The XV General Assembly of the Union of Fraternities of Europe - UFME (Unio Fratrum Minorum Europae) is taking place in Medjugorje. This assembly will last until March 3, 2023, and on Tuesday evening, at the end of the second day of this Assembly, The Holy Mass was held in the church of St. James and celebrated by the bishop of the Diocese of Castellaneta, Msgr. Sabino Iannuzzi, a Franciscan who was the president of UFME in 2015. In the concelebration were the current president of the UFME Fr. Miljenko Šteko, the Provincial of the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina Fr. Jozo Grbeš, the General of the Order of Friars Minor, Fr. Massimo Fusarelli, the Apostolic Visitor with a special role for the parish of Medjugorje, Archbishop Aldo Cavalli, the parish priest of Međugorje Fr. Zvonimir Pavičić and 54 other priests and provincials participating in the general assembly of the Union of Friars Minor of Europe.
In his sermon, Msgr. Iannuzzi referred to the Holy Mass reading in which the prophet Isaiah, using the image of some very common natural phenomena, such as rain and snow, announces that God's Word is "alive and effective" and, as the author of the Letter to the Hebrews affirms, "is sharper than any two-edged sword ... and judges the intentions and thoughts of the heart." (Heb 4:12)
"What the prophet wants to emphasize is the beauty of the fruitfulness and vitality of this Word, compared to the typical natural process of rain. Just as the earth suffers due to the lack of water, so does human existence, without what comes out of God's mouth, turn into a barren desert,'' said Bishop Iannuzzi, who also referred to the current state of the society.
"We certainly live the fruits of secularization and in certain segments of de-Christianization in the Western world; we are still suffering the fruits of the pandemic that prevented us from carrying out our usual evangelistic activities for so long; we are still witnessing the fruits of the conflict in Ukraine, which has once again brought death, suffering, divisions to Europe, and that is why from this place we raise a prayer and cry for peace and we say "stop the use of weapons"... But today's liturgy reminds us that the Word of the Lord does not work in us without fruit and that is why we must always harmonize with it, the only guarantee for fruitful work, for a truly effective mission,'' said Msgr. Ianuzzi and reminded that "the prophet Isaiah calls us to anticipate the Lord's wishes, to listen more to His wishes in prayer, in invocations: Let Your will be done!" Let us listen to that more, than to our fears and efforts, because God completes what He desires and frees us from all anxiety''.
"Jesus tells us in the Gospel that we must not babble many words in prayer, like the pagans who believe that they will be answered with many words", said Bishop Iannuzzi, encouraging us to "take courage and act, trusting in love and providence God who is the Father''.
"And on this day, when the liturgy gives us the prayer of Our Father, that Jesus taught the disciples on the mountain, paving the way to the beatitudes, I want to entrust you with what St. Francis requested in his Interpretation:
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven: So that we may love you with our whole heart by always thinking about you; with our whole soul by desiring always only you; with our whole mind by always directing all of our intentions to you; and by seeking your glory in everything with our whole strength and by exerting all of our energies and affections in both body and soul and in service of your love and nothing else. And may we love our neighbors as ourselves by drawing them all to your love with our whole strength by rejoicing in the good of others, by suffering with others, and by giving offense to no one.”