WALKING NEW PATHS
Around the year 27 or 28, there appeared in the desert of the Jordan a prophet both original and independent, who made a big impact on the Jewish people: the first generations of Christians always saw him as the one who prepared the way for Jesus.
His whole message can be summed up in a cry: «Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight». Twenty centuries later, Pope Francis is crying out the same message to us Christians: Open up paths to God, come back to Jesus, welcome the Gospel.
His intention is clear: «Let us seek to be a Church that finds new paths». It’ won’t be easy. We have lived these last years paralyzed by fear. The Pope isn’t surprised: «Change always causes some fear, because we feel safer if we have everything under control, if we’re the ones who build, program and plan our life». And he asks us a question that we need to answer: «Are we committed to walk the new paths that God’s newness sets before us, or will we dig ourselves deeper into out-of-date structures that have lost their capacity to respond?».
Some within the Church are asking the Pope to make different reforms that they consider urgent. However, Francis has clearly shown his position: «Some are hoping for and are asking of me reforms in the Church, and so it should be. But first it’s necessary to have a change of attitude».
Pope Francis’ Gospel lucidity seems admirable to me. What’s first isn’t signing reform decrees. First we need to put our Christian communities in a mode of conversion and recover the most basic evangelical attitudes within the Church. Only in such an atmosphere will it be possible to undertake the reforms that the Church urgently needs in an efficient manner, and one that’s done in the spirit of the Gospel.
This same Francis is showing us every day the changes of attitude that we need. I’ll point out a few of great importance.
Put Jesus in the center of the Church: «a Church that isn’t carrying Jesus is a Church that is dead».
Don’t live in a closed and self-important Church: «A Church that closes itself in the past betrays its own identity».
Always act moved by God’s mercy for all God’s children: don’t cultivate «a restoration and legalistic Christianity that wants everything to be clear and safe, and goes nowhere».
Seek a Church that is poor and that is of the poor. Anchor our life in hope, not «in our rules, our ecclesial protocol, our clericalism».
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf