To deepen the theme of the General Chapterâ€”Empowered by the Spirit, sharing Good News among peoplesâ€”and the focusâ€”Jesusâ€™ mission, our missionâ€”Fr. Heinz KulÃ¼ke SVD gave two input sessions the whole day: Â one on â€œThe Good Samaritanâ€ and the other on â€œJesus the Christ â€“ Keeping the Missionary Fervor Aliveâ€. Â Individual reflection and group sharing followed each talk. Â The first round of reflection and sharing focused on stories where I/we became Samaritanâ€”Where did I/we help? Where did I/we pass by?â€”while the second was on my/our image of the Lordâ€”past/present/future. Â At the end of the day, during the Eucharistic Celebration, the stories were integrated in the penitential rite and the homily.
The Good Samaritan
Coming from his own mission life and experience, Fr. Heinz contextualized in our time the Parable of the Samaritans by narrating incidents in his life of being labeled, attacked, cheated and rejected because of his associations with the poor people. His central message was to be closer to people; not to pass by but take responsibility. Â In responding to situations, the question to guide us is: Â â€œIf we do not stop what will happen to the wounded man?â€ Â â€œGo and do likewiseâ€ means to show compassion; this is what mission is all about. â€œCompassionâ€, according to Meister Eckhart, is another name for God.
He emphasized the importance of collaboration with the laity; of accepting the help of lay people especially as we grow older and fragile. Â In becoming good Samaritans, we need Good Samaritans.
Jesus the Christ â€“ Keeping the Missionary Fervor Alive
Fr. Heinz traced the various images of God in the Bible, in Christian tradition, and in other religions. Â He warned against the danger of creating God in our own image and likeness. Â God cannot be grasped in any form. Â Having false images could be a disaster. Beyond these images, we can experience God as compassion and liberation. Â Our image of God may change with time and experience, but the central image of God as love will remain. He cited writers, thinkers, theologians, and artists who depicted different images of Jesus in their respective medium of expression. He mentioned St. Augustine and Meister Eckhart, whose works are replete with the image of a God who forgives and embraces human frailty.
Our missionary response is directly related to our God image. Any future change that we are considering on the personal and Congregational levels depends on our image of God. Â Our closest image is that of Jesusâ€”Jesus empowered by the Spirit. Â The Spirit determines entirely Jesusâ€™ activity. Â Sometimes we forget that mission is all about “being Jesus”â€”to live as He lived, to teach as He taught, and to love as He loved. Â Then, Jesusâ€™ mission becomes our mission.
Fr. Heinz assured the Sisters that when God calls us to service, God grants us the necessary grace to accomplish it.