Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The power of the Gospel

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
February 10, 2013

Luke 5:1-11

The episode of a surprising and unexpected catch in the lake in Galilee was written by the evangelist Luke to breathe life into the Church when it experiences that all its efforts to communicate its message have failed. What we are being told is very clear: we must put our hope in the power and appeal of the Gospel.

The story begins with an unusual scene. Jesus is standing on the shore of the lake, and "the people are crowding around him to hear the Word of God." They haven't come out of curiosity. They aren't coming to see wondrous deeds. They just want to hear the Word of God from Jesus.

It isn't the Sabbath. They aren't congregated at the nearby synagogue in Capernaum to hear the readings that are read to the people throughout the year. They haven't gone up to Jerusalem to hear the Temple priests. What draws them so is the Gospel of Jesus the Prophet, the one rejected by the neighbors in Nazareth.

The scene of the catch is also unusual. At night, the most favorable time to fish, Peter and his companions work by themselves and don't get any results. In the daytime, when they throw out the nets trusting only in the Word of Jesus who guides their work, an abundant harvest of fish is produced, contrary to all their expectations.

In the background of all the facts that make the crisis in Christianity increasingly evident among us, there's one undeniable fact: the Church is unstoppably losing the attraction and credibility it had just a few years ago.

We Christians are experiencing that our ability to transmit the faith to new generations is ever decreasing. There has been no lack of effort and initiatives. But, it seems, it's not just or primarily about inventing new strategies.

The time has come to remember that the Gospel of Jesus has a drawing power that isn't within us. This is the most decisive question: Do we go on "doing things" from a Church that's losing its attraction and credibility, or do we put all our energy into recovering the Gospel as the only force capable of engendering faith in the men and women of today?

Shouldn't we put the Gospel in the forefront of everything? What's most important in these critical times isn't the doctrines developed over the centuries, but the life and person of Jesus. What's essential is not that people come and participate in our things but that they can get in touch with him. Christian faith is only awakened when people discover the fire of Jesus.

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