LIVING IN A SPACE CREATED BY JESUS
It seems that the first Christian generations weren’t worried much about numbers. At the end of the first century there were only about 20,000, lost in the middle of the Roman Empire. Were they many or were they few? They formed the Church of Jesus, and what’s important was living in his Spirit. Paul constantly invites the members of his small communities to «live in Christ». The fourth Gospel exhorts its readers to «remain in him».
Matthew, for his part, puts these words on Jesus’ lips: «Where two or three meet in my name, I am there among them». One can’t be in Jesus’ Church just any old way: out of custom, by inertia, or in fear. His followers must be «reunited in his name», converting themselves to him, nourished by his Gospel. This is also our first task today, though we are few, though we are two or three.
Being united in Jesus’ name is to create a space to live our whole existence around him and from his perspective. A spiritual space well defined not by doctrines, customs or practices, but by Jesus’ Spirit which makes us live by his example.
The center of this «Jesus space» fills the Gospel narration. It is the essential experience of the whole Christian community: «remember Jesus», remember his words, welcome them with faith and put them into practice joyfully. That art of welcoming the Gospel in our life allows us to enter into contact with Jesus and live out the experience of continuing to grow as his disciples and followers.
In this space created in his name we go on walking, though not without weaknesses and sin, toward the truth of the Gospel, discovering together the essential nucleus of our faith and recovering our Christian identity in the midst of a Church that is often so weakened by routine and so paralyzed by fears.
This space dominated by Jesus is the first thing we need to care for, consolidate and deepen in our communities and parishes. Let us not be deceived. The renewal of the Church always begins in the heart of two or three believers who unite in Jesus’ name.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf