Stand firm in hope

July Thursday 27

It is a joy for us brothers to welcome you all on the hill. From China, Korea or Australia to North and South America, from Finland to South Africa, including the Arab countries, we are together in a beautiful diversity.

This communion lived in the concrete situation of our days is a precious gift that is given to us all. It stimulates the hope that solidarity can be strengthened in the human family. And I think that it influences us inwardly so that we can view our personal future with courage.

You received the "Proposals 2017" at the beginning of the week. The first of these proposals is precisely to "stand firm in hope, it is creativity".

We do not confuse hope with a vague optimism that everything will go well in our life and in the life of the world. I remember that in my youth, along with many others, we were animated by the belief that technological progress would allow greater sharing in the world and an eradication of poverty.

It was good to be filled with this expectation and it is true that progress has been made in this direction. But at the same time, the abyss between rich and poor has deepened. The riches of our planet are not distributed fairly. Life on our planet is threatened. So will we lose hope?

Last week we reflected with 300 young people on one of the most serious questions facing the future of humanity, that of migrations in the world.

The growing number of refugees poses problems for which there are no easy solutions. It is as if we were not at all prepared to deal with this situation. And I repeat what I said last week: we will not find solutions if we do not all seek personal contact with a migrant or a refugee.

Faced with all these questions that concern us, how can we nourish a hope that is creative? In Taizé, with all of you, we would like to go to the source of our hope. If three times a day we find ourselves in this Church of Reconciliation, it is to express our inner thirst and to go together to this source.

And what is the living water that this source offers us? The only answer I have is this: God wants to give himself to us. Jesus promised us this: by the Holy Spirit, God comes to dwell in us. After his resurrection, when Jesus overcame death, hatred and violence, he said to his disciples, "Receive the Holy Spirit." And today he breathes the same Spirit on us.

So, in the end, our hope is summed up in this prayer: May your kingdom come. That is the prayer that Jesus taught us. Yes, we hope for nothing less than the reign of God’s love. May this reign come for each person, for each of us, and for all human beings!

Already now, in a hidden way, God comes to us when we pray together, and in the silence of our personal prayer, even when it is very poor. He comes to us through his word which we read here in the evening, in the morning and at noon. He comes to us in the Eucharist.

The Eucharist sums up the mystery of our faith and I would like to reflect on it for a moment with you. Under the signs of bread and wine, Christ gives himself to us. Even we have very little faith but we have the confidence that Christ gives himself to us, we can come to him to receive him. He wants to become our strength by this heavenly food.

Yes, it really is a heavenly food, even if we only see a little bread and wine.

The last evening he spent with his disciples, Jesus chose this way to remain in communion with us. We always want to approach this mystery with great respect and in a spirit of adoration. Receiving in faith the body and the blood of Christ, in other words his life, is a way to celebrate our hope.

It is true that some may not share faith in the Eucharist, and then, out of respect, they do not approach this sacrament. Yet they are no less in communion with Christ, with the source of our hope. God is free, and discovers how to make his way into the heart of each and every one of us.

Jesus invites us to meet him in still other ways. The beauty of creation and art is a reflection of God; it opens a kind of window onto him. And we can also meet Christ, amazing as it is, in those who are poorer than us. He said it so clearly: what you did to one of the least, you did to me.

At the end of this week you will go home. After having allowed you to draw from the source, God wants to make you all witnesses of hope. And this is our hope: his love will have the last word in the history of the world and in the history of every human being.

I talked about the great diversity among us. I would now like us to listen to the voice of a beloved country. Young people from this country come here, even if not in large numbers.

I asked Maeva from Madagascar to tell us what hope she has for her country. She is studying at the moment in Algeria and, with three other students, she is preparing a meeting of young people which is held every summer in Algeria, in Tlemcen, in parallel with the meetings at Taizé.

Maeva: My name is Maeva and I’ve been in Taizé for five weeks as a volunteer. In a week, as Brother Alois said, we will organize two sessions in Tlemcen, Algeria, inspired by Taizé, for Christians in Algeria, especially students from various African countries.

Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world. In January 2009, a very great political crisis shook the Malagasy people, with riots and great violence which resulted in several hundred victims. I was eleven years old, and I remember watching live on television, with my family, pictures of several deceased people and the general panic. We were very worried about my father who had gone to see what was happening and who had not returned.

In this very serious situation, the council of churches of Madagascar was able to organize a negotiation between the two parties in the conflict which made it possible to put in place a transition paving the way for new elections. Despite the gravity of the situation, Sunday was like a day of truce, since believers filled the churches. Our faith enabled us to stand firm in the trial and to keep alive the hope that one day all will be well for our country.

There are many young Christians in my country. We had an example of this when youth days were organized for young Christians in Madagascar. This allowed us to wake up, to understand that we can fully participate in the changing situation of our country. The meeting was a source of hope.

Coming from a disadvantaged low-lying area of the island, I am here today in search of new resolutions that could help my country. With a firm hope, I know that we will succeed in regaining stability and in fighting the miseries of the country, especially poverty. Thank you for listening.

Last updated: 27 July 2017