A NEW STAGE
Before relating Jesus’ prophetic activity, the Gospel writers talk about an experience that will radically transform his life. After being baptized by John, Jesus feels himself a beloved Child of God, inhabited fully by God’s Spirit. Jesus sets out announcing to everyone, through his life and his message, the Good News of a God who is friend and savior of the human person.
It’s not all that strange that the Pope, when inviting us to live these coming years in «a new stage of evangelization», reminds us that the Church needs more than ever «evangelizers with Spirit». He well knows that only the Spirit of Jesus can instill in us the energy that puts in motion the radical conversion that the Church needs. By what paths?
This renovation of the Church can only be born of the newness of the Gospel. The Pope wants people of today to listen to the same message that Jesus proclaimed as he went about Galilee, nothing else. We need to «return to the source and recover the original freshness of the Gospel». Only in this way «will we break the worn-out plans of those who try to box in Jesus Christ».
The Pope is thinking of a radical renovation «that can’t leave things as they are; basic maintenance doesn’t work anymore». That’s why he asks us «to abandon the comfortable pastoral criteria we have been using forever» and he insists over and over: «Invite everyone to be bold and creative in the task of rethinking objectives, structures, the style and the methods of evangelists in our communities».
Francis is looking for a Church in which not only do we worry about communicating the Good News of Jesus to the present world. «More than being afraid of making mistakes, I hope that we are moved by the fear of enclosing ourselves in structures that give us a false control, in norms that turn us into demanding judges, in customs that put us to sleep, while around us there’s a hungry multitude and Jesus never tires of telling us: give them something to eat yourselves».
The Pope wants us to build «a Church with doors wide open», since the joy of the Gospel is for everyone and no one should be excluded. What joy to be able to hear from his lips a vision of Church that recovers Jesus’ most genuine Spirit, breaking attitudes that have held on for centuries! «At least let us act like dispensers of grace and not like micromanagers. But the Church isn’t a customs agency; it is the Father’s house where there’s room for each one burdened with life».
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf