by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Luke ends his story of Jesus' birth by telling the readers that "Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart." She doesn't keep what happened as a memento from the past, but as an experience that she will update and relive throughout her life.
It isn't a gratuitous observation. Mary is a model of faith. According to this evangelist, believing in Jesus the Savior isn't remembering events from former times, but experiencing today His saving strength that is able to make our lives more human.
Therefore, Luke uses a very original literary device. Jesus doesn't belong to the past. He intentionally goes on repeating that the salvation of the risen Christ is being offered to us "TODAY", right now, whenever we encounter Him. Let's look at a few examples.
This is how Jesus' birth is proclaimed to us: "Today in the City of David a Savior has been born unto you." Jesus can be born for us today. Today he can come into our lives and change them forever. With Him we can be born into a new existence.
In a village in Galilee, they bring a paralytic before Jesus. Jesus is moved to see him blocked by his sin and heals him by offering him forgiveness: "Your sins are forgiven." The people react by praising God: "We have seen incredible things today." Today, we too can experience forgiveness, God's peace and inner joy if we let ourselves be healed by Jesus.
In the city of Jericho, Jesus stays in the house of Zacchaeus, a rich and powerful tax collector. The encounter with Jesus transforms him -- he will give back what he has robbed from many people and will share his assets with the poor. Jesus says to him: "Today salvation has come to this house." If we let Jesus come into our lives, we can begin to live a worthier and more fraternal life of solidarity today.
Jesus is dying on the cross between two wrongdoers. One of them confides in Jesus: "Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom." Jesus responds immediately: "Today you will be with Me in paradise." The day of our death will also be a day of salvation. Finally we will hear these long awaited words from Jesus: rest, trust in Me, today you will be with Me forever.
Today we begin a new year. But what could be really new and good for us? Who will make new happiness be born within us? What psychologist will teach us to be more humane? Good wishes are not very useful. What's crucial is to be more attentive to the best that is being stirred up in us. Salvation is offered to us every day. We don't have to wait for anything. Today can be a day of salvation for me.