Pope Francis sent a video message to members of the “John XVII Movement”. This ecumenical group helps the Christian churches to forge friendship and harmony, love each other, and move towards unity.
(Vatican News Network)Just as the “John XVII Movement” held a two-day retreat at St. Joseph’s Seminary and College in New York, USA on Wednesday, June 9, Pope Francis sent a video message to members of this ecumenical group . The Pope emphasized that everything stems from friendly encounters. Love can change the world, but we are the first to be changed.
The “John XVII Movement” was initiated in 2013 by the Pastor of the Pentecostal Church, Joe Tosini. Although the pastor is not a Catholic, he feels strongly that he needs to pray for the newly elected Pope Francis. Pastor Tosini has been promoted to the Pope many times. This movement is named after Chapter 17 of the Gospel of John because it is recorded in this gospel chapter that Jesus prayed that “they would be one” (cf. John 17:11). The theme of this retreat of the movement is “reconciliation of relations, a new path towards Christian reconciliation.”
Pope Francis published a video message in Spanish to the participants. The Pope stated that the meaning of the “John XVII Movement” is to discover that they are brothers and sisters when they drink coffee, have a meal at the same table or eat ice cream together. They understand this not because of their skin color, nationality, native place, or different forms of faith, but because they are brothers and sisters, “children of the same heavenly father.” Even if it is because of poverty or war, without that cup of coffee, meal, or ball of ice cream, we are still brothers and sisters, and we must treat each other in this way. The Pope emphasized, “We don’t have to think about our birthplace, nationality or skin color, we are all children of the same heavenly Father.”
The Holy Father pointed out that love does not require advanced theological knowledge, only theological knowledge is necessary. “Love is an encounter in life, first of all encounter with Jesus; then, from this encounter of love, friendship, brotherhood, and the belief that each other are children of the same heavenly father are born.” “Everything begins with friendly encounters.” By sharing life and joining hands in a lofty ideal, “Love can change the world, but we are the first to be changed.” “To unite in love, we Christians can change the world and change ourselves, because God is love!”
In addition, the Pope also mentioned his meeting with members of the “John XVII Movement” and the hope and joy that their testimony brought to the Pope. The Pope encouraged the members of the movement to continue walking side by side, sharing life and brotherhood. At the same time, the Pope is also wary of everyone. Some people often confuse love with Platonic, purely idealistic philosophy. However, love is concrete, because the meaning of love is to give your life to others, as Jesus did. The Pope said, “Whether you love or not, the love that is born into human beings and lays down for us is the way.” Love is not achieved by verbal teaching, but it must be real. The “John Seventeenth Movement” teaches the true meaning of love by living out love.