Thursday, May 1, 2014
Welcoming the power of the gospel
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
May 4, 2014
Two of Jesus' disciples are going away from Jerusalem. They are walking along, sad and desolate. In their hearts, the hope they had placed in Jesus faded when they saw him die on the Cross. However, they're still thinking about him. They can't forget him. Might it all have been an illusion?
As they're talking and discussing all that they've experienced, Jesus approaches them and begins to walk with them. However, the disciples don't recognize him. That Jesus in whom they had trusted so much and whom they had loved so passionately now seems like a travelling stranger to them.
Jesus joins their conversation. The travelers listen to him surprised at first, but little by little something stirs in their hearts. They don't know exactly what. Later they will say, "Were not our hearts burning while he spoke to us on the way?".
The travelers are attracted by Jesus' words. A time comes when they need his company. They don't want to let him go. "Stay with us." During dinner, their eyes are opened and they recognize him. That's the first message of the story: When we welcome Jesus as a travelling companion, his words can awaken in us the hope that has been lost.
Over these years, many people have lost their trust in Jesus. Gradually, he has become a strange and unrecognizable character to them. All they know of him is what they can rebuild in a partial and fragmentary way from what they've heard from preachers and catechists.
Undoubtedly the Sunday homily fulfills an indispensable task, but it's clearly insufficient for people today to be able to come into direct living contact with the Gospel. The way it takes place -- before a people who must remain silent without expressing their concerns, questions or problems, it's hard for it to accomplish regenerating the wavering faith of so many people who are seeking, sometimes without knowing it, to meet Jesus.
Hasn't the time come to establish a new and different space, outside of the Sunday liturgy, to listen together to the Gospel of Jesus? Why couldn't we laypeople and priests, women and men, convinced Christians and people interested in the faith, meet to listen to, share, discuss and receive the Gospel of Jesus?
We have to give the Gospel with all its transforming power the chance to come into immediate direct contact with the problems, crises, fears, and hopes of the people of today. Soon it will be too late to recover the original freshness of the Gospel among us.