What can we do?
The preaching of the Baptist shook the conscience of many. That desert prophet was saying in a loud voice what they were feeling in their hearts: it was necessary to change, to return to God, to prepare oneself to welcome the Messiah. Some approached him with this question: What can we do?
The Baptist has very clear ideas. He does not propose that they add new religious practices to their life. He does not ask them to remain in the desert doing penance. He does not speak to them of new precepts. One must welcome the Messiah by looking attentively at the needy.
He is not lost in sublime theories or in profound motivations. Directly, in the purest prophetic style, he summarizes everything in a genial formula: “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none; and whoever has food should do likewise.” And we, what can we do to welcome Christ in the midst of this society in crisis?
First of all, let us strive even more to know what is happening: lack of information is the primary cause of our passivity. Furthermore, let us not tolerate lie or the covering up of the truth. We have to know in all its harshness the suffering that is being brought about unjustly among us.
A life of sporadic generosity, or of dependence on it, is not enough. We can take steps toward a more sober life. Let us dare to do the experiment of “making ourselves poor” little by little, cutting down on our current comfortable living standard, so as to share with the neediest so many things that we really do not need in order to live
We can be especially attentive to those who have fallen into serious situations of social exclusion: those who are left without homes due to evictions, those deprived of adequate healthcare, those without income or any kind of social recourse … We have to go out instinctively in defense of those who are sinking into helplessness and the lack of motivation to face their future.
Starting from Christian communities, we can develop diverse initiatives to be close to the most hurtful cases of social abandonment: concrete knowledge of situations, mobilization of persons so that nobody is left alone, contribution of material resources, management of possible aids ….
The crisis is going to be long. In the coming years we are going to be offered the opportunity to humanize our crazed consumerism, to become more sensitive to the suffering of victims, to grow in practical solidarity, to contribute to the denouncing of the lack of compassion in managing the crisis .… It will be our way of welcoming Christ more truthfully in our lives.
José Antonio Pagola
December 16, 2012
3 Advent (C)