Monday, January 6, 2014

Recovering the freshness of the Gospel

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
January 5, 2014

John 1:1-18

In the prologue of the Gospel of John are two basic statements that require us to radically revise our understanding and living of the Christian faith, after twenty centuries of quite a few deviations, reductionism and approaches not very faithful to the Gospel of Jesus.

The first statement is this: "The Word of God became flesh." God has not kept silent, enclosed in His mystery forever. He has spoken to us. But He hasn't revealed Himself to us through sublime concepts and doctrines. His Word has been incarnated in the intimate life of Jesus so that even the most simple can understand and accept it.

The second statement says, "No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is in the Father’s bosom, is the one who has revealed Him." We theologians talk a lot about God, but none of us has seen Him. We religious leaders and preachers talk about Him with certainty, but none of us has seen His face. Only Jesus, the only Son of the Father, has told us how God is, how He loves us, and how He is seeking to build a more humane world for all.

These two statements are in the background of Pope Francis' renewal program. So he is seeking a Church rooted in the Gospel of Jesus, not entangled in doctrine or morals "not directly linked to the core of the Gospel." If we don't do it like that, "it won't be the Gospel that is being proclaimed, but some doctrinal or moral accents that come from certain ideological choices."

The Pope's approach is clear. Only in Jesus has God's mercy been revealed to us. So we are to return to the transforming power of the first Gospel proclamation, without eclipsing the Good News of Jesus and "without becoming obsessed by a multitude of doctrines which we attempt to impose insistently."

The Pope is thinking of a Church where the Gospel can regain its drawing power without being obscured by other ways of understanding and living the Christian faith today. So he invites us to "recover the original freshness of the Gospel" as what is most beautiful, greatest, most attractive and, at the same time, what is most necessary," without enclosing Jesus "in our dull categories."

We can not afford right now to live our faith without promoting in our Christian communities the conversion to Jesus Christ and his Gospel to which the Pope is calling us. He asks us all "to generously and courageously apply its guidelines without prohibitions or fear."

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