Initiate the reaction
The Baptist does not let people mistake him for the Messiah. He knows his limits and recognizes them. There is someone mightier and more decisive than he. He is the only one that the people should welcome. The reason is clear. The Baptist offers them a baptism of water. Only Jesus, the Messiah, will “baptize” them “with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
In the judgment of not a few observers, the biggest problem of the Church today is “spiritual mediocrity.” The Church does not possess the spiritual vigor that it needs to face the challenges of the present time. This is becoming increasingly obvious. We need to be baptized by Jesus with his fire and his Spirit.
These last few years, distrust in the power of the Spirit and fear of everything that may lead us to renewal have been growing. Insisted upon is the importance of continuity to preserve the past, but we do not care about listening to the Spirit’s summons to prepare for the future. Little by little we are are becoming blind to be able to read the “signs of the times.”
To make faith robust and to attain a greater cohesion in the face of modern society, priority is given to certainties and beliefs, but frequently living adherence to Jesus is not cultivated. Have we forgotten that he is mightier than all of us? Religious doctrine, almost always expounded in pre-modern categories, neither touches hearts nor changes our lives.
Due to the abandoning of the refreshing breath of the Council, joy in important sectors of the Christian people keeps being snuffed out and resignation creeps in. Silently, yet palpably, disaffection grows and so does separation between the ecclesial institution and not a few believers.
It is urgent to create as soon as possible a friendlier and more cordial climate. Not just anyone will be able to awaken in the simple folks the lost hope. We need to return to the roots of our faith. To get in touch with the Gospel. To feed ourselves with Jesus’ words that are “spirit and life.”
Within a few years, our Christian communities will be very small. There will not be priests in many parishes. How important to look after, beginning now, a nucleus of believers around the Gospel! They will keep alive the Spirit of Jesus among us. Everything will be more humble, but also more conformed to the Gospel.
We are asked to initiate already the reaction. The best legacy we can leave for future generations is a new love for Jesus and a faith that is more centered in his person and his plan. Everything else is more secondary. If they live according to the Spirit of Jesus, they will find new ways.
José Antonio Pagola
January 13, 2013
The Baptism of the Lord (C)
Luke 3:15-16, 21-22