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SYNOD OF BISHOPS
SECOND SPECIAL ASSEMBLY OF AFRICAN BISHOPS
LINEAMANTA
The Church in Africa in Service to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace



CHAPTER II
JESUS CHRIST, THE WORD AND THE BREAD OF LIFE, OUR RECONCILER, OUR JUSTICE AND OUR PEACE.


2.1 - The answers to the above questions are still in no.30: “Before these challenges, the Church-Family of God in Africa has no other response than that of Simon Peter: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life” (Jn 6: 68). These questions are an invitation to the Church to start afresh from Christ, the Fullness of Life, our Reconciler, our Peace and our Justice”. And again in no.31: “There is no easy answer to the above questions. However, the Church-Family of God in Africa holds that the only solution is one Person: Jesus Christ”.

2.2 Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11: 28). No.32:” This acknowledges the dehumanising and oppressive situation of the African peoples. (Nos. 32-36) deepens the meaning of Christ’s presence in our midst.
The Church-Family of God in Africa finds confidence in these words and an invitation once again to cast the nets into the deep, because, from the time of the First Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, she had made a preferential choice for the poor.
She thus acknowledged the dehumanising and oppressive situation of the African peoples. In doing so, she came face to face with not only a crisis, in the etymological sense of the word, as a ‘judgment’, but also a challenge. There is crisis in sincere conversion, holiness and integrity. The challenge is to develop every potential aspect of the Gospel message of divine adoption so as to liberate the African peoples from sin and the “structures of sin”, in short, from the heavy yoke weighing them down. Both the crisis and challenge lead us to turn our eyes toward the One who is our Life and our Liberation: Jesus Christ!

2.2.2. - Where does that confidence in the word of Christ come from?
We know and believe that in Christ there is no difference between his Person and his Word. “Et Verbum caro factum est: And the Word became Flesh” (Jn 1:14). He is the Truth. Jesus Christ, the Word of Life, he is the source and fulfilment of all our lives, including our ideas, projects and efforts. We do hope that we will succeed in our challenge, to liberate African peoples from sin and the structures of sin, by developing every potential aspect of the Gospel message. But the same Christ, Word of Life, is the Bread of Life. In John 6:15 we read the beautiful and rich message: “I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever”.
The One that is awaited, however, is not absent from history, because the Eucharist makes him truly present: In the reality of his Body and Blood, Christ makes his entire self substantially present in our lives, fulfils his promise to be with us all the days of our lives until the end of time (Mt 28: 20) and send us back to our daily realities, so that we can fill them with his presence, as a result of our encounter with Him” (no .35).

2.2.3 – Sometimes we feel that the Word of God is at a loss, “in the light of the fact that African people are subjected to a manipulation of the word monopolised by radio, television and political speeches”. That was the idea of the old Scribes and Pharisees, at the moment of his death. But we believe that: “The Dead and Risen Christ is the source and fulfilment of all life”. In Him and through Him, God gives the world the Word of Life, who reconciles all beings, ‘when he made peace by his death on the cross’ (Col 1:20), and is their justification. He gives us this justification and peace in time in the Breaking of Bread, which makes his Word present in us.”(no.34).

2.2.4 – struggle for life and survival: There is need to reconstruct Africa. The ethnic and regional wars, the massacres and genocide which have free reign over the continent should cry out to us in a very special way. “The dead and risen Christ is the source and fulfilment of all life” in the sense that we participate into his healing power, springing from his resurrection. It is the same power which helps us to live in the context of the “Beatitudes”, of which Reconciliation, Justice and Peace should be, as indeed they are, the best fruits. Sharing the blood of Christ makes us sharers in the same life because the same blood of Christ circulates in our veins and makes us children of God, members of one family. Then, hatred, injustice and fratricidal wars should cease.

 

 

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