Meditation and prayers

He Wore No Distinctive Sing

He wore no distinctive sign, did not attend a rabbinical school, had no title pinned on His lapel. He denounced the religious formalities of His time as well as the profiteers who used the temple space for their own purposes. He refused to be associated with the powerful who threat­ened people in the name of some divinity. It was His ‘custom’ to attend services on the Sabbath at a synagogue. Speaking the words of the Prophet Amos, He challenged the religious authorities of His time: Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream, says the Lord (Am 5:22.24). He declared that what belongs to Caesar must be given to Caesar and to God what belongs to God. He publicly affirmed that religion is at the service of man and not the reverse. Time and time again He made clear that His Kingship was not that of an earthly kingdom obtained by military power; it was rather a spiritual Kingdom to be established in truth. He would reign in hearts, not in armies. This pleased fear­ful Caesar! And since the religious and the political were not separate, the two entities, while taking into account their respective interests, rallied together to eliminate Him and have peace. History as it describes the Humanity of Jesus of Nazareth, names Him the Christ, the prophet of Nazareth, a man who lived as a simple lay person and was entirely free, loving humanity uncon­ditionally. Jesus was a discreet lay person, attentive to everyone, seeking justice and reconciliation. He was critical of power, of obscene entertainment, of wealth that produces wars and poverty. He himself was poor, meek, compassionate, just, merciful, a peace maker.

In a society where, with reason, we mistrust all that is religious, Humanity is more than ever in need of a lay person like Jesus of Nazareth and in need of secu­larization. This does not imply the disap­pearance of religion. The State is a human institution, the result of historical devel­opment, the work product of men and women who desire to live together on the same territory. The State is no longer sacred because the modern political culture does not recognize it as having the compe­tence to tell us whether God exists or not. The State does not know and cannot know if there is life after death. Finally, it does not have the necessary competence to deny the sacred in the name of science... Therefore, a secular State does not promote any conviction in terms of religious matter, whether athe­ism, or any kind of religious belief, the State favors none.

 

A DREAM PERCHED HIGH

Jesus was rarely where people expected to see Him (example in the temple), or with a certain class of people such as the pure, the strong, the powerful, the winners. He moved about, took to the road, observed the individuals He met along His journeys. He preferred personal encounters instead of meetings. Jesus had a dream, He wished to raise the individual’s consciousness to his/her true self, capable of being instru­ments of a Pentecost, notwithstanding the dualism that lies within: goodness/evil­ness, peace/war, meekness/revolt, petti­ness/greatness. Jesus had a vision of each person and it came from His oneness with His Father whom He called “Abba”. Jesus desired the full development of each one’s dignity and potential; thinking and acting in terms of the common good so no one gets lost. This is the challenge! A marvel­ous challenge for all Christians to rede­fine themselves within a secular society; to reconsider our responsibilities not so much in terms of Church or of past doctrines, but in terms of the poor neglected by politi­cal institutions, the endangered environ­ment, the audacious Word of the Prophet of Nazareth. Redefining our purpose in life according to the project of God our Father is our challenge.

Without the full realization of the tran­scendent self, without a model of society to pursue, without exemplary lives to imitate, each one is reduced to a narrowness of every­day living... What we are going through is the process of a general disintegration of the whole existence.2 Why live? How can we live harmoniously together? These are the imperative and inescapable questions which need to be addressed in a society that has endorsed secularism. These are the questions to which Christians can bring their precious piece to the puzzle as long as their faith be rekindled by the adventur­ous Fire of Love... leaving behind a self-centered religiosity.