The 22nd International Spiritual Retreat for Married Couples is taking place in Medjugorje. It started today (November 8, 2023) with the registration of about 200 participants from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, the USA, the Netherlands, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Latvia, Hungary, Poland, and Ukraine.
After the registration they participated in the evening prayer program in the church of St. James in Medjugorje, where the Holy Mass was celebrated with the concelebration of 26 priests by Fr. Mihovil Kurkut, director of the Salesian publishing house, whose narrower field of interest is education and evangelization, and who is currently the head of the Salesian Oratory in Rijeka.
At the beginning of his homily, he invited us to "open our hearts so that the Lord can find a place in our lives, in our interior, but also in our thoughts, so that He can then reach our deeds too".
Reflecting at the Holy Mass readings, he said that we must love, that this is all God asks of us, that we be in love, that we love, that we be like God, the one who always puts love first at every moment.
"There is no other law, no other ritual. There is nothing you have to do for Him. You don't need to be good, you don't need to pray a lot, you don't need to offer Holy Masses, you don't need to sacrifice a lot. That is not what God asks of you. God only asks that you be love to others, that you give yourself to others, and that is much more than offering of Holy Mass, it is much more than our small sacrifices, it is much more than our rituals. It is to be always and at every moment - where God has placed you - in that family, in that country, in that community, in that illness, in that madness of the world... to be love there, because love is the fulfillment of every law, and that's what it says St. Paul, a Pharisee, a Jew, who knew the scriptures well,'' said Fr. Mihovil Kurkut. Referring to the Gospel excerpt in which a great crowd follows Jesus, he asked what kind of image of God we carry in our heads and in our hearts... He said that following Jesus is not "honey and milk", because "Jesus will not solve your problems and often will not fulfill the desires of your heart".
"Our God is not a jukebox. Our God does not solve what oppresses and torments us. Our God calls you to follow Him, to go with Him, and that is why he is speaking such difficult words tonight, among the most difficult, in the Gospel, which can also make us stumble today: 'If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple!' Jesus says hate, biblical scholars would say He didn't mean it like that, Jews don't have the word hate. It doesn't matter what He said then, what interests me is what Jesus, our living God, is saying to me here today? You cannot follow God and have other gods. You cannot build your life if your foundation is shaky, if it is not stable, if your foundation is not God himself,'' said Fr. Mihovil Kurkut, adding that too often our foundation is satisfaction, success, feeling, the desire for acceptance, the desire for fulfillment, but not God.
"Too often we have little gods", said Don Mihovil Kurkut and conveyed the message of Jesus which reads: "If you are not ready to take up your cross, do not follow me!"
He noted once again that God calls us not to put ourselves first if we want good things in our lives, but to find time for others.
''Come and feed us! Come and take us! Come and teach us to trust only You. Not by our views, thoughts, feelings or weaknesses. Thank you Lord for being so great. Thank you Lord for being alive among us. Thank you for giving us your Mother, who is also our mother and who watches over each of her children at all times. Help us, Lord, never to doubt Your love and never to put anything before Your love,'' concluded Fr. Mihovil Kurkut, and the spiritual retreat for married couples in Medjugorje will last until November 11. In addition to the lectures, participants will take part in the evening prayer program, adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, they will also pray on Cross Mountain and Apparition Hill... (PHOTO)