Thursday, August 8, 2013
Living as a minority
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
August 11, 2013
In his gospel, Luke has compiled some words, full of love and affection, that Jesus addressed to his followers. Often, they go unnoticed. However, read attentively today from our parishes and Christian communities, they regain a surprising currency. It's what we need to hear from Jesus in these times that aren't easy for the faith.
"My little flock." Jesus looks with great tenderness upon his little group of followers. They are few. They have a minority vocation. They don't have to think of greatness. That's how Jesus always imagined them -- like a bit of "yeast" hidden in the dough, a little "light" in the midst of darkness, a fistful of "salt" to give life flavor.
After centuries of "Christian imperialism", we disciples of Jesus have to learn to live as a minority. It's a mistake to yearn for a strong and powerful Church. Seeking worldly power or aiming to dominate society is a delusion. The gospel is not imposed by force. It's spread by those who live like Jesus, making life more humane.
"Be not afraid." That's Jesus' big concern. He doesn't want to see his followers paralyzed by fear or drowning in dejection. They must never lose trust or peace of mind. Today too, we are a little flock, but we can remain very united to Jesus the Shepherd who guides and defends us. He can help us live through these times calmly.
"Your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom." Jesus reminds them once again. They are not to feel like orphans. They have God as Father. He has entrusted them with His plan for the kingdom. It's His great gift. The best thing we have in our communities: the task of making life more humane and the hope of directing history toward its ultimate salvation.
"Sell your belongings and give alms." Jesus' followers are a little flock, but they must never be a sect that is locked in its own interests. They won't live with their backs turned to anyone's needs. They will be open door communities. They will share their goods with those who need help and solidarity. They will give alms, that is, "mercy." That was the original meaning of the Greek term.
We Christians still need some time to learn to live as a minority in the midst of a secular and diverse society. But there's something we can and must do without waiting: change the atmosphere in our communities and make it more gospel-centered. Pope Francis is showing us the way through his gestures and lifestyle.