John the Baptist, the point of transition from the Old to the New Testaments, from religion to faith, invites us to welcome that love which has now become a Presence alongside us, because love–a gift–can only be received. It is not something to be understood, studied or learned. It is a presence to be welcomed gratuitously. It cannot be merited by a display of self-serving, of false religiosity, in the manner of the Sadducees and Pharisees–the “pious religious” of the time of Jesus and of every time. To these, the Baptist says: “Don’t think it is enough to claim: ‘We have Abraham as our father.’”
It is not enough to simply call oneself a Christian, just as it is not enough to be baptized, attend Mass, recite prayers or receive the sacraments. To simply say “I belong to Christ” is insufficient. Such a claim is not a talisman against the storms of life, nor is it an “insurance policy” against the darker aspects of everyday life. Instead, being a Christian must define, pervade and shape our life by means of a way of behaving marked by goodness, care and forgiveness. It is this that proclaims and witnesses to the world that we belong to the Lord of Life: “By their fruits, you will know them.”
Therefore we must bear fruit–indeed, good fruit–declares the Baptist. And fruit is always the result of what we are. Each fruit is produced by a tree that is firmly rooted in the soil from which it draws the energy it needs.
It is therefore a matter of welcoming, of coming into contact, with Life–the wellspring that dwells in us–in order to experience being transformed, made fertile and able to bear good fruit.
From the book: Ogni storia è storia sacra by Paolo Scquizzato, FSP Editions 2019
Prepare a way for the Lord; make his paths straight!
All humanity will see the salvation of God