Saturday, December 12, 2015
Share with the person who has none
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
December 13, 2015
John the Baptist's words from the desert touch the people's hearts. His call to conversion and the beginning of a life more faithful to God stirs a specific question in many of them: What should we do? It's the question that always arises in us when we hear a radical call and we don't know how to respond specifically.
John the Baptist doesn't propose religious rituals, or norms or precepts either. It's not strictly about doing things or taking on duties, but being a different way, livng more humanely, deploying something that is already in our hearts: the desire for a more just, dignified, and fraternal life.
The most decisive and realistic thing is to open our hearts to God by looking closely at the needs of those who suffer. John the Baptist summarizes his answer with a formula that is brilliant because of its simplicity and truth: "Whoever has two tunics should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise." Plain and simple.
What can we say to these words, we who live in a world where more than a third of humanity lives in destitution, struggling each day to survive, while we keep filling our closets with all types of tunics and have our refrigerators full of food?
And what can we Christians say to this call that is so simple and so humane? Must we not start to open the eyes of our heart to become more fully aware of this insensitivity and slavery that keep us in submission to a life of affluence that keeps us from being more humane?
While we remain concerned, and rightly so, about many aspects of present-day Christianity, we don't realize that we are "captives of a bourgeois religion." Christianity, as we are living it out, doesn't seem to have the power to change the society of affluence. On the contrary, that is what is distorting the religion of Jesus, making our following of Christ devoid of genuine values such as solidarity, defense of the poor, compassion and justice.
Therefore, we must value and give thanks even more for the efforts of so many people who are rebelling against this "captivity," committing themselves to specific acts of solidarity and cultivating a simpler, more austere and humane lifestyle.