaking of bringing the light to all nations will not be a human achievement, because Jesus says:

I am with you always, until the end of the age.

Before he returns as judge, Jesus will continue to be close to his disciples and to sustain them. He will be present among them, not only in a special way when they gather around the table to celebrate his death and resurrection and to be nourished by the Eucharist, but always and in every place.

Thus a new era has begun for humanity, one characterised by a presence: the risen Jesus. This presence is the unifying factor of the world, continually gathering together 'all nations', of every time, of every latitude, leading them into the Father's Kingdom of love. This presence constitutes the Church in its most profound essence.

I am with you always, until the end of the age.

Jesus is called Emmanuel, which means: God-with-us. By his resurrection he is truly with us, near to us all.

And since Jesus is living among us, the words he said two thousand years ago are not only a splendid memory of a figure of the past, but are words which he speaks now to me, to you, to each one of us personally.

It is to us that he brings comfort and salvation. We are the ones he continues to serve, especially if we are poor, alone, or going through trials. We are the ones he helps when we fall and encourages in our difficulties.

I am with you always, until the end of the age.

He lives in His Church. Where then can we meet him? Where best can we come to him?

He is just around the corner, beside me, beside you.

He hides himself in the poor, the despised, in little ones, in the sick, in those who ask for advice, in whoever is deprived of freedom. He is in the ugly, in the outcast... He said: "I was hungry and you gave me food..." (Mt. 25:35).

He is present in every community that puts his teachings into practice - even a tiny community as in a family, among friends or among colleagues at work. In fact it is enough to have two or three people united in his name (cf. Mt. 18:20).

He is present when, in this way, we are united and in agreement in prayer. It is his presence that makes our petitions heard.

His presence shows itself in his being with and helping those who announce him to others. This applies to us too, who are called to give witness to him.

He is present in those who have been chosen as his ministers, and finally, as you know, he is there, in every place on earth, in the Eucharist.

What more do you want?

During this month, let's learn to discover him there where he is. Let's allow him to speak his divine words to us. Let's allow him to give us his powerful hand.

Chiara Lubich

 

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