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Daily Archives: April 20, 2011

JESUS CONTINUES TO BE NAILED TO THE CROSS

JESUS CONTINUES TO BE NAILED TO THE CROSS 

BY LEONARDO BOFF 

Christ loved you. He gave Himself for us as an offering to God. We are …… heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with Him so as to be glorified with Him (Eph 5:2; Rom 8:17). 

There is a mysterious presence of God within humanity. The Incarnation means that the Son really did assume our sinful condition. Once He did that, He continues to remain in it forever. He became incarnate, no to sacralize the world and humanity, but to liberate them, to make the old world new and the sinful human being just. His struggle to achieve this liberation goes on through the centuries, confronting all the obstacles that the hardness of the human heart and the iniquity of socio-historical relationships can create. 

Such conflict and confrontation is inevitable because there can be no reconciliation between God’s project of liberation and sin’s project of domination. The shift from the latter to the former takes place through conversion. 

Persecution and physical elimination of the witnesses to the Kingdom will not succeed in stopping the process leading to the establishment of a new heaven and a new earth. This process is the cause of God. And if God is for us, who can be against us? Even opposition and apparent defeat nurture and accelerate the advent of God’s definitive Kingdom. Yet, despite certainty of victory, we continue to tread a universal Way of the Cross. The cost of a happy outcome is being paid from generation to generation. The passion goes on. Definitive resurrection will come only at the end of the world. 

So Jesus continues to be crucified in all those who are crucified in history. He is crucified in the millions who go hungry every day and in those who are subjected to inhuman working conditions. He is crucified in all those who are mutilated in war and confined to hospital beds. 

He is crucified in those who are marginalized in our cities and rural areas, and in those who suffer from discrimination because of their race, sex, or poverty. He is crucified in those who are persecuted because of their thirst for justice, and in those who are forced in their jobs to violate their conscience, to conceal the truth, and to act as agents for institutions that oppress the lowly. He is crucified in all those who fight, without immediate success, against economic and ideological systems that generate sinful structures, structures engaging in exploitation. He is crucified in all those who are forced to live within such structures against their will. 

There are not enough Stations of the Cross to depict all the ways in which the Lord continues to be persecuted, imprisoned, condemned to death, and crucified today in the ongoing Passion of human life. 

But Jesus does not just suffer. He continues to offer himself to God and His brothers and sisters, to pardon, and to love all human beings to the very end. 

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 91-93.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2011 in LENT AND EASTERTIDE

 

JESUS CONTINUES TO CARRY HIS CROSS

JESUS CONTINUES TO CARRY HIS CROSS 

BY LEONARDO BOFF 

If a man wishes to come after Me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and begin to follow in My footsteps (Matthew 16:24). 

All liberation and all real growth in right and justice have their price. The present condition of the world and the ways in which it is organized today contradict God’s project in history. God’s aim is to establish His kingdom, a kingdom in which all human beings will be His children, free and obedient children, and truly brothers and sisters to one another. The kingdom of God in the world is being built up in opposition to the rule of sinfulness, egotism, and poverty. God does not want to see poverty because it is the product of unjust social relationships. 

God’s kingdom divides. Not every attitude or type of growth is acceptable to God. There are people who are too deeply attached to their quest for a wealth and power that leave others out in the cold. They have no sense of social responsibility. They do not place their power in the service of causes that will do justice to all. Instead they place it in the service of causes that will advance the interests of a few. Power is legitimate only when it protects justice. Those with power can practice violence to defend themselves. They fashion crosses  for those who fight for a world that is less divided between rich and poor. On those crosses they crucify the prophets who proclaim a greater justice, the advocates of the cause of the poor, and the poor themselves. The rightness of the poor’s cause is not acknowledged. Their quest for humanization and fraternity is maligned as subversive, as an incentive to violence. But all those who fight for the cause of the poor make Jesus come alive today, carrying His cross through the long byways of history. 

This cross, imposed on people already crucified by the dehumanized life they are forced to live, is a crime that will not escape the judgment of God. Since God Himself was crucified in Jesus Christ, no cross imposed unjustly is a matter of indifference to Him. He is in solidarity with all those who hang on crosses. Their humiliation is His humiliation. They do not carry their cross by themselves. Jesus carries it with them and in them. 

This cross, shattering as it may be, is a thing of dignity because it is the result of a commitment with dignity: i.e., to live and fight so that there will be fewer and fewer unjust crosses for others. For there is a cross that gives dignity to the person crucified on it: the cross imposed on those who fight against the crosses laid upon the lacerated shoulders of our downtrodden, humiliated people. That was the cross of Jesus Christ. It was not the cross of a subversive (Luke 23:2), of your typical revolutionary. It was the cross of a prophet who identified Himself with the cause of God, and God’s cause is embodied in the cause of the downtrodden of this world. 

That cross certainly brings torment to the body. But even more certainly, it brings grandeur and exaltation to the person involved. That person becomes a liberator, even as Jesus Christ was. No trace is left in human or divine memory of those who inflicted the cross on others. Only those are remembered who carried a cross for sake of others. 

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 15-17.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2011 in LENT AND EASTERTIDE