WE NEED THEM MORE THAN EVER
The first generations of Christians quickly saw themselves obliged to ask themselves a decisive question. The coming of the Risen Christ was delayed more than they had thought at the beginning. The wait got long. How to keep their hope alive? How to not fall into frustration, weariness or discouragement?
In the Gospels we find various exhortations, parables and calls that have just one objective: keeping alive the Christian communities’ responsibility. One of the best known calls says it thus: «See that you have your belts done up and your lamps lit». What meaning can these words have for us, after 20 centuries of Christianity? The two images are very expressive. They indicate the attitude that the servants should have as they await the return of their master during the night, in order to open the door of the house at his call. They need to be there «with their belts done up», that is, with their sleeves rolled up to be able to move around and act with agility. They need to be there with «their lamps lit» in order to have the house lit up and to keep themselves awake.
These words of Jesus are also today a call to live lucidly and responsibly, without falling into passivity or lethargy. In the Church’s history there are times when it gets dark. However that isn’t when we should turn off the lights and go to sleep. It’s the time to act once again, awaken our faith and keep walking toward the future, even in an old and tired Church.
One of the most important obstacles in the way of pushing the transformation that the Church needs today is the generalized passivity of Christians. Unfortunately, for many centuries now we have been taught, above all, to submit and be passive. Even today, sometimes it seems that we don’t see the need to think, project and promote new paths of faithfulness to Jesus.
That’s why we need to value, care for and be so thankful for the awakening of a new conscience in many laity who today live out their adhesion to Christ and their belonging to the Church lucidly and responsibly. This is, without doubt, one of the strongest fruits of Vatican II, the first council that was concerned directly and explicitly about them.
These believers today can be the leaven of our parishes and communities that are being renewed around the faithful following of Jesus. They are the greatest potential for Christianity. We need them more than ever to build a Church that is open to the problems of today’s world and that is close to the men and women of today.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf