The gospel of the Second Sunday of Advent (cfr. Lk 3,106) somehow reminds us to appreciate the role of St. John the Baptist in the whole economy of salvation. It’s definitely a role that encourages us to be very clear about our ultimate goal in life for which we have to do everything, so we can attain it. Let’s remember that this is the most important concern we have in this life.
And this ultimate goal is nothing other than that we be “another Christ” who is the pattern of our humanity and the savior of our damaged humanity. All the other things in our life—our personal circumstances, our profession, our politics, etc.—should only serve as means to our ultimate end. While we have to be immersed in them, we should see to it that we are not confused, trapped and lost in them, diverting us from our true goal.
We have to be more sharply and continually aware that all the things in our life serve simply as the occasions where Christ is intervening in our life to create and redeem us, to shape us to be like him. For this, we have to avail of the appropriate means to keep that awareness alive. Ignoring this condition in our life would compromise the real purpose of our life here on earth.
Thus, we have to come up with the proper plans and strategies that would help us effectively act on this condition and purpose of our life. They obviously should be plans and strategies that should be inspired by our faith and not by some human motive or ideology alone.
Let’s remember that our faith gives us the complete picture of the reality and purpose of our life. Any awkwardness or difficulty we have in living our faith should be overcome. This obviously will require some discipline. But we need to study our faith, and start living or putting into practice what our faith teaches us.
We have to understand that our formation in this regard should be a lifelong business. We need to realize that our Christian formation will take our whole lifetime. This should come as no surprise to us, since our ultimate goal in life is none other than for each one of us to be “alter Christus,” another Christ. And can anyone dare to say that he is Christ-like enough?
We always have to remember that our march toward full development and maturity, human and not to mention Christian, never ends in this life. It’s supposed to be an ongoing affair, a work in progress. We should never say enough.
The duty to take care of our formation is coterminous with life itself, which will always give us lessons. And that’s because the basics and essentials, the absolute, old and the permanent truths, which we may already know, will always have to cope and somehow need to get enriched by the incidentals in life, by the relative, innovative and changing things.
In his second letter, St. Peter urges us to go on with our formation: “Strive diligently to supply your faith with virtue, your virtue with knowledge, your knowledge with self-control, your self-control with patience, your patience with piety, your piety with fraternal love, your fraternal love with charity.” (1,5-7)
And as we all know, charity is a never-ending affair, ever making new demands on us, and introducing us to more aspects, dimensions and challenges in life. It will always push us to do more, to give more, to be more!*