På www.chiesa kan vi i dag lese om pave Benedikts tale til den romerske kuria (LES HER) for tre dager siden. Der overraska han de fleste ved å snakke svært mye om sitt besøk i Brasil i mai i år, og aller mest om hvordan han der sammen med biskopene i Brasil, og nå til alle medlemme av kuriaen (og til oss alle), understreker hvor viktig det er å spre budskapet om Jesus Kristus til alle mennesker. Her er noe av det han sa til kuriaen:
And, finally, Aparecida. […]It was so good for us to gather there and create the document on the theme «Disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ, so that they may have life in Him.» Of course, someone might ask immediately: Was this really the right theme, at this moment of history in which we are living? Was this not, perhaps, excessively directed toward interiority, at a time when the great challenges of history, the urgent matters of justice, peace, and freedom require the full engagement of all men of good will, and in a particular way of the Christian world and the Church? Shouldn’t these problems have been confronted instead, rather than retreating into the interior world of the faith?
We will put off this objection for the moment. Before responding to this, in fact, it is necessary to understand well the theme itself in its true significance; once this is done, the response to the objection takes shape on its own.
The keyword of the theme is: to find life – true life. With this, the theme supposes that this objective, about which all may, perhaps, agree, is attained in discipleship to Jesus Christ, as also in the effort on behalf of his word and his presence. The Christians in Latin America, and with them those of the entire world, are thus invited first of all to again become «disciples of Jesus Christ» to a greater extent – something that, fundamentally, we already are in virtue of Baptism, without this changing the fact that we must constantly become disciples anew in the living assimilation of the gift of this Sacrament.
To be disciples of Christ – what does this mean? In the first place, it means coming to know him. How does this happen? It is an invitation to listen to him as He speaks to us in the text of the Sacred Scripture, as He addresses himself to us and comes to meet us in the common prayer of the Church, in the Sacraments, and in the witness of the saints.
One can never get to know Christ only theoretically. One can master the knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures, without ever having met Him. Integral to knowing Him is walking together with Him, entering into his sentiments, as the letter to the Philippians says (2:5). Paul briefly describes these sentiments as follows: having the same love, forming together one soul (sýmpsychoi), going in agreement, not doing anything out of rivalry or vainglory, each not looking out only for his own interests, but also for those of others (2:24).
Catechesis can never be only an intellectual instruction, it must also always become an apprenticeship in communion of life with Christ, an exercise in humility, justice, and love. Only in this way do we walk together with Jesus Christ along his way; only in this way is the eye of our heart opened; only in this way do we learn to understand the Scriptures, and encounter Him.
The encounter with Jesus Christ requires listening, it requires a response in prayer and in the practice of what He tells us. In coming to know Christ, we come to know God, and it is only by beginning from God that we understand man and the world, a world that otherwise remains a meaningless question.
Becoming disciples of Christ is, therefore, a journey of education toward our true being, toward authentic human existence.
In the Old Testament, the fundamental attitude of the man who lives according to the word of God is summed up in the term ‘zadic’ – the just man: he who lives according to the word of God becomes a just man; he practices and lives justice.
In Christianity, the attitude of the disciples of Jesus Christ was later expressed with another word: the faithful. Faith encompasses everything; this word now indicates, at the same time, being with Christ and being with his justice. We receive, in the faith, the justice of Christ; we live it personally and we transmit it.
The document of Aparecida makes all of this concrete, by speaking of the good news about the dignity of man, about life, about the family, about science and technology, about human work, about the universal destination of the goods of the earth, and about ecology: these are dimensions in which our justice is articulated, our faith is lived out, and responses are given to the challenges of the time.
The disciple of Jesus Christ must also be a «missionary,» a messenger of the Gospel, this document tells us. Here, too, an objection is raised: is it still permissible to «evangelize» today? Shouldn’t all the religions and conceptions of the world instead coexist peacefully and seek, together, to do what is best for humanity, each in its own way?
Well then, it is unquestionable that we must all coexist and cooperate in tolerance and in mutual respect. The Catholic Church devotes itself to this with great energy, and, with the two meetings in Assisi, it has also left clear indications in this regard, indications that we renewed at the meeting in Naples this year.
In this regard, I am pleased to recall the letter kindly sent to me last October 13 by 138 Muslim religious leaders, to testify to their common commitment to the promotion of peace in the world. With joy I responded by expressing my steadfast adherence to such noble intentions, and at the same time emphasizing the urgency of a common effort for the protection of the values of mutual respect, dialogue, and collaboration. Shared recognition of the existence of one God, the provident Creator and universal Judge of each one’s behavior, constitutes the premise of common action in defense of the effective respect of the dignity of each human person, to build a more just and supportive society.
But does this desire for dialogue and collaboration at the same time mean, perhaps, that we can no longer transmit the message of Jesus Christ, no longer propose to men and to the world this call and the hope that is derived from it? Those who have recognized a great truth, those who have found a great joy must transmit it; they simply cannot keep it for themselves. Gifts so great are never intended for just one person.
In Jesus Christ there has arisen for us a great light, «the» great Light: we cannot put it under a bushel basket, but must raise it up upon the lamp stand, so that it may give light to all in the house (cf. Matthew 5:15).
Saint Paul journeyed tirelessly to spread the Gospel. He actually felt as though he were under a sort of «constraint» to proclaim the Gospel (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:16) – not so much out of a preoccupation for the salvation of the non-baptized individual who had still not been reached by the Gospel, but because he was aware that history in its entirety could not arrive at its fulfillment until the totality (pléroma) of the peoples had been reached by the Gospel (cf. Romans 11:25).
To reach its fulfillment, history needs the proclamation of the Good News to all peoples, to all men (cf. Mark 13:10). And in fact: how important it is that humanity should be permeated by forces of reconciliation, forces of peace, forces of love and justice – how important it is that that in the «balance» of humanity, before the sentiments and realities of violence and injustice that threaten it, contrary forces should be raised up and strengthened!
This is precisely what happens in Christian mission. Through the encounter with Jesus Christ and his saints, through the encounter with God, the balance of humanity is supplied with those powers of goodness without which all of our programs in the social order do not become reality, but – in the face of overwhelming pressure from other interests that are contrary to peace and justice – remain only abstract theories.
Thus we have returned to our opening question: Did Aparecida do the right thing, in its search for life for the world, by giving priority to the discipleship of Jesus Christ and evangelization? Was it, perhaps, a mistaken falling back into interiority? No! Aparecida decided rightly, because it is precisely through the new encounter with Jesus Christ and his Gospel – and only in this way – that the powers are raised that make us capable of giving the right response to the challenges of the time . […]