A new phase
Before relating Jesus’ prophetic activity, the Gospel writers talk about an experience that will radically transform his life. After being baptized by John, Jesus sees himself as the beloved Son of God, in whom God’s Spirit fully dwells. Breathed upon by this Spirit, Jesus begins to announce to everyone, through his life and his message, the Good News of a God who is friend and savior to every human being.
It is not surprising that, on inviting us to live these coming years in “a new phase of evangelization,” the Pope reminds us that the Church needs more than ever “Spirit-filled evangelizers”. He well knows that only the Spirit of Jesus can strengthen us to put in motion the radical conversion that the Church needs. Along which paths?
Only the newness of the Gospel can give birth to this Church renewal. The Pope wants the people of today to listen to the same message that Jesus proclaimed as he went about Galilee, not anything different from it. We have to “return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel.” Only in this way will we be able “to break through the dull categories with which we would enclose” Jesus Christ.
The Pope is thinking of a radical renewal, “which cannot leave things as they presently are; ‘mere administration’ can no longer be enough.” That is why he asks us “to abandon the complacent attitude that says: ‘We have always done it this way’” and he insists over and over: “I invite everyone to be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization in their respective communities.”
Francis is looking for a Church where what solely concerns us is to communicate the Good News of Jesus to today’s world. “More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: “Give them something to eat.”
The Pope wants us to build “a Church whose doors are open,” for the joy of the Gospel is for everyone and no one should be excluded. What a joy to be able to hear from his lips a vision of a Church that recovers Jesus’ most authentic Spirit, breaking down attitudes deeply entrenched for centuries! “Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems.”
José Antonio Pagola
December 12, 2014
Baptism of the Lord (A)
Matthew 3, 13-17