The gospel is courageous

Archbishop Oscar Romero; April 16, 1978:Romero

A church that doesn’t provoke any crises,
a gospel that doesn’t unsettle,
a word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin,
a word of God that doesn’t touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed —
what gospel is that?

Very nice, pious considerations that don’t bother anyone,
that’s the way many would like preaching to be.
Those preachers who avoid every thorny matter
so as not to be harassed,
so as not to have conflicts and difficulties,
do not light up the world they live in.

They don’t have Peter’s courage, who told that crowd where the bloodstained hands still were that had killed Christ: “You killed him!” Even though the charge could cost him his life as well, he made it.

The gospel is courageous;
it’s the good news of him who came to take away the world’s sins.

Cornel West to Barack Obama: "How deep is your love?"

Excerpts:

Despite your brilliance, despite your charisma, I’m disappointed when it comes to the fundamental question of priorities, of urgency. How deep is your love for poor and working people?

You’ve changed the image of America, but don’t simply be the friendly face of the American empire. Many lives hang on your courage, and you cannot do it alone.

I believe like Martin Luther King that democracy can be reinvigorated, can be revitalized. But it takes courage–you can’t just cut deals; you have to take a stand. You have to have backbone.

In the end, it’s not about you, it’s not about me, it’s not about any isolated set of individuals. It’s about forces that will ensure that poor and working people can live lives of decency and dignity.

Daniel Berrigan: An Advent Reflection

Passed on by some friends of mine, here’s an Advent reflection from Daniel Berrigan, poet, peace activist and Catholic priest:

It is not true that creation and the human family are doomed to destruction and loss —
This is true: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination, hunger and poverty, death and destruction —
This is true: “I have come that they may have life, and that abundantly.”

It is not true that violence and hatred should have the last word, and that war and destruction rule forever —
This is true: “For unto us a child is born, and unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting, the Prince of Peace.”

It is not true that we are simply victims of the powers of evil who seek to rule the world —
This is true: “To me is given authority in heaven and on earth, and lo, I am with you, even unto the end of the world.”

It is not true that we have to wait for those who are specially gifted, who are the prophets of the Church, before we can be peacemakers.
This is true: “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young shall see visions, and your old shall have dreams.”

It is not true that our hopes for the liberation of humanity, for justice, human dignity, and
peace are not meant for this earth and for this history —
This is true: “The hour comes, and it is now, that true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth.”

So let us enter Advent in hope, even hope against hope.

Let us see visions of love and peace and justice.

Let us affirm with humility, with joy, with faith, with courage:

Jesus Christ, the Life of the world.

Verses quoted are, in order: John 3:16, John 10:10, Isaiah 9:6, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 2:17, and John 4:23.

From the pen of a loved one …

Busy lives. People rushing. Cars honking, bicycles, rickshaws, taxis. Self-involved.

See the world through your own eyes, not understanding perspectives or preferences of others. Focused on here and now not there or then.

‘Each day has enough trouble of its own.’ I don’t want to live with my eyes on trouble every single day. To be consumed with here and now and limitations and problems. To live in the bubble of what I see, hear and do.

I want possibilities. Endless possibilities. The Far Pavilions and the horizon and the dreaming spires. I want ideas and dreams and gifts and waiting and hoping. I want to know the creator of the world in everything I do. To know the Spirit and the Soul behind the world at work in my character and personality. Not to stick with here and now or me exactly as I am.

Impatient for change but change takes time. Cogs and wheels turn. Things are set in motion. Things grow and are harvested. Things rot. Some are reborn.

God has plans for me. Far beyond small ideas he wants world-changers.

First he wants me-changing–hungry and thirsty. Pure through and through. Humble and meek. Giving mercy and receiving mercy from others. No room for fierce individuals with ideas like a fort that they hide inside.

Open, ready, generous, eager.

Come on Jesus.

— Ally Maughan, 6th July 2005