Fukuoka (Agenzia Fides) – The announcement of the Gospel “is a gift of love for our brothers and sisters in search of light. It is a pledge of the “extraordinary and generous gift of redeeming grace and mercy”, which has come into the world since Jesus revealed to us that God “is Father who generously, indeed wonderfully and freely grants his grace ”. This revealed Mystery of gratuitousness is “joyful news” which fears no cultural or religious objection. The same Mystery is also the source of every genuine priestly vocation , bestowing on the priests of tomorrow the power to persevere in a world marked by a “culture of the temporary”. These were the points to which Cardinal Fernando Filoni drew the attention of Catholic seminarians whom he met yesterday evening, Monday 18 September, at the Fukuoka Seminary. The appointment with the seminarians was an important part of the pastoral visit which the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of People is making to Japan.
In his address the Cardinal took his cue from the initial objection which met with the announcement of the Gospel: “Even the famous historic novel Silence by Endo Shusaku of which there is now also a film” said Cardinal Filoni ” recalls the governors of those times who posed substantially the same question: Why do you bring to us a foreign religion and expect us to believe in your God? We too have our own culture and religion, most noble and dignified. What can Christianity contain that is not found in Confucian culture and Shinto-Taoist-Buddhist tradition?” . The heart of the newness of Christianity – the Prefect of Propaganda Fide explained to the Japanese Seminarians– is the news of salvation which God offers freely by means of the mystery of the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ: “all humanity, including the people of Japan–Cardinal Filoni exclaimed – are in need this extraordinary and generous redeeming grace and loving mercy. In other words, all of us need this salvation that the law of the karma or destiny cannot offer because it comes only from God as revealed by Jesus Christ”.
The Cardinal reminded the future priests of their great mission to be co-workers of God to announce this happy news to their people. A task to embrace, trusting not in some cunning human strategy but in that same Grace which sowed the seed of their vocation to the priesthood: “it is true – the Cardinal Filoni admitted- that the priests, religious and you the seminarians of Japan, are small in number, but the power of salt and light stems not from quantity, but from quality and authenticity. Although the Apostles were only twelve, with zeal and with the power of the grace of Christ they carried His message everywhere”. (Agenzia Fides 18/9/2017)