Openning mass in the Buikwe Hospital7. 5. 2006
Dear brother Bishop, dear workers of the Bishopric, dear Mr. President, dear Mr. Director of the Archdiocesan Charity Prague Mr. Němec, dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, our Lord!
It is for me an unforgettable experience to celebrate my first liturgy ever on the continent of Africa today with you in the diocese of Lugazi here in Buikwe. We are all wittnesses of the act of love of the faithful of the Prague archdiocese as we are transmitting you this hospital which we are openning and blessing today. It is for me a deep experience to be a part of the community of your diocese, in the presence of you all including your holy martyrs of Uganda. At this Eucharist we are going to ask for God´s blessing for all those who are going to be working here and also for those who will be coming here looking for the restoration of their health. I am including to this Eucharist the whole of your diocese of Lugazi with your bishop Matthias Ssekamanya and the whole of Uganda with all its joys and sorrows.
Dear brothers and sisters,
it is for me a deep experience to proclaim to you the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ... I have not come to give you a lecture but to fulfill the task Jesus has given to us: to be united with you in the brotherly communion in which the Risen Lord is present in our midst as he said it himself: “Where two or three meet in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18, 20). The name of God is love (compare 1 John 4, 8). In the Old Testament God is saying: “My delight is to be with the children of men” (Proverbs 8, 31). Today´s Gospel is a paraphrase of the Jesus´saying “gathered in my name” by the term “remain in my love”. This is the state of mind we are coming in to you as brothers and sisters from the Middle Europe, from the Czech Republic. Bringing the gift of love of our faithful we are coming with the attitude of the love of Christ. We are not attaching any condition, any political goal or even proselytism to this, we are not trying to win you over to Christ through the gift of this hospital.
Also you have received us in love. This mutual love makes real the presence of the Risen Jesus among us. We are in God and God is within us as he told to his apostles: “Remain in me and I will remain in you”. We can see this core of Christianity which we proclaim and which we experience especially at Easter – the love of God to us – in the apostolic letter of our Holy Father Benedict the Sixteenth. He has declared this core of Christianity - the love of God to us in a very deep and delicate way by saying: “Love is the task of the Church”. What love? Saint Luke writes in the Acts of the Apostles about the early Church: “they were one soul and one mind”. What is really crucial is not our activity, what we create and produce but that God´s love is poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us”. We have become Christians by receiving the sacrament of baptism which has brought this outpouring of the Spirit. God continues in this outpouring of the Holy Spirit through the sacraments of confirmation and other sacraments. We are taking part in the life of the risen Christ, in the love of the Holy Spirit, in the love of the Holy Trinity, which remains in us. However this love inside us is not a precious treasure – it is δυναμις του θεου – the force of God “urging us”, to love others as the persons of the Holy Trinity, where every person lives for another and in the other (compare John´s gospel): “remain in me and I will remain in you”, remain in my love”. This is the way to create the communion. It is not us who create it, it is God uniting us into one community. Outside the distribution of the sacraments and proclamation of the good news which are inseparable, it is the practical living out of love in the Church which is the crucial service and task of the Church. Without this love its mission is not complete.
This is the gospel message – especially of the John´s gospel – which had matured in the life of the Church over decades. Without these interconnected elements the Church is not the “city built on the mountain” and is not passing the clear message which is so necessary to this world. This is the lifestyle of the Church experienced by the first apostles with Jesus himself in their midst. This was his mission for the apostles after the Resurrection. We can see clearly that this is the reason why the Pope Benedict has chosen this issue so important for the Church in order to introduce it to the Church and to the whole world. We could not help not to proclaim this good news at this occasion in the Easter season while putting this core of Christianity in action and sharing it with you.
May this hospital be the house where the Love of Christ dwells and may the life of the holy Trinity shine here.
Words of His Eminence Cardinal Miloslav Vlk at the openning mass in the Buikwe Hospital
7 May 2006