Thursday, December 8, 2011

Witnesses to the Light

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Eclesalia Informativo

John 1:5-8,19-28

The Christian faith was born of a surprising encounter a group of men and women had with Jesus. Everything began when these disciples got in touch with Him and experienced "God's salvific warmth." That liberating, tranformative, and humanizing experience they had with Jesus triggered everything.

Their faith awakened amid doubts, uncertainties, and misunderstandings as they followed Him along the roads of Galilee. It was wounded by cowardice and denial when He was executed on the cross. It was reaffirmed and began to spread when they saw Him fully alive after His death.

Therefore, if this experience isn't spread and transmitted from generation to generation over the years, a tragic breakdown occurs in the history of Christianity. Bishops and priests go on preaching the Christian message. Theologians write their theological studies. Pastors administer the sacraments. But, if there aren't any witnesses capable of spreading what was experienced with Jesus at the beginning, the essential is missing, the only thing that can keep faith in Him alive.

We need these witnesses to Jesus in our communities. The figure of John the Baptist, making way for Him amid the Jewish people, inspires us to stimulate this very necessary vocation in the Church today. In the darkness of our time, we need "witnesses to the Light".

Believers who awaken the desire for Jesus and make His message believable. Christians who, through their personal experience, spirit and words, facilitate an encounter with Him. Followers who rescue Him from oblivion and relegation to make Him more visible among us.

Humble witnesses who, in the style of John the Baptist, don't attribute any role to themselves that would focus attention on them, stealing the starring role from Jesus. Followers who don't replace or eclipse Him. Christians who are inspired and sustained by Him, who allow the unmistakable presence of Jesus alive in our midst to be seen through their words and deeds.

Jesus' witnesses don't talk about themselves. Their most important words are always those of Jesus. In fact, the witness doesn't have the floor. He or she is only "a voice" that inspires everyone to "make straight" the way that will lead us to Him. The faith of our communities today is sutained through the experience of those humble and simple witnesses who, in the midst of so much discouragement and bewilderment, shine a light as they help us feel the warmth of Jesus through their lives.

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