Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Mission of the Gospel and Dialogue

Mission of the Gospel and of Dialogue

1. Differences of people is not a curse. It is not a bad situation. It is ok if people are different. That applies to religions: PEOPLE CAN BE DIFFERENT IN RELIGIONS. The Church today has dropped this attitude of being superior to other religions; as if their differences were wrong. Simply because we are true does not make other religions inferior and false. The Church has not gone as far as say that we are superior.

2. Yes, God definitely revealed in Jesus Christ. But this did not stop God from revealing in oter religions too. God has nothing against other people of other traditions. God is for all; and in our Christian faith we have the notion of "Seeds of the Word" to say that OTHER RELIGIONS ARE POSITIVE PLACES WHERE GOD CAN REVEAL.

3. This is one reason why we go on dialogue. Dialogue broadens our horizons and if we accept the notion of "Seeds of the Word" then we dialogue TO DISCERN THE SEEDS IN OTHER RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS. God revealing in other religions stimulates the Christians to go on dialogue.

4. Our faith is faith in Jesus Christ. He is the definite revelation of God. And the revelation in Christ HAPPENED IN HISTORY, in the first century Palestine. Jesus Christ was a man of dialogue. He came in very concrete human form--in the Incarnation--and so he had to go out and meet people, encounter people, enter into dialogue with them. The Revelation of God in Jesus Christ happened in a specified time and place and that Revelation took time. Jesus lived and learned about the culture of Palestine. He got into trouble and was killed. All that happened in time. THIS TELLS US THAT WE, DISCIPLES OF CHRIST, ARE DIALOGICAL. We are a community--a Church of dialogue. Going deep in relationhip with others, including people of other religions, is part of our discipleship.

5. The message of Jesus was actually quite simple and direct. He came to say that the human is beloved by God. GOD LOVES US. God has nothing against us and he wants us to share his life. Jesus used the image of the Kingdom where God--and us--form a community.

6. Jesus took his message seriously. He put full confidence in God who he called FATHER and pursued his mission. Even the coming threats to his life did not stop him from his mission. Jesus did not abandon  his mission. He was crucified, he died and was risen from the dead. The historical event of Jesus became the UNIVERSAL DESTINY OF ALL. Jesus Christ showed what was for all.

7. Just think about this for a minute. All humans, no matter who, have to go through a paschal experience one way or another. All have to "die" to egoism, maltreatment of fellows, cheating, injustice, etc. In doing that, there is life. The message and life of Jesus is that direct and simple. His message is so simple, he tells us all that we have value and honor, we are all loved by God and we are all destined for fullness of life, not damnation. It is such a universal message. It can speak to the hearts of others. How can we refuse to share that in dialogue?

8. Let us recall our religious experiences. Let us recall THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL IN OUR HEARTS. Let us recall the encounters we have had with Christ--and the joy in those encounters. Let us recall our prayer lives and how we have become intimate with Jesus in those moments. We need to go back to our intimacu with Christ and insight in his message. Without this, our mission might become a mess; a confusion.

9. We do our mission WITH THE CHURCH. Vatican II has made it clear: the Church is rooted in Christ and the Gospel. The CHurch is sign of the Kingdom. The Church is dialogical. Yes, maybe we have disappointments with the Church and we do not always have fantastic experiences with the Church. But the Church is doing her best--as she has always been. 

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