|To be a Chistian today
|The spiral of violence
Six months ago, we launched the Electronic Catechism. We introduced texts which we thought were provisional, in view of bettering them with your co-operation, thanks to your contributions. Many have written to tell us how much they appreciate our work, but few (not enough) have made positive contributions. We are grateful that two presentations have called such commentaries. We met in July and looked at your mail. We thought the project over and we have redone the two following texts. You have them today. We thank you in advance for suggestions and criticisms. They are essential for this catechism to become our common share. And do not hesitate to suggest topics.
To be a Christian today
It makes you wonder : today there are still men and women of all conditions, even among the most forgotten people, who call themselves Christians. They claim to follow Jesus of Nazareth, born some two thousands years ago and put to death in Jerusalem. They say that he is alive for ever with God.
Prompted by the breath of God, that young Jew lived in total trust in the One he called "Father".
He said " I have come to look for what is lost ". He was " the man for others ". He opened the eyes of the blind, made crippled walk, gave speech back to the dumb, made people feel free. This was too much for those in power. They got rid of him.
The tremendous shock he initiated went on : his disciples found in his message, but specially in the way he was living, answers to their main questions on life, evil, love. The Gospels echo the extraordinary experience of the first Christian communities. They recall their discoveries and their joys ; Jesus is the way, the truth, the life. He is the man upright, with his feet on the ground, and his head looking to the sky, the person we are called to become. Caught by that élan, we can live from today onwards in a new way, inhabited by the breath of Jesus.
We are born in the Catholic, Protestant, Episcopalian, Orthodox tradition...But
one becomes a Christian by personal choice.
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The spiral of violence
Violence is everywhere. It is part of our daily life. Genocides maim whole populations. Tortures leave no trace behind. Films create a non stop atmosphere of violence. Unemployment hurts so many people. Churches and religions themselves can be a cause of exclusion up to our days. Even school which is the place for education and development of personality, has become a place of violence and racketing. Children become agents of this blind violence. Today nobody can pretend that they ignore the facts. We all know.
Many men and women crushed by unjust institutional structures, live in dicey conditions. It is too easy to say " this is due to the system ". When they cannot cope with basic needs, when they live in insecurity, when their dignity is scoffed at, when they suffer from endless frustrations, violence reaches its peak : men and women loose their bearings and can become violent. It is the expression of their whole being. The spiral of violence gets it way.
Jesus has suffered from this violence. Political and religious institutions have got together to put him to death. But Jesus did not answer violence by violence. He did not only pinpoint to that violence. He suffered from it during his passion. " Despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering, as one from whom men hide their face (Isaie 53,3). Now, life and death have no longer the same impact, the same meaning since the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. A way opens up ahead.
This is why the Christians can tell any woman, any man, any nation, any
race, that they are priceless in the eyes of Someone, and therefore in their
own eyes. There are no ready tailored solutions. But a future always lies
open, even if it is at the price of hard struggles. This is the extraordinary
novelty of the news on God and on humankind : at the very heart of violence,
Jesus witnessed and the Christians now after him, that humankind can keep
hope at heart, " hoping against all hope ".
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