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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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This weekend we have the second Sunday in ordinary time. Christmas and new year are a distant memory as we continue our spiritual journey. In the Gospel reading this Sunday we hear about the meeting between Jesus and John the Baptist at the Jordan River. The first Christian communities saw a clear difference between John’s baptism (that immersed people in the river Jordan) and Jesus’ baptism (that communicated his own Spirit, to cleanse, renew and transform the heart of his followers). Without that Spirit of Jesus, the Church would simply close up shop and die. Only the Spirit of Jesus can put more truth and life into today’s Christianity and lead us to recover our true identity, letting go of paths that lead us further and further away from the Gospel. Only that Holy Spirit can give us light and energy to fire up the renewal that the Church needs today so that we can also become Christ’s authoritative witnesses in the world of today.

A believer can only be an authoritative witness if he or she lives in harmony with two of the Baptist’s evangelical qualities. Firstly, knowledge of Christ that is cultivated through prayer, the sacramental and ecclesial life and good friendships.

Secondly, the constant attributes of the ‘bridegroom’s friend’ who goes in search of the Groom through the virtue of humility because always, in everyone’s life, Christ must increase and we must decrease! Pope Francis is quite clear that the greatest obstacle to a new surge of evangelization is spiritual mediocrity. He says so all the time. He wants to spark a process that is «more burning, joyful, generous, bold, full of love to the end, and full of contagious life», but knows it will be insufficient «if the fire of the Spirit doesn’t burn in their hearts». And the charge that is given to each of us is to be Christ’s authoritative witnesses to the people around us and the world. We have all been baptized; we have all been called to be witnesses  to Jesus the chosen one of god. We are asked to point away from ourselves to the lord; as we lead others to the person of Jesus. None of us comes to him alone we all know people who help us along on our own faith journeys.

Most people are moved when others share with them what really matters in their lives. Perhaps we have lost the courage to say any more about what matters to us as people who take faith seriously perhaps we doubt if anyone will care and yet so many do. We should take courage to share what we believe. With Blessed John Henry Newman, we know that we believe because we love. In the power of that love, Love of God let us share our belief with each other and everyone else as well.

 

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