Hastening the coming of the day of God (2 Pt 3, 12)
The Good News is, by definition, new. But it is also ancient; in the beginning it was with God.
The Good News begins with the old call that we purify ourselves for the Great Theophany. We are invited to make ourselves a Church with a changing face, for she must become all things to all people and make the Gospel incarnate in different cultures (Redemptoris missio 52).
Believing in the Gospel and accepting the invitation to repentance, the members of the Church are born again—are cleansed of sin and receive the Holy Spirit, the spring of living water. Because they are in Christ, they are a new creation. Though they are the same ones who were born physically earlier, they are no longer the ones who live; rather it is Christ who lives in them, justifying them, revealing himself to them as the fullness of the Old Testament.
Like St. John the Baptist, the genuine followers of Jesus give witness to the new and the old. Their vocation is to point with transparent hearts to Jesus, the preexistent Word made flesh in a way never ever seen or heard of before for the salvation and transformation of humanity.
To accomplish their mission, Christian witnesses distance themselves, first of all, from everything that suggests dominance and wealth. They do not live in palaces. They are not dressed in purple garments. They abhor the symbols and titles of grandeur and power.
The disciples go to the outskirts to eat with the marginalized and to bring the Good News to them. They smell like them, not like the perfumed and made-up people from the rich districts of great capitals, though not a few come from there too, attracted by the simple lifestyle of someone who trusts in God completely.
It used to be the prevailing lifestyle. It is now all but forgotten, given the modern addiction, quite widespread, to material wealth. But we need to revive it. Otherwise greed will put an end to all of us. Jesus assures us, “Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
We will be saved only if we adopt his simple lifestyle of the self-emptying love, memorialized in the sharing of the fresh bread and the new wine. Imitating Jesus in the manner of St. Vincent de Paul—the latter “just about transformed the face of the Church” (Henri de Maupas du Tour)—we will surely contribute to the renewal of the earth, the transformation of the Church and the proclamation of the Gospel, ever ancient and ever new.
O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, do not let us be too late to love you.