It is wonderful to be here to listen together to the “appeals of the Spirit” in the situations of the world, the Church and your Congregation. The synodal journey of the universal Church on the theme Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment is certainly a “word” that the Spirit is addressing to all of us as consecrated persons.

“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” (Lk. 12:49) These are the words of the Lord Jesus, who is speaking about his imminent Passion, and they refer to the “burning bush” within him–the ardent flame of love he received from his Father and that he wants to bring to the world of human beings.

It obviously concerns the fire of love by which he himself feels continually regenerated, that lies in the depths of his soul through the presence of the Spirit who dwells within him and who “reminds” him of the loving experience he lived in the bosom of the Father.

The mission of Jesus in this world is to bring people within the beneficent influence of this love, from which we have decidedly withdrawn. Therefore, if we ask ourselves in what the revelation of God consists, we have to say that it is a living and sanctifying fire, a bush that burns without being consumed, that ignites without destroying, that illuminates without dazzling. And all those who truly approach Jesus, even if only by touching the hem of his robe (cf. Lk. 8:44), are inflamed and ignited, becoming one with him.

So, dear Chapter delegates: evangelization, a duty to which every baptized person is called, can only be an irradiation of this fire that Jesus himself came to bring to earth. He “ignites” us with his presence and power, and only in this way do we become a fire that warms and illuminates all those we meet. Everything else is harmful proselytism, sterile pastoral marketing, theoretical conviction that does not transform one’s existence, a lack of testimony to a meeting that never happened.

It is clear that the Lord, who put his life at stake, is asking us to put our own lives at stake. The baptism we received is precisely this: “I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire” (Mt. 3:11). We are baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire. Let us never forget this! Put in the words of Christus Vivit: “Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive! (ChV 1). He burns with love for everyone, without exception, and wants you to be “infected” by this living fire so as to infect others!

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