The encyclical Fratelli Tutti has given us a new perspective in Tokyo. We had a weekend retreat from 26th to 27th June which we called “Becoming brothers and sisters.” Ten young people took part, six via zoom and four in person, together with four missionaries. Through it,we opened our hearts to the reality of other countries which seem far away. For in the Body of Christ we are very close..
In the morning, we had the opportunity to listen to Danny’s testimony. She is a Venezuelan missionary who told us about everything that is happening in her country. She has the call to continue her missionary life in Japan, as soon as the situation allows it. The young people were struck both by receiving first-hand information on the situation in a country which they know so little about and by Danny’s desire to return to Japan. For it`s despite the fact that she would seem to be more necessary in her own country at the moment..
A young woman from our school of apostles gave us a talk on her personal experience of working with her colleagues. She explained how when we allow ourselves to be touched and healed by Jesus, He enables us to love. At first it seemed impossible for her to be a sister to her companions, but after getting to know Jesus she realised that it was possible. Despite our differences and distances, if we are united to Him we can make a space in our hearts so that others can enter.
In the evening we learnt more about another area of our world: the conflict between Israel and Palestine. We got to know the context of this ongoing struggle and then we had a time of prayer. During the vigil, all of us prayed for the countries of the world that are at war or going through a political or economic crisis.
On Sunday morning, Fratelli Tutti and the Gospel passage of the Good Samaritan helped us to discover the need for community in our lives. Both taught us to treat each other as brothers and sisters and to look for means to put this call into practice in our society and the world.
What fruits did this weekend leave in the youth? Firstly they became aware of situations which they didn`t know much about. Secondly they became more sensitive to recognising a neighbour in someone that it might be difficult for them to approach or who is going through a difficult situation. Thirdly they became aware of how necessary it is in our society to go against the flow and to live like brothers and sisters. Jesus sends us to this world with an alternative proposal to what we are normally invited to do: he calls us to be fraternal. At the end of our meeting we built a giant card online where we each wrote down the concrete steps that we wanted to take to live as brothers or sisters in our daily life.
Momoko, a sister from our community, has translated Fratelli Tutti into Japanese, at the request of the Episcopal Conference. It will soon be published and it will hopefully be a big boost for young people. There they can discover that fraternity, solidarity and the spirit of sharing and caring are the keys to overcoming the serious crises we are facing in today’s world.