What if the salt lost its taste?
Miguel Ángel Velasco cmf
Membre de la cmfUNteam
A few days ago, I was at a Caritas celebration in one of the dioceses in Spain. All NGOs respond to COVID-19 and work more intensely than before. At Caritas, workers, volunteers, parish groups, parish priests, and diocesan priests are doing a grueling job of personalized attention. Food distribution has once again become one of the priorities, along with training and job placement, statistical studies on the present situation, the fight against job insecurity, intense work on non-discrimination based on gender and violence against women, the defense of children’s rights, the contribution of 0.7% of GDP or jobs in the Amazon. Collaboration with other NGOs, governments, and municipalities has become more intense. Can we say that Caritas has forgotten its Christian roots because it has these fields of action?
A few days ago I was part of a meeting of the Apostolate and Mission of the Claretian Missionaries. Among other topics, it addressed the participation of the Congregation of Claretian Missionaries in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda of Goals for Sustainable Development. Some of those present at the Zoom meeting was wondering, with all legitimacy, assuming the 2030 Agenda as one of the components of our Mission in the coming years was something legitimate: “we are missionaries, heralds of the Word of God”. What place would the 2030 Agenda occupy in this context? Could we say that, if we assumed the 2030 Agenda as part of our missionary horizon, the Claretians would have forgotten our charismatic roots?
The answer in both cases can be answered with a quote from the Gospel of Luke about the encounter of the risen Jesus with the Disciples of Emmaus: “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days? What things? He asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.” (Lk. 24: 19). The Good News is the proclamation that something is “to come” and something is “being carried out” in the totality of the human being and society. Caritas develops all its work from the profound experience of God’s love, which is manifested in close contact with each person, giving individual and structural responses in the style of Jesus. Caritas is a “mighty prophet in deed and word.” Regarding the Claretian Missionaries, we can say that one cannot be a prophet if “deeds and words” are not together. The phrase referring to Jesus as “someone such a human, who is himself God”, is the presence of Jesus Christ in the history of salvation to “give New Life” to each man, to all human History, and the entire Creation.
What does this have to do with the 2030 Agenda? If we believe in the presence of the Spirit in the world and human history. We must look for the signs and traces of his existence. When men of goodwill all over the world sincerely seek what is best for our world, the Spirit is unquestionable going to “lend a hand.” It would be convenient, as Pope Francis and leaders of the other religions have done for us to see in the 2030 Agenda, and one of those is the SIGNS OF THE TIMES that we have to take as Signs of the Spirit. It would be a sense of sadness and sin if we did not look for a way to make them ours.
And what about the title of this article? What if the salt lost its taste? What would happen if Caritas or the Claretian Missionaries lost its taste that is Christ? We can bring another biblical text, this time from the Gospel of John: “I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing (Jn. 15: 5).” That could happen, but we will deprive the NGOs or the organizations in our world of something they need that may only be given from Christ. We are to be prophets in works and words from the vine that is Jesus.
Secretary-General of the UN. The challenges of the UN
In collaboration with other institutions for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, we have to express clearly who we are and what it is that moves us to be in our Christian commitment to a fraternal world. In the case of our works, in many of our activities, we serve believers and non-believers. In that case, everyone knows who we are and we should not hide the reason why as Christian-Catholics, we attach so much importance to the 2030 Agenda. In our Institutes of Religious Life, parishes, and schools, we have to learn the 2030 Agenda and read Laudato Si from a Christian perspective.
The final document of the XXV General Chapter presented us with the improved facet of our Mission. It tells us that: we have to know ourselves, “in Community”, that we are “Sent to evangelize and to listen to the poor”; working side by side “with the whole Church and those who seek the transformation of the world” and being “Open to everyone in prophetic dialogue.” Entering into the dynamics of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a golden opportunity to be a Claretians of the 21st century in the world. To be Missionaries from the “fire of the Spirit” that makes us “listeners and servants of the Word”; a Spirit that speaks in the world, history, and concrete humanity, as we see it reflected in Mary.
Pope Francis. Global Compact for Education
Forgive me if I cannot end without referring to the educational system in the Claretian schools. In which we provide education to different Christian denominations and religions, we have the possibility of building a fruitful dialogue in this “common space or Areopagus” that is one of the Goals of the 2030 Agenda. In the schools or universities of Catholic countries, the 2030 Agenda also represents an enormous opportunity to integrate Education for Global Citizenship into the Educational Program (Book of Values). And it would be a big failure not to understand these educational centers as places where one has to reflect on what the 2030 Agenda represents for Catholics. The 2030 Agenda must be in centers with Catholic ideals, as an instrument to deepen the commitment as Catholic-Christians in transforming this world into a big family.
Miguel Angel Velasco cmf
Membre de la cmfUNteam
(Translator: Antonio A. cmf)
75th Anniversary UN. In the middle of the COVID