The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, which falls on Feb. 2, can be considered as another epiphany, another manifestation of Christ as our savior. This time, the manifestation is done not to the three magi anymore, but to two characters, Simeon and Anna.
The feast is a good reminder to all of us, Christian believers, that we have a duty to present Christ to everyone as he truly is to us — the pattern of our humanity and the savior of our humanity that has been damaged by sin.
While this duty is incumbent on every Christian believer, it is more so to clerics and other consecrated and religious persons. The priest, for example, is sacramentally conformed to Christ as head of the Church. It is his concern that the sacramental Christ in him be transformed into the living Christ — obviously with the constant help of God’s grace. Otherwise, he will be an empty suit.
He has to assume the very mind and heart of Christ, the sentiments, mission and concerns of Christ. As the sacramental image of Christ as head of the Church, a priest has to act like a mediator, a bridge that connects two ends— God and men. He therefore has to be intimately identified with both God and men, which is a never-ending task that requires grace and everything that a priest can do.
Like Christ, he has to have the mind of God and assume the conditions of men, since this is the very heart of Christ. This, of course, can be hard and very demanding, but it is not impossible. With training and determined effort, this can be done. On God’s part, his grace is never lacking. In fact, it is poured out abundantly.
We who believe in Christ should feel the need to make Christ alive everywhere. And given the new normal we are having these days, we have to learn how to present him by making use of the new technologies we are having these days.
We should feel the same urgency that St. Paul felt when he said, “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel. (1 Cor 9, 16) It’s a cry that also has to spring in each one of us, who now participates in the abiding duty of preaching and teaching the word of God according to our personal circumstances.
This is the challenge we have today. How do we craft a new approach, style or strategy for the continuing need of evangelization these days? How do we keep them adapted to the new sensibilities of the men and women of today? How do we make Christ alive in the new technologies?
For sure, the Holy Spirit continues to animate the Church and inspire certain people, giving them the relevant charism, so that the Church’s vital activity of evangelization continues. But all of us have to do our part.
First, we need to sharpen and intensify our awareness of our duty to evangelize. This task involves all of us. We cannot keep on living only for our own interests. We have to be men for others. And that can happen when we go all the way to doing the task of evangelization, among many others.
The problem with how to make Christ alive among ourselves today centers on how to make our preachers and evangelizers — from the clergy down to the religious and committed lay faithful — credible!/WDJ