Third Sunday of Advent (José Antonio Pagola)

Ross Reyes DizonHomilies and reflections, Year CLeave a Comment

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The Baptist’s word from the desert touched the hearts of the people. His call to conversion and to the beginning of a life of greater faithfulness to God awoke in them a concrete question: What should we do? This is the question that always arises in us when we listen to a radical call and we do not know how to make concrete our response.

The Baptist does not propose to them religious rites or norms or precepts. It is not really about doing things or fulfilling duties, but rather about a new way to be, about living more humanly, unfolding what is already in our hearts. It is, in substance, about the desire for a life that is more just, more dignified and more fraternal.

What is most decisive and realistic is to open our hearts to God, looking with attention to the needs of those who suffer.  The Baptist knows how to sum up his reply to them with a formula that is brilliant for its simplicity and truth: Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none and whoever has food should do likewise. It is that simple and clear.

What can we say in the face of these words, we who live in a world where more than a third of humanity live in misery, struggling each day to survive? Do we not, meanwhile, continue filling our closets with all kinds of cloaks and stocking our refrigerators with food?

And what can we Christians say in the face of this call that is so simple and so human? Should we not start to open the eyes of our hearts so that we may become fully conscious of this insensitivity and slavery that keeps us subservient to an affluence that prevents us from being more human?

While we continue to be worried, and rightly so, about many aspects of today’s Christianity, we are unaware that we are “captives to a bourgeois religion.” Christianity as we live it does not seem to have the power to transform the affluent society. On the contrary, it is this very society that is diluting what is best in Jesus’ religion, emptying our following of Christ of such genuine values as solidarity, advocacy on behalf of the poor, mercy and justice.

That is why much more must we value, and be thankful for, the effort of so many people who rebel against this “captivity” by committing themselves to concrete acts of solidarity and by cultivating a lifestyle that is simpler, more austere and more human.

December 13, 2015
2 Advent (C)
Luke 3, 10-18

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