JESUS CONTINUES TO BE CONDEMNED TO DEATH
BY LEONARDO BOFF
It was the wicked …… who said among themselves, thinking not aright: …… “Let us oppress the needy just man; …… let our strength be our norm of justice; for weakness proves itself useless” (Wisdom 1:15; 2:1,10,11).
The sinfulness of the world, which killed the Son of God, continues to kill the children of God. Jesus’ passion goes on in the passion of our suffering people. Everywhere we find a thirst for justice, a hunger for equality, and a yearning for brotherhood. Efforts are being made to create the social, economic, political, educational, and religious conditions that will turn justice into a concrete reality for the largest possible number of people. Only when such conditions are created will justice cease to be a mere desire. Only then will it begin to be a concrete fact. But it is at this point that the obstacles begin as well.
Those who live in a privileged situation do not want to give up their privileges so that others may have the things that they need but that are now denied them. Groups accustomed to the best are not willing to give that up and settle for what is merely good so that other people in bad straits might be able to live in a normal, decent way. We see a criminal breach of fraternity in family life, among social classes, in the nation, and in international relations.
Some people are willing to serve as the sounding board for the vast, powerless majority and their cries for justice. Some are courageous enough to be the voice for those without voice or opportunity; they join in solidarity with the latter’s struggles, sharing their outlook, their language, their defeats, their victories, and their destiny. But it is mainly those treated unjustly themselves who are taking their cause into their own hands, uniting, organizing, coordinating their ideas, and arranging their practical deeds. Without displaying a vengeful or oppressive spirit, they are fighting to win their stolen dignity and to recover their stolen rights.
The cause of the oppressed who are seeking justice and reclaiming their rights is the cause of God Himself. For God said: “I have witnessed the affliction of any people …… and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers, so I know well what they are suffering. Therefore I have come down to rescue them ……” (Exodus 3:7-8).
In this truly messianic mission, countless people are defamed, isolated, persecuted, hurt in their work life and family life, incarcerated, tortured, exiled, and condemned to heavy assaults because of their commitment to justice and people’s rights. Wicked people with power will always say: “Let our strength be our norm of justice” (Wisdom 21 2:11).
The condemnation of Jesus is perpetuated in these people who fight for justice. Jesus will continue to be condemned to death so long as we do not establish the human and historical conditions that will allow justice to flower and right to flourish. And without justice and right, the kingdom of Godwill not be established.
Taken by A Christian Pilgrim from Leonardo Boff, WAY OF THE CROSS = WAY OF JUSTICE, Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, ©1980 (First published as Via-sacra da justice, © 1978 Editora Vozes Ltda., Brazil), pages 7-9.