Wednesday 13 March 2013

The forgiveness of sins, and liberation theology

"He teaches, casts out demons, cures fevers and lepers, but in the end it is for the remission of sins that he has been sent, and the healings are a sign of the forgiveness of sins that he offers." (RdG 136)

It is for the remission of sins that he has been sent, in the end. For one who has grown up with liberation theology, that is still difficult: it is for the forgiveness of sins that he has been sent. Are not the problems of humankind more urgent, the injustices, the pain, the evils inflicted by human beings on one another, often quite 'unconsciously'? Are we then once again to fall into a seeming 'spiritualism', glibly ignorant or wanting to ignore the real pain of the world?

And yet here there is something to be meditated on. The reversal of values that Jesus has come to bring about. What is evil for us is not the ultimate evil for Jesus. Do I understand that? Ultimate evil is sin, it is hatred, it is lack of love, it is indifference. And there, perhaps, lies the root even of structural evil.

Rossi de Gasperis is interesting. Jesuit that he is, he has meditated and contemplated in his Ignatian way long and often on these passages of the gospel. See, for example, what he says about the men who lower down the paralytic through the roof: the first thing Jesus says is: "Man, your sins have been forgiven you." And RdG: "It is as if lightning strikes that little house in Israel. What might 'forgiveness of sins' have to do with all this? The four bearers, surprised, might have thought: We have gone through all this trouble only to get 'forgiveness of sins' for our sick friend, something that in the end no one can really verify? But what sins? If this man is paralysed, the important thing is to make him walk, not to forgive his sins! What delusion!" (135)

And again, about Jesus curing the paralytic: "Jesus' reply is marked by a subtle sense of humour [La replica di Gesu' non manca di un fine umorismo]. He had said what, according to them [the Pharisees] was easier to say, but absolutely impossible to do, unless the one saying it was God. Now, instead, he says what, according to them, was more risky to say, and this so that all Israel might know that the Son of man had the power on earth to forgive sins. Irony and omnipotence of Jesus: his day is the Day of Expiation of the Lord!" (137)

"It is not true that there is always time for the remission of sins, and that what is urgent is first of all the healing of bodies. Simon Peter, at the sight of all those fish in the nets, had grasped immediately the primacy of his own spiritual state. Jesus proposes first of all this condition to the paralytic of Capharnaum. A good contribution for understanding who really are 'the poor' in the discourse at Nazareth." (136) Once again the challenge to deepen my understanding of poverty. To put on the mind of Jesus. Jesus for whom the real evil is not physical but indifference, lack of love, hatred, and a merely human - and so in the end diabolic - way of thinking. Difficult, this, even to write, in our New Age. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Featured post

Rupnik, “E se l’evangelizzazione chiedesse una novità nella vita consacrata?” English summary