FOR DIFFICULT TIMES
The profound socio-cultural changes that are coming about in our days, and the religious crisis that is shaking Christianity’s roots in the West, must push us more than ever to seek in Jesus the light and energy that we need to read and live out these times clearly and responsibly.
Called to realism
At no point does Jesus foretell an easy path of success and glory for his followers. On the contrary, he leads them to understand that their long history will be full of difficulties and struggles. It’s against Jesus’ spirit to cultivate triumphalism or to foster nostalgia for greatness. The path before us that seems to be extremely hard is the one most in line with a Church that is faithful to her Lord.
No to naivety
In times of crisis, upset and confusion it’s not strange to hear messages and revelations proposing new paths of salvation. The following are Jesus’ watchwords. In the first place, «let no one deceive you»: don’t fall into the naivety of giving credit to messages far from the Gospel, whether within or outside of the Church. Above all, «don’t go after them»: don’t follow those who separate us from Jesus Christ, the only foundation and origin of our faith.
Be centered on what’s most important
Each Christian generation has its own problems, difficulties, quests. We mustn’t lose our calm, but take up our own responsibility. Nothing is asked of us that is beyond our own power. We count on help from Jesus himself: «I will give your words and a wisdom…». Even in a hostile atmosphere of rejection or discouragement, we can put the Gospel into practice and live with Christian good sense.
The hour of witness
Difficult times don’t need to be times of breast-beating, nostalgia or discouragement. It’s not time for acquiescence, passivity or resignation. Jesus imagines something else: in difficult times «you will be called on to give testimony». It’s precisely now that we need to reawaken in ourselves the call to be humble but convincing witnesses of Jesus, of his message, of his project.
This is Jesus’ exhortation for hard times: «By your perseverance you will save your lives». The original word can be translated either as «patience» or «perseverance». Among us Christians we don’t talk a lot about patience, but we need it more than ever. It’s time to cultivate a way of Christian life that is patient and unflagging, that helps us to respond to new situations and challenges without losing our peace or our clarity.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf