Friday, October 14, 2011

The Fifth Gospel: Proclamation of the Christ of Corcovado

Leonardo Boff's weekly columns are available in Spanish from Servicios Koinonia and in Portuguese on his blog. Some of his older columns are available in English at LeonardoBoff.com.

by Leonardo Boff (English translation by Rebel Girl)
10/14/2011

The famous statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado in Brazil turned 80 on October 12, 2011.

In those days, after 80 years of existence, the Christ of Corcovado shuddered and came back to life. What was concrete and stone became flesh and blood. Extending his arms, as if to embrace the world, he opened his mouth, spoke, and said:

"Blessed are you, poor, hungry, sick, and fallen along so many ways without a good Samaritan to assist you. The Father who is also Mother of goodness bears you in His heart and I promise that you will be the first heirs of the kingdom of justice and peace.

Woe to you, masters of power, who for five hundred years have sucked the blood of workers, reducing them to cheap fuel for your unjust wealth-producing machines. I will not be the one to judge you, but the victims you made, behind whom I myself was hidden and suffered.

Blessed are you all, indigenous ones of so many ethnicities, first inhabitants of these promising lands, who live in the innocence of life in communion with nature. You were almost exterminated, but now you are rising with your religions and cultures, testifying to the presence of the Creator Spirit who never abandoned you.

Woe to those who subjugated you, killed you by sword and cross, denied your humanity, demonized your worship, stole your land and ridiculed the wisdom of your shamans.

Blessed, blessed I repeat, are you, my black brothers and sisters, unjustly brought from Africa to be sold as parts in the market, turned into coal to be consumed in the sugar plantations and refineries, always harassed and dying prematurely.

Woe to those who dehumanized you! Justice cries out to heaven until the day of reckoning. Cursed are the slave quarters, cursed the stocks, the whip accursed, damned the chains, cursed the slave ship. Blessed is the refuge of the quilombo, the coming of a world of freedom and brotherhood without distinction.

Blessed are those who struggle for land in the countryside and the city, land to live and work and get food from the soil for themselves, for others, for all the world's hungry.

Cursed is the unproductive latifundio that expels those who work it as their own and kills whoever occupies it to have somewhere to live, work and earn bread for their sons and daughters. Truly, I say to you: the day will come when you will be despoiled. The little bit of graveyard earth that covers you will weigh heavy on your tombs.

Blessed are you, women of the people, who resist the millennial oppression, who win spaces of participation and freedom, and who are fighting for a society that is not defined by gender. A society in which men and women -- together, different, reciprocal and equal -- inaugurate the perennial alliance of sharing, love and mutual responsibility.

Blessed are you, millions of children deprived of everything and thrown into the streets, victims of a society of exclusion that has lost tenderness towards innocent life. My Father, like a great Mother, will wipe away your tears and hug you to His breast because you are His most beloved sons and daughters.

Blessed are the pastors who humbly serve the people among the people, with the people and for the people. Woe to those who wear showy outfits, boast on television, use the sacred symbols of power, exalt Our Father and forget Our Bread. So many use the crook against the sheep instead of against the wolves! I do not recognize them and will not give testimony in their favor when they present themselves before my Father.

Blessed are the basic ecclesial communities, the social movements for land, homes, education, health care, safety. Happy are they who, without needing to talk about me, take up the same cause for which I lived, was persecuted and executed on the cross. But I resurfaced to continue the uprising against a world that gives more value to the material goods than to life, that promotes private accumulation over involvement in solidarity, and prefers to give food to dogs rather than to hungry people.

Blessed are those who dream of a possible and necessary new world in which everyone can fit, including nature. Blessed are those who love Mother Earth as their own mother and respect her rhythms, giving her peace to rebuild her nutrients and continue to produce all we need to live.

Blessed are those who do not desist, but resist and insist that the world can be different and will be, a world where poetry walks side by side with work, music comes together with machines, and all recognize one another as brothers and sisters living in the one common home we have, this beautiful and bright little planet Earth.

Truly, truly I say to you: Happy are you because you are all sons and daughters of joy, for you are in the palm of God's hand. Amen."

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