by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
The Second Vatican Council presents Mary, Mother of Jesus, as "prototype and model for the Church", and it describes her as a humble woman who listens to God with trust and joy. We have to listen to God with the same attitude in the Church today.
"Rejoice." It's the first thing Mary hears from God and the first thing we should hear today too. We lack joy. We often let ourselves be infected by the sadness of an aging and burnt out Church. Is Jesus no longer the Good News? Aren't we happy to be His followers? When joy is missing, faith loses its freshness, cordiality disappears, and the friendship between believers grows cold. Everything is harder. It's vital to awaken joy in our communities and regain the peace that Jesus left as our heritage.
"The Lord is with you." Joy isn't easy in the Church of our time. It can only be born of trust in God. We aren't orphans. Each day we invoke a Father God who walks with us, defends us and always seeks what's best for every human being.
This Church, sometimes so confused and lost, that fails to return to the Gospel, is not alone. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is seeking us. His Spirit is attracting us. We count on His encouragement and understanding. Jesus has not abandoned us. With Him everything is possible
"Do not be afraid." Many fears paralyze those of us who are followers of Jesus. Fear of the modern world and secularization. Fear of an uncertain future. Fear of our weakness. Fear of conversion to the Gospel. Fear is causing us much harm. It keeps us from going towards the future with hope. It locks us in a sterile preservation of the past. Our ghosts increase. Healthy realism and Christian rationality disappear. It's vital to build a Church on trust. God's strength is not revealed in a powerful Church but in a humble one.
"You shall give birth to a son and you shall call Him Jesus." Like Mary, we too have been given a mission: to contribute to shining a light in the midst of the night. We are not called to judge the world but to sow hope. Our task is not to quench the smoldering wick but to kindle the faith that is trying to spring up in many -- God is a question that makes us more human.
Starting in our communities which are ever smaller and poorer, we can be yeast for a healthier and more fraternal world. We are in good hands. God is not in crisis. We are the ones who dare not follow Jesus with joy and trust.