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The provoking proposal of Jesus - Part II (Jose A. Pagola)

The provoking proposal of Jesus - Part II (Jose A. Pagola)

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Published by Convivium Press

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Published by: Convivium Press on Apr 25, 2011
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THEPROVOKINGPROPOSALOF JESUS
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hedignityofthelowestasagoal 
Jesuslivedinasocietyindeepcrisis.Everyoneexpectedadecisiveevent,evenGodsintervention,thatwouldreversethesituation.TheEssenesofQumran,thevariousgroupsofPharisees,theradical«haberim»,theresistancemove-mentsagainstRome,theapocalypticseers,allproposedvariousalternatives.Jesus,onhispart,wasdevelopinginhismindacompletelyoriginalproject:hecalledit
«theKingdomofGod»
,andheconceiveditastheemergenceofhiscompassionintheworld.
Godisgoodnesswithoutlimits,incrediblecompassiontowardsthosewhosuffer.Theimportantthingistoaccept,bringintoandpropagatecompassioninsociety.Itisnotnecessarytolookforaneworderofthingsthatismorejustac-cordingtotheunderstandingeach grouphas of its ownvisionandinterests.It is necessary tointroduceanew dynamic andanewdirectionintolife.Compassionmustdirectandimpeleverythingtowardsamorehonorablelifeforthelowest insociety.
Thismessagewasachallengeforall.AccordingtoJesusthenationhastolearntolivebylookingatlifefromadif-ferentangle.IthastofreeitselffromtraditionalwisdomwhichforcenturieshasmoldedthetraditionsofIsrael,thereligionoftheTemple,andthespiritualityofdifferentgroups.Thevaluesdeeplyinternalizedinthesocialconsciencehavetobecriticallyassessed.Theyhaveveryconcretelabels:
«theelectionofIsrael»,«thedestructionofthepagans»,«controloverenemytowns»,«thecurseofsinners». JesusnowcallsthepeopletoacceptthekingdomofGodwhichwantsabetterandhappierlifeforall,beginningwiththelowestofall.Theymustlearntolivewithadifferentsetofvalues:compassionforthosewhosuffer,protectionofthe weakest,unconditionalacceptanceofall,struggleforthedignityofeveryhumanbeing.
Thepeopleof Galileewerewellawareof whatakingdombuiltonviolenceandoppressionwaslike.Theylivedformanyyearssufferingfromthecrueltyof Romanrule,andtheexploitationof therulingclasses.Ithadalwaysbeenthatway.Itdidn’tmatterwhetheritwastheEmpireofAugustusorof Tiberius,thekingdomof HerodorthegovernmentofhissonAntipas.Theresultwasalwaysthesame:luxuriousbuildingsinthecities,miseryinthevil-lages;wealthandostentationamongtheurbanelites,anddebt,lossoflandsandhungerforthepeasants;enrichmentofthelargelandowners,increaseofthemalnourished,beggars,vagrants,prostitutes,slavesescapedfromtheirmas-ters,andbandits.TheycouldexpectnothingfromTiberiusorfromAntipas.WehavetoplacetheworkofJesusinthiscontext.Hisaimwasnottoorganizeamoreperfectreligion.HedidnotsethimselftodevelopamoreprecisetheologyaboutGodoramoredignifiedliturgyintheTemple.Thepassionhefosteredallhislifewasdifferent.HewantedtoseetheprojectofGodrealizedassoonaspossible:ahappierandmoredignifiedlifeforall.Andforthathehadtointroduceintosocietyanewattitudetowardsthelowest,themostneedandvulnerable.WhatwouldtheworldbelikeifGodandnotTiberiuswereinfactreigningoverthenations?WhatwouldhappenifeverythingwouldbeasGodwantedit?FortheconventionalreligionofIsraelitwasallveryclear:GodwouldinterveneinordertodestroytheenemiesofIsraelandannihilatetheimpiouswhodonotobservetheTorah.Jesussurprisesthemall.Hedoesnottakethesideofthechosenpeopleagainstthepaganpeople:thekingdomofGodwillnotinvolvethedestructionofthegentiles.Hedoesnottakethesideofthejusteitheragainsttheimpious:thekingdomofGodwillnotinvolveavictoryofthe
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