Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What can we do?

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
December 10, 2012

John the Baptist's preaching shook the consciences of many. That prophet from the desert was telling them out loud what they were feeling in their hearts: that it was necessary to change, to come back to God, to prepare themselves to welcome the Messiah. Some approached him with this question: What can we do?

John the Baptist has very clear ideas. He doesn't propose that they add new religious practices to their lives. He doesn't ask them to stay in the desert doing penance. He doesn't speak to them of new precepts. The Messiah must be received by looking attentively to the needy.

He doesn't get lost in lofty theories or deep motives. In a direct way, in the purest prophetic style, he sums it all up in a brilliant phrase: "Whoever has two tunics should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” And us? What can we do to welcome Christ amid this society in crisis?

First, make a much greater effort to know what's going on. Lack of information is the first reason for our passivity. Also, not tolerate lies or covering up of the truth. We have to know, in all its rawness, the suffering that is being generated unfairly among us.

It's not enough to live with fits of generosity. We can take steps towards a more sober life. Dare to experiment with impoverishing ourselves little by little, cutting back our current level of well-being to share with the neediest the many things that we have and don't need in order to live.

We can be especially attentive to those who have fallen into serious problems of social exclusion: those who have been evicted, deprived of due medical attention, without any income or any social recourse at all...We have to go instinctively to the defense of those who are drowning in powerlessness and lack of motivation to face their future.

From the Christian communities, we can develop various initiatives to be near the most scandalous cases of social distress: knowledge of specific situations, mobilizing people so no one is left alone, contributing material resources, managing possible aid...

The crisis is going to be a long one. In the coming years we will be offered the opportunity to humanize our crazy consumerism, make ourselves more sensitive to the suffering of the victims, grow in practical solidarity, contribute to denouncing the lack of compassion in the management of the crisis ... It will be our way of welcoming Christ more truly into our lives.

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