M E D I T A T I O N
JESUS - IMAGE OF GOD
Among the passages of Sacred Scripture that we are reading in the liturgy after Easter the most meaningful place is taken by the proclamation of Acts of the Apostles about the life and missionary activity of the young Church and about Jesus' teachings immediately before his Ascension. The Church of our times is nourished by the faith testimony of the apostles and earnestly seeks better to understand and fulfill its own role in our times. In the announcement of Jesus there is an interesting sentence as the answer to Philip's petition 'Show us the Father!' Jesus answers very simply and unequivocally, "Whoever sees me also sees the Father. . .the Father and I are one" (cf John 14:9).
For us believers this is a sentence of fundamental significance. If we remember yet another sentence: In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our fathers through the prophets; but in these last days, he has spoken to us through his son (cf Heb 1:1-2), then the meaning of Jesus Christ becomes even more clear for us. Speaking about God and the questions connected with it obtain a completely new clarity. A third expression of St. Paul: "Jesus Christ . . .was in the form of God" (Phil 2:6) completes the passages already mentioned above in Sacred Scripture about the meaning of Jesus Christ. From all these passages in Sacred Scripture one thing becomes completely clear, - any talk about God is from now on connected to the person of Jesus Christ and it is no longer possible to speak about God without referring to his person. We Christians have to take that fact into account in a special way. Accordingly, we must little by little let go of certain previously acquired and created ideas. It is not an easy process and it is completely clear that the effort it takes will be greater than what we had planned.
The risen Jesus does not have some new and different countenance from the one before death and resurrection. The mother of Jesus gathers together with the apostles and disciples in the name of the Risen One and by her testimony confirms who he is. She always does that throughout salvation history and is doing it up till today. The events in Medjugorje and her messages are just a part of her witness for Jesus.
Fr. Ivan Landeka
N E W S
THE MEDJUGORJE EXPERIENCE OF BISHOP GERARD DIONN
Drawn by the powerful words of Our Lady, bishops from all over the world are constantly coming to Medjugorje. At the end of April Bishop Gerard Dionn from Edmonson, New Brunswick, came to visit us from Canada. On that occasion he told us the following:
"I am on my first visit to Medjugorje which I heard about from the Croatian Franciscans who work in my diocese in Ontario. So in these last seventeen years I heard it continuously, and not only from them, that Our Lady is appearing here every day. For me that was all quite surprising and I did not know if I should believe it or not since all these events have still not been officially approved.
This year I am celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of my priestly ordination. A group of pilgrims that was planning to travel to Medjugorje requested me to be their spiritual director on this trip. That was for me a beautiful gift because already long before I had wished to find out what was going on there.
Everything I have seen here during my stay has impressed me deeply. Something like this is hard to find any place else. The faith of the people here, the attendance at holy mass and the spirit of self-denial cut deeply into my heart. I watched how crowds of countless people go up mountains that are not easy to climb, go to confession and pray. They were from every part of the world. It is difficult therefore to conclude that all this is accidental, that this is an ordinary place and that nothing has happened here. In my opinion, only faith could lead these people to come here, faith that is convinced of something concrete. This can all be compared with Lourdes and Fatima. Of course, I cannot express a final judgment. That belongs only to the local bishop. Nevertheless, according to the fruits that I see, I can say that there is something really special taking place here. It is not the Franciscans who are drawing the people here. I also have Franciscans in my parish, but there is nothing special going on. God is the one who is drawing the people to come here.
I have often talked things over with those who have been to Medjugorje. Some have also come several times even though its far away and very expensive. They try to witness their faith with a new zeal. God awakens new hope in their hearts and in the hearts of others through his own Mother. I believe she is appearing here. I don't know how I would in any other way explain the phenomenon that is alive here. It is not possible that the devil is at work, since people are praying. Likewise all this cannot be an ordinary deception. People can be deceived for a while, but not a full seventeen years and then not millions of people. I believe that something special is happening here because of the fruits. There cannot be so much good fruit on a bad tree.
Observing the liturgical life in the parish of Medjugorje I didn't notice anything particular. It is the everyday customary life of the Church. Mass is celebrated just like in other places. There is nothing here out of the ordinary. Last night we had adoration before the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. Everything was so simple: a few words, a few songs, just like the Church wants it to be. People are so strongly attracted to it that they are prepared to spend hours on their knees. We do the same thing in our churches, but people do not come in such great numbers. Why? I cannot answer differently than to say that God is present here in a special way.
I would also wish the parish of Medjugorje to keep on continuously witnessing its faith through prayer and fasting. If they are prepared to respond to Our Lady's call, then we who come here from the outside will also do it more easily. It is truly a great responsibility for the parish. I hope it will carry on successfully and remain simple has it has so far. Many pilgrims who come here carry in their hearts a remembrance of the faith and the hospitality that they encountered in the parish of Medjugorje. It is a great honor for this parish that Our Lady has visited it in a special way and that she has spoken in the Croatian language. I hope that the parish of Medjugorje and the entire Croatian people will never lose sight of that.
DEATH OF GOJKO SUSAK, CROATIAN MINISTER OF DEFENSE
The Croatian Minister of Defense, Gojko Susak, died in Zagreb on May 3, 1998. He tried constantly to conduct his life in agreement with the leaders of his Catholic faith. He himself became such a great personality that both friend and foe held him in high esteem. He often came back to the shrine of Medjugorje just like every other pilgrim. He died, having been fortified with the sacraments of the sick before death. His funeral was not a vanity fair but rather one more witness of the Christian faith. It was completely the opposite of the customary funeral of modern politicians, yet completely in accord with the same conditions and kind of funeral of Croatian defenders who died in the course of the bitter battle for freedom in these recent years.
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice mira ( Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje, BiH, fax number: +387-88-651-444.
Last Modified 05/20/98