Friday, April 10, 2015

Living in his presence

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
April 12, 2015

John 20:19-31

John's account could not be more suggestive or challenging. Only when they see the risen Jesus among them is the group of disciples transformed. They regain peace, their fears disappear, they are filled with an unknown joy, they notice Jesus' spirit upon them and they open the doors because they feel sent to live out the same mission which he had received from the Father.

The current crisis in the Church, its fears and its lack of spiritual strength originate at a deep level. Often the idea of the resurrection of Jesus and his presence among us is more of a conceived and preached doctrine than a living experience.

The Risen Christ is at the center of the Church but his living presence is not rooted in us. It's not incorporated into the substance of our communitiesand doesn't usually nourish our projects. After twenty centuries of Christianity, Jesus isn't known or understood in his originality. He isn't loved or followed as he was by his disciples.

You can tell right away when a a Christian group or community feels as if it's inhabited by that invisible but real and active presence of the risen Christ. They aren't content to routinely follow the guidelines governing ecclesial life. They have a special sensitivity to listening to, seeking, remembering and applying the Gospel of Jesus. They are the healthiest and most alive spaces of the Church.

Nothing and nobody today can bring us the strength, joy and creativity we need to face an unprecedented crisis, as can the living presence of the risen Christ. Deprived of his spiritual force, we won't get out of our almost innate passivity, we'll continue with doors closed to the modern world, we'll go on doing "what's instructed" without joy or conviction. Where will we find the strength we need to recreate and reform the Church?

We have to react. We need Jesus more than ever. We need to experience his living presence, remember at all times his criteria and his Spirit, think about his life again and again, let him be the inspiration for our actions. He can spread more light and strength to us than anyone. He is in the midst of us, communicating his peace, his joy, and his Spirit.

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