Fourth Sunday of Easter (José Antonio Pagola)

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New relationship with Jesus

In our Christian communities we need to experience Jesus anew in our lives, reviving our relationship with him.  To put him decisively in the center of our life.  To move from a Jesus who is routinely confessed to a Jesus who is vitally welcomed.  The Gospel of John gives us some important suggestions when it speaks of the relationship of the sheep with their Shepherd.

The first thing is “to listen to his voice” in its full freshness and originality.  Not to mistake it for respect for traditions. Not to let ourselves be distracted or dazed by other strange voices that, though possibly heard within the Church, do not communicate its Good News.

It is important to feel that Jesus calls us “by our name.”  To be personally drawn to him.  To discover little by little, and more joyfully each time, that no one answers as he does to our most decisive questions, our most profound yearnings, our ultimate needs.

It is decisive to “follow” Jesus.  The Christian faith does not consist in believing things about Jesus, but in believing in Jesus, in trusting in his person as we live.  To be inspired by his way of life so that our own existence may have a clear and responsible orientation.

It is vital to walk with Jesus “ahead of us.”  Not to go about in life all by ourselves.  To experience at some point, even though awkwardly, that it is possible to live life from its root, from this God who is offered to us in Jesus, more human, friendlier, closer and more saving than all our theories.

This living relationship with Jesus does not arise in us automatically.  It is being awakened within us in fragile and humble way.  At the beginning, it may be just a desire.  It usually grows surrounded by doubts, questions and resistance.  But there comes a moment, I do not know how it happens, when contact with Jesus begins to make a decisive difference in our lives.

I am convinced that the future of the faith among us is being decided, for the most part, in our consciences when at such moments we sense we are Christians.  Right now, the faith is being fanned into flame or is being put out in our parishes and communities, in the hearts of the priests and the faithful of whom they are made up.

Unbelief starts to penetrate us from the very moment our relationship with Jesus loses its force, or is deadened by routine, indifference and carelessness.  That is why Pope Francis has recognized that “we need to create spaces” that can help and heal, “‘places where faith … in Jesus is renewed.’”  We have to listen to this call.

José Antonio Pagola

May 11, 2014
4 Easter (A)
John 10, 1-10

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