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February 1994

Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Cor. 6:2)

Paul is referring to a text from Isaiah (49:8), quoted by him in the verse just before, in which the prophet speaks of the time and of the moment in which God will save his people through the Messiah.

Paul wants to say that this moment has come. It has happened in the work of reconciliation brought about by Jesus through his sacrifice on the cross; and it is now being put into effect through the apostolic ministry chosen by Jesus to announce and communicate to all people the fruits of this reconciliation.

Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

These words are Paul's warm, heartfelt appeal to the Christians of Corinth to welcome the reconciliation that Christ was offering them through his ministry. They should not reject his word by listening to the variety of excuses suggested by his enemies or by the spiritual pride of certain Christians (excuses such as his poor credentials, his limited abilities in public speaking etc.). His appeal instead is to let true discernment be the guide, because it can read the presence of God at work for their salvation in the various signs (such as the light of Paul's wisdom, the hardships and trials faced by him for love of the Gospel, the miracles and fruits worked by the Holy Spirit in those who welcome his word).

Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

These words are truly an invitation to reflect on the importance of the present moment: not to let it pass by in vain (cf. 2 Cor. 6: 1), not to behave superficially or indifferently, almost as if they were superior people who imagine they can set conditions on God's times, but rather to welcome humbly and wisely the gift of God in the moment it is offered. The moment may not come again.

Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

The Word of Life this month draws our attention to a fundamental point of Christian spirituality: the value of the present moment.

How should we understand it? It is the time God gives us in this life, the purpose of which is our fulfilment in Christ. So it is in each fraction of this time, in which we do the will of God, that we can grow spiritually. In this 'favourable time', by returning to God, we can redeem our past. Living his word we can build our present and our eternal happiness.

The present moment is then, and in a very special way, the moment in which God makes us hear his voice more clearly, enlightening us, encouraging us, giving us a special strength to help us take a determined step in our spiritual life. It is a very important moment and it would be untrue of us to pretend not to have heard God's voice or to put off our response to another time.

This is how we can live the Word of Life this month: by giving greater attention to the voice of the Holy Spirit who speaks in us, who urges us to love God and our brothers and sisters in the various moments of the day, and, above all, by responding more quickly and generously to the lights and inspirations through which God unfailingly wishes to make us grow in love.

Chiara Lubich

 

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