Friday, June 22, 2012

"The Way Jesus Treated People"

Friday greetings on this amazingly beautiful morning in Chicago. Here's a photo I took this morning; the flower boxes on my balcony at home:



And my view from the train platform this morning, looking out at the skyline:


I have been reading with interest the Instrumentum Laboris, the working document that the synod of bishops on "The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith" will be using as a guideline when the synod takes place later this year.

The first chapter appropriately focuses on Jesus Christ. Here is a short section from that chapter:

18. The Christian faith is not simply teachings, wise sayings, a code of morality or a tradition. The Christian faith is a true encounter and relationship with Jesus Christ. Transmitting the faith means to create in every place and time the conditions which lead to this encounter between the person and Jesus Christ. The goal of all evangelization is to create the possibility for this encounter, which is, at one and the same time, intimate, personal, public and communal.

I find this to be quite inspiring. The document, again and again, speaks of the fact that many who call themselves Christian have actually lost any sense of their own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The so-called "new evangelization" seeks to remedy this. One of the more inspiring sections in that first chapter speaks about the way that Jesus himself evangelized:

The way Jesus treated people is to be considered an essential element of Jesus’ method of evangelizing. He was able to welcome everyone, without distinction, and never exclude anyone: first, the poor, then the rich like Zacchaeus and Joseph of Arimathea; outsiders like the centurion and the Syro-Phoenician woman; the righteous, like Nathanael; and prostitutes and public sinners with whom he also sat at table. Jesus knew how to plumb the depths of a person and elicit faith in the God who first loved us (cf. 1 Jn 4:10,19), whose love always precedes us and is not dependent on our own merits, because he is love itself: “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8,16). In this manner, he sets down how the Church is to evangelize, demonstrating for her the heart of the Christian faith, namely, to believe in Love and in the face and voice of this Love, namely, Jesus Christ.

"In this manner, he sets down how the Church is to evangelize. . ." Let's insert the Church and re-write this section:

The way the Roman Catholic Church treats people is to be considered an essential element of the Church's method of evangelizing. The Church should welcome everyone, without distinction, and never exclude anyone: first, the poor, then the rich like Zacchaeus and Joseph of Arimathea; outsiders like the centurion and the Syro-Phoenician woman; the righteous, like Nathanael; and prostitutes and public sinners, like the ones with whom Jesus sat at table.

Food for thought. I hope your weekend is a good one.


Gotta sing. Gotta pray.




1 comment:

Jeff Rexhausen said...

For most of us, our parish and certain groups within it are the places we live out church, so let’s take your application a step further:

The way my parish (or formal or informal small group within my parish) treats people (including those in other small groups) is to be considered an essential element of the Church's method of evangelizing. My parish (or small group) should welcome everyone, without distinction, and never exclude anyone …

And then, if we wish “to create in every place and time the conditions which lead to this encounter between the person and Jesus Christ,” we might reflect on how we think and act in the places where we spend most of our time. Personally, that is an intimidating proposition.