Luke concludes his story of Jesus’ birth indicating to his readers that «Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart». She didn’t keep what happened as a remembrance of the past, but as an experience that she will actualize and renew throughout her life.
That’s not a gratuitous observation. Mary is a model of faith. According to the Gospel writer, to believe in Jesus the Savior isn’t to remember what happened in other times, but to experience today their saving power, capable of making our lives more human.
That’s why Luke uses a literary technique that very original. Jesus doesn’t belong to the past. Luke intentionally repeats that the salvation of the Risen Jesus is being offered to us today, right now, whenever we meet him. Let’s look at some examples.
This is how Jesus’ birth is told to us: «Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you». Today can Jesus be born for us. Today he can enter into our life and change it forever. Right now we can be born with him to a new existence.
In a village of Galilee they bring a paralytic before Jesus. Jesus is moved when he sees him dragged down by his sin and he heals him, offering him forgiveness: «Your sins are forgiven». The people react praising God: «Today we have seen great things». We too can experience forgiveness, God’s peace, and the inner joy today if we let ourselves be healed by Jesus.
In the city of Jericho, Jesus stays in Zacchaeus’ house, a rich and powerful tax-collector. The meeting with Jesus transforms him: he will return what he stole to many people and share his goods with the poor. Jesus tells him: «Today salvation has come to this house». If we let Jesus into our lives, this very day we can start a life of more dignity, more fraternity, more solidarity.
Jesus is suffering on the cross between two criminals. One of them entrusts himself to Jesus: «Remember me when you come into your kingdom». Jesus reacts immediately: «Today you will be with me in paradise». Just so, the day of our death will be a day of salvation. Finally we will hear from Jesus those long awaited words: «Rest, trust me, today you will be with me forever».
Today we start a new year. But can it be for us something truly new and good? Who will bring to birth in us a new joy? What psychologist will teach us to be more human? Little do our good intentions count. What’s decisive is to be more attentive to the good that Jesus awakens in us. The salvation we are offered each day. We don’t need to wait for anything else. This very day can be for me a day of salvation.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf