Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Opening new ways

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
December 3, 2012

Luke 3:1-6

The first Christians saw in the actions of John the Baptist, the prophet who prepared the way for Jesus decisively. Therefore, over the centuries, John the Baptist has become a call that keeps urging us to prepare ways that allow us to welcome Jesus among us.

Luke has summed up his message with this cry taken from the prophet Isaiah: "Prepare ye the way of the Lord." How do we hear that cry in the Church today? How do we open the way so that we men and women of our time might meet him? How do we welcome him into our communities?

The first thing  is to realize that we need a much more living contact with him. We can't nourish ourselves with religious doctrine alone. It's not possible to follow a Jesus who has been converted into a sublime abstraction. We need to get vitally in tune with him, let ourselves be drawn to his lifestyle, become infected with his passion for God and for human beings.

Amid the "spiritual desert" of modern society, we must view and form the Christian community as a place where Jesus' Gospel is welcomed. Experience the meeting of believers, those who believe less, those who believe little and even non-believers around the gospel story of Jesus. Give it the chance to penetrate our problems, crises, fears, and hopes with its humanizing force.

We mustn't forget it. In the gospels, we don't learn an academic doctrine about Jesus, inevitably destined to grow old over the centuries. We learn a way of living that can be achieved in all times and in all cultures: the lifestyle of Jesus. Doctrine doesn't touch the heart, convert it or make it fall in love. Jesus does.

Direct and immediate experience with the gospel narrative makes us be reborn to a new faith, not via "indoctrination" or "theoretical learning", but through living contact with Jesus. He teaches us to live the faith, not by force but by attraction. He makes us live the Christian life not as a duty but as something contagious. Through contact with the gospel, we regain our true identity as followers of Jesus.

By running through the gospels, we find that the silent invisible presence of the Risen One acquires human traits and regains a real voice. Suddenly everything changes. We can be accompanied by Someone who brings meaning, truth, and hope to our existence. The secret of the "new evangelization" is to put ourselves in direct and immediate contact with Jesus. Without him, it's impossible to engender new faith.

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