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The Netherlands: Celebrating our Jubilarians

Today, July 9th, 2021, we celebrated five jubilarians at St. Jozefhuis, Oosterbeek. We rejoiced with Frans Baartmans, Folkert Kruis, Frans Mol and Kees Vlaming in gratitude for their 60 years of missionary life, and Jan Laarakker who celebrated his 25 years as a lay missionary associate.

Earlier, last Sunday, Tjeu Cuijpers (60), Theo Beemster (65) and Marinus de Groot (65) had celebrated their jubilees at Missiehuis Vrijland.

Jubilarian Frans Mol mhm preached at the St. Jozefhuis eucharist.

Here is the text of his homily in full:

Gratitude.

There is a gift of gratitude, a grace given to us, which is so deep that it becomes unattainable forewords. There is a sense of fulfillment so complete that it can never be done justice by speaking, not in simple words, not in roaring sentences. Gratitude and fulfillment have become realities greater than words can ever express. And they are so hard to put into words because they make you silent and speechless. We think back with emotion and amazement at what has happened to us in all those years and what has been allowed to happen through us.

Readings.

Both readings affirm and support the cause and reason of our gratitude. Both readings are part of the Lord’s prayer at the Last Supper. The first reading teaches us that everything is based on the initiative of God. “Father, Jesus prays, You have chosen my disciples yourself. They are Yours and You have given them to me. They belong to you.” To Him we owe our missionary vocation and the mission to further proclaim the Father’s message, which Jesus passed on to us. We don’t always have to fully realize that, but it’s good to think about it and reflect on it from time to time. Especially in silent contemplation.

The second reading emphasizes above all the unity which must always predominate. We have been able to pass on the same faith in various places, among different peoples with their own culture that is foreign to us and a language that is sometimes almost impossible, but with the use of our own talents and gifts. Thus, in many ways and through our efforts, faith communities have emerged. Today we stand here around the same altar and that underlying unity is relived.

Fulfillment and completion

The way in which we have been able to give shape to our vocation gives us all a measure of fulfillment. Whatever we have been able to contribute, however miserable and little, to the growth and propagation of the Church, brings with it a deep sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. Sometimes you didn’t know what to do next. There was opposition or misunderstanding among authorities, there was that eternal lack of money to build up something, or people did not understand exactly what you were saying or wanting. They were full of understanding and forgiving.

Persistence.

And yet the perseverance remained, strengthened by our faith and conviction and with the unprecedented help from above. We should also be grateful for that. We didn’t give up and kept going with surprising results.

By way of conclusion

Today we have all gathered to celebrate together. Out of recognition and gratitude to God, we begin with a Eucharist, a celebration of gratitude. In this way we make it abundantly clear to whom we owe our joy for this day in the first place. We give thanks to God in prayer and  song, with readings and reflections. May we keep this in our hearts.

Frans Mol mhm

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