A NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS
In our Christian communities we need to live a new experience witih Jesus, reviving our relationship with him. We need to put him decisively in the center of our life. We need to move from a Jesus confessed in a routine way, to a Jesus welcomed in a vital way. The Gospel of John gives us some important suggestions when it speaks of the relationship of the sheep with their shepherd.
The first is «listen to his voice» in its full freshness and originality. Don’t cast it in relation to traditions or to the fad of the day. Don’t allow ourselves to be distracted or upset by other strange voices that, though they’re heard from within the Church, don’t communicate the Good News.
It’s important to feel ourselves called by Jesus «by our name». We need to let ourselves be attracted to him. We need to discover, little by little and more joyfully each day, that no one responds like he does to our most decisive questions, our most profound yearnings, our deepest needs.
It’s decisive to «follow» Jesus. The Christian faith doesn’t consist in believing things about Jesus, but in believing IN Jesus: living and confiding in his person. We need to be inspired by his way of life in order to orient our own existence with clarity and responsibility.
It’s vital to walk with Jesus «right there ahead of us». We don’t need to walk our life alone. We can experience at any moment, no matter how clumsily, that it’s possible to live our life from its root: from that God who is presented to us in Jesus, a God who is more human, more friend, closer and more saving than all our theories.
This living relationship with Jesus isn’t born in us automatically. It gets awakened in our interior in fragile and humble ways. At the beginning, it may be just a desire. Usually it grows surrounded by doubts, questions and resistance. But, I’m not sure how, there comes a moment when the contact with Jesus begins to mark our lives decisively.
I’m convinced that the future of the faith in our midst is being decided, for the most part, in the conscience of those who in such moments feel ourselves to be Christians. Right now the faith is being revived or is being extinguished in our parishes and communities, in the hearts of the priests and faithful that form them.
Unbelief starts to penetrate us from the very moment that our relationship with Jesus loses its force, or ends up put to sleep by routine, indifference and carelessness. That’s why Pope Francis has recognized that «we need to create motivational and healthy spaces…places to regenerate faith in Jesus». We need to listen to this call.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf