Gospel Study 3.0

’…The kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom things both new and old.’ (Mt 13:52)

As is shown by this man in the parable of the Kingdom, these realities exist today: the ’newness’ of the media that enable us to jump over spatial borders and the seeking by young people which continues over time. Faced with that, the intercommunication and the lack of local church communities that might help some young people to grow in faith, an alternative known as Gospel Study 3.0 was set up because the Word can continue to be ’alive and active’ (Heb 4:12) through the Internet too. 
The first encounters took place in a spontaneous way through the creativity that arises out of necessity. As the years passed we wondered whether this experience that had helped us so much might not be something to propose for the Youth and Vocations Ministry. It could help some young people who were seeking a faith group but who were living in different cities. We proposed it, invited people and, for the past two years, we have been sharing this space once a week. 
At first it was strange, and had its limitations (the major one being the fact of not seeing one another physically) but… ’everything works for good with those who love God’ (Rom 8:28)
 
We ’meet’ one evening a week, when the participants arrive home (about 10 p.m.) and use the Gospel Study method (see, judge, act). In the last course we worked on ’Jesus faced with injustice and his response of hope’. Each week we post on a web platform a document with the text we have chosen which means that, during the meetings, we can modify it and work on it in real time; in one of the margins there is a window where the discussion can be developed. 
 
At the moment we are five in number (the meetings would be difficult if there were more). We begin with an informal moment when we exchange news of the week. Then we read and analyse the text itself, comment on what we have discovered and on the person of Jesus; we contrast it with our own life and end with a prayer. Although we do not all know one another ’in person’, there is a very close relation that we nourish during the important occasions in the Church, accompanying one another daily in faith through the Whatsapp (a mobile phone application). 
 
The best thing would be for you ’to listen’ to the experience of María and Cecilia, two members of the group. 
 
Why did you join this group? 
 
Cecilia: For some time I had been looking for a prayer group where we might discuss questions of faith and subjects that we don’t usually talk about in day-to-day life, seeking to look at what moves me interiorly and finding God in small things. At the World Youth Days I participated with the Jesuit group and we had groups like that, which delighted me. So, when Valle mentioned this option to me, I thought that it fitted in perfectly with my needs. 
 
María: First of all, I suppose it is because I have a spiritual restlessness. Jesus continues to be a figure that attracts and intrigues me. This group was an opportunity to talk of Him in a simple way, without prejudices or fears. I didn’t look for it, it was an opportunity that was offered to me and I wished to try it out only for the novelty it represented. 
 
What does it bring to your life? 
Cecilia: ’For me it serves as an escape route, that is, as a moment in the week when I can distance myself from "the madding crowd" and centre myself on questions and emotions that I cannot deal with from day to day. Also, I believe it is important to live our faith in community, with other persons who, like us, are experiencing the same phases, the same doubts. … Ultimately, it is a time of formation and personal growth. 
 
María: It gives me a much more detailed vision of the world, focussed on small details as a form of encounter with God. It brings me the freedom of not living a spiritual life according to some regulations that others decide concerning what it is to be or not to be a Christian. It is also a place in which all the structures built around the message of Jesus can be dismantled, going directly to what is basic, to his person and his life, to his struggle to restore dignity to persons, especially to those experiencing harsh situations. In short, it brings me a disposition for action. 
 
What do you discover about Jesus? 
Cecilia: I discover his humanity. It’s not that I didn’t know it, but that I appreciate its reality, adapted to real situations; the day-to-day life of his time is not so very different from ours – similar problems and situations. For all of these he had a response of hope and faith. I discover his message with some clarity and the way of adapting it to my life, in our relations as much with God as with our families and the people around us. 
 
María: Well, at the moment when I find I have the confidence to doubt and to question, I discover this presence that respects distances, without judging and without living up. The fact that his life and message are revolutionary does not leave me indifferent. What is disconcerting and challenging is that he has an irresistible interior authority, and a way of listening only with the heart. That he is consistent, simple and continues on without losing hope in people. 
 
For us as Little Sisters, it is a joy to share the life of this group, to grow with them and to continue learning and listening to the Word that is always new and which illuminates our daily life and journey, making use of the means in use today, in the service of life, of encounter and of evangelisation.
 
Sister Lucía
10/04/2014
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