Thursday, December 11, 2014

Smoothing the way to Jesus

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
December 14, 2014

John 1:6-8,19-28

"There is one among you whom you do not recognize." John the Baptist utters these words referring to Jesus who is already moving among those who are approaching the Jordan to be baptized, although he still hasn't manifested himself. His whole concern is precisely to "smooth the way" so that those people might believe in him. That's how the first Christian generations presented the figure of John the Baptist.

But John the Baptist's words are written in such a way that, read by those of us who call ourselves Christian today, they raise disturbing questions in us. Jesus is among us but do we really know him? Do we agree with him? Do we follow him closely?

It's true that in the Church we are always talking about Jesus. In theory, nothing is more important to us. But then we turn so much around our ideas, projects and activities that Jesus quite often remains in the background. We ourselves are the ones who, without realizing it, "obscure" him by our own starring roles.

Perhaps the greatest misfortune of Christianity is that there are so many men and women who call themselves "Christian" in whose hearts Jesus is absent. They don't know him. They don't resonate with him. He doesn't attract or seduce them. Jesus is an inert and lifeless figure. He is mute. He doesn't say anything special to them that gives hope to their lives. Their existence isn't marked by Jesus.

This Church urgently needs "witnesses" to Jesus, believers who look more like him, Christians who, through their way of being and living, ease the path to believing in Christ. We need witnesses who talk about God as he did, who communicate His message of compassion as he did, who spread trust in the Father as he did.

Of what use are our catechesis and sermons if they don't lead to knowing, loving, and following Jesus with more faith and joy? What are our Eucharists if they don't help people be in a more living communion with Jesus, with his plan and his delivery up on the Cross for all? In the Church, no one is "the Light" but we can all radiate it through our lives. No one is "the Word of God" but we can all be voices that invite and encourage others to focus Christianity on Jesus.

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