Third Sunday of Advent (José Antonio Pagola)

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Making straight the way to Jesus

“There is one among you whom you do not recognize.” The Baptist utters these words in reference to Jesus who is already moving among those who are coming to the Jordan to be baptized, though he has not yet revealed himself. All John is concerned about is “making the way straight” so that those people may believe in Jesus. That was how the early generations of Christians presented the figure of the Baptist.

But the Baptist’s words are written in such a way that they provoke in us disquieting questions, as we who call ourselves Christians read them today. Jesus is among us, but do we truly know him? Are we in communion with him?   Do we follow him closely?

It is true that in the Church we always speak about Jesus. In theory there is nothing more important to us than this. But then we see ourselves gyrating around our ideas, projects and activities that, not infrequently, Jesus winds up in the background. We ourselves are the ones who, without being aware of it, hide him behind what we promote in our leadership role.

Perhaps, the biggest misfortune of Christianity is that there are so many men and women who call themselves “Christians” in whose hearts Jesus is absent. They do not know him. They do not give out his vibrations. He does not draw or allure them. Jesus is a lifeless and burn-out figure. He is mute. He does not say anything special to them that will inject life into their lives. There is no mark of Jesus in their existence.

This Church urgently needs “witnesses” to Jesus, believers who will be more like him, Christians who, with their personality and life, make plane the way to belief in Jesus. We need witnesses who will speak of God as Jesus spoke of him, who will communicate the message of compassion as he did, who spreads, like him, trust in the Father.

What good is there in our catechesis and preaching if they do not lead to knowledge, love and following of Jesus Christ with greater faith and joy? What is to become of our Eucharistic celebrations if they do not help us to be in communion with Jesus in a more lively way, in communion with his plan and his crucified commitment to all? In the Church no one is “the Light,” but we can all radiate it with our lives. No one is “the Word of God,” but we can all be the voice that invites and inspires, so that Christianity may focus on Jesus Christ.

José Antonio Pagola

December 14, 2014
3 Advent (B)
John 1, 6-8. 19-28

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