This week’s scripture commentary

Fr-AntonioC

printery-house-ord551.
. by Fr. Antton
.

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Sunday December 17, 2017
Third Sunday of Advent (B)

Gospel Jn 1: 6-8; 19-28

A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. And this is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, “Who are you?” He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Christ.” So they asked him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?” He said: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘make straight the way of the Lord,’” as Isaiah the prophet said.” Some Pharisees were also sent. They asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Ebanjelioa Joan 1: 6-8; 19-28

6 Agertu zen gizon bat Jainkoak bidalia; Joan zuen izena. 7 Testigu izatera etorri zen, argiaz testigantza egitera, beraren mezuaren bidez sinets zezaten. 8 Ez zen hura argia, argiaren testigantza egin behar zuena baizik. 19 Judu-agintariek apaiz- eta lebitar-talde bat bidali zioten Joani Jerusalemdik nor zen galdetzera. 20 Hark argi eta garbi aitortu zuen: –Ni ez naiz Mesias. 21 –Orduan, zer? Elias zara? –galdetu zioten. Joanek erantzun: –Ez. –Etortzekoa den profeta zara? Hark erantzun: –Ez.  22 Berriro galdetu zioten: –Nor zaitugu, bada? Bidali gaituztenei erantzunen bat eraman behar diegu. Zer diozu zeure buruaz? 23 Joanek, Isaias profetaren hitzak aipatuz, esan zuen: –Ni, «Prestatu bidea Jaunari» basamortuan oihuka ari denaren ahotsa naiz.  24 Talde hartako batzuk fariseuak ziren. 25 Hauek galdetu zioten:   –Beraz, Mesias ez bazara, ez Elias, ezta etortzekoa den profeta ere, nola ari zara bataiatzen?  26 Joanek erantzun zien: –Nik urez bataiatzen dut; zeuen artean baduzue, ordea, ezagutzen ez duzuen bat, 27 nire ondoren datorrena, eta ni ez naiz inor hari oinetako lokarriak askatzeko ere. 28 Hau dena Betanian gertatu zen, Jordan ibaiaren beste aldean, han ari baitzen Joan bataiatzen.

Jesus, the Great Unknown

John is the one who paved the way before Jesus. This was the idea the first Christian generations had of John the Baptist. John tells us “there is one among you whom you do not recognize.” John’s words pose disturbing questions for us who claim today to follow on the footsteps of Jesus: Do we really know Jesus? Are we one mind and one heart with Jesus? Are we ready to follow Jesus closely?

It is obvious we always speak about Jesus. Theoretically, there is nothing more important in the church than Jesus: He is the center, la raison d’être, of the whole life of the Christian life. However, we often seem to move around with our own ideas and preparing our strategic pastoral projects, activities and programs. We follow our own ways. We often seem to give more importance to church structures, doctrine, moral issues and cannon law. We trash Jesus and his message into the back seat by spiritualizing it. It is we ourselves the ones who hid Jesus because we like to show our protagonism: “we want to be in command.”

I am afraid, I must recognize, that the greatest misfortune of so many men and women who confess to be “Christian” is that their hearts are empty: Jesus does not inhabit in them. They do not know Jesus. They do not vibrate with Jesus and his great dream of establishing the Kingdom of God among us. Jesus has lost HIS attraction and seduction power in them. Jesus has been reduced to an inert and lifeless mental idea. Jesus does not talk to them any longer and does not invigorate them.

Such a Christian community desperately needs real “witnesses” of Jesus, bold believers who dare to live more like Jesus, valiant Christians who, with their lifestyle, enable to prepare new roads and paths for other people to believe and follow Christ. We need witnesses who speak of God like Jesus did, who are capable of transmitting God’s message of compassion as Jesus did, capable to inspire people and transform them into disciples of Jesus.

What for good are our catechesis and preachings if we are not able to seduce people to follow into the footsteps of Jesus? What for good are our Eucharistic celebrations if we do not really communicate with Jesus, his way of thinking, his lifestyle, and his readiness to die on the Cross-for others?

In the Church no one is “the light” (only Jesus is), however we can irradiate it through our personal lives. No one is “the Word of God” (only Jesus is) however, everyone can become a loudspeaker of God’s message.

 

Jesús, ese gran desconocido!

Juan es quien preparó el camino a Jesús. Ésta fue la idea clara que tuvieron las primeras generaciones cristianas sobre Juan el Bautista. Juan nos dice “hay uno entre ustedes a quien Ustedes no le conocen.” Las palabras de Juan plantean preguntas inquietantes para nosotros que afirmamos hoy que seguimos los pasos de Jesús: ¿Conocemos realmente a Jesús? ¿Somos una sola mente y un solo corazón con Jesús? ¿Estamos listos para seguir a Jesús de cerca?

Es obvio que siempre hablamos de Jesús. Teóricamente, no hay nada más importante en la iglesia que Jesús: Él es el centro, la razón de ser, de toda la vida cristiana. Sin embargo, a menudo parecemos movernos con nuestras propias ideas y preparar nuestros proyectos pastorales estratégicos, actividades y programas. Seguimos nuestros propios caminos. A menudo parece que le damos más importancia a las estructuras de la iglesia, a la doctrina, a las cuestiones morales y al derecho canónico. A veces parece como que tiramos a Jesús y su mensaje de seguimiento radical en el basurero y lo espiritualizamos todo. Somos nosotros mismos los que escondemos a Jesús, le quitamos de en medio, porque nos gusta mostrar nuestro protagonismo: “queremos estar al mando, y ser el centro.”

Me temo, debo reconocer, que la mayor desgracia de tantos hombres y mujeres que confiesan ser “cristianos” es que sus corazones están vacíos: Jesús no habita en ellos. Ellos no conocen a Jesús. No vibran con Jesús y su gran sueño de establecer el Reinado de Dios entre nosotros. Jesús ha perdido SU atracción y su poder de seducción en muchos. Jesús ha sido reducido a una idea mental inerte y sin vida. Jesús no les habla más y no los vigoriza.

Este tipo de comunidades cristianas necesitan desesperadamente “testigos” reales de Jesús, creyentes audaces que se atreven a vivir más como Jesús, valientes cristianos que, con su estilo de vida, se capacitan para preparar nuevos caminos para que otras personas también crean y sigan a Cristo. Necesitamos testigos que hablen de Dios como lo hizo Jesús, que sean capaces de transmitir el mensaje de compasión de Dios como lo hizo Jesús, capaces de inspirar a las personas y transformarlas en discípulos de Jesús.

¿Para qué sirven nuestras catequesis y predicaciones si no somos capaces de seducir a las personas para que sigan los pasos de Jesús? ¿Para qué sirven nuestras celebraciones eucarísticas si realmente no nos comunicamos con Jesús, y no agarramos su forma de pensar, su estilo de vida y su disposición a morir en la cruz, por los demás?

En la Iglesia, nadie es “la luz” (solo lo es Jesús), sin embargo, podemos irradiarlo a través de nuestras vidas personales. Nadie es “la Palabra de Dios” (solo lo es Jesús), sin embargo, todos podemos convertirnos en portavoces del mensaje de Dios a través de nuestras acciones.