"Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again." At each celebration of Mass, the entire congregation proclaims its faith in these words, where past, present and future come together: in the past, Jesus lived, taught, healed, gave his life for us on the cross; in the present, he is risen, reigning in heaven whence he sends the Spirit to abide in our hearts; in the future, he will return in the glory of the Kingdom.
Christians live the present with intensity, for they are deeply involved in it. The memory of Christ’s love commands this involvement, for they seek to follow in his steps and imitate his love. The proclamation of his return energizes this involvement, for they know that, in the end, love will have conquered hatred, life will have triumphed over death. Faith in the past and hope for the future nourish love in the present.
Yet, a problem can arise when we seek refuge in the past, idealize the “good ol’ days”, lose ourselves in dreams and memories. In today’s lesson, Paul invites his readers to commit themselves to action in the present, to activate the grace which has been given to them, to shine with God’s glory in their daily lives.
A second problem can occur when we become entranced with the future, obsessively seeking signs of Christ’s return, sinking in imagination and fantasies. Paul invites the same readers to become neither foolish nor fearful. He invites them to allow their hope to nourish their daily faithfulness, rather than seeking to escape the present moment.
True Christian faith is a faith that is involved in today’s world. Nourished by the living memory of Jesus and by the hope of his glorious return, this faith neither seeks refuge in the past nor escape in the future. It is in the here and now of daily life that Christian faith develops and is expressed. The person I need to love is at my side, near me. The work I must accomplish is right there, before my eyes. The world to be transformed is the world I read about in the daily news.
|A volunteer welcomes a pilgrim on the road to Compostella|
Nothing is more realist than Christian faith.