A subject for Critical Thinking


Use reason to analyze the following statement written by Fr. Eguiguren, based on the Catholic Faith.

Jesus and Personal and Social Transformation

by Fr. Antonio Eguiguren, Rector, St. John’s Catholic Cathedral, Boise, Idaho 

Many scholars have written important works to try to define precisely where the “essence of Christianity” is to be found. However, to know the center of the Christian faith, we do not need to go to any theological theory. First thing is to understand what was for Jesus his most important goal, the center of his life, the absolute, the cause to which he devoted himself to in body and soul.

No one doubts today that Mark’s gospel has sharply summarized that goal in these words: “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the Good News.” The aim of Jesus was to introduce in the world what he called “the kingdom of God (Malkuta Yahweh):” a community of brothers and sisters structured in a fair and dignified manner for all, just as God wants it.

When God reigns in the world, humanity progresses in justice, solidarity, compassion, fraternity and peace. To this goal Jesus gave passionately all his energies. For believing in this dream, or utopia, and for putting all his energies into its accomplishment, he was persecuted, tortured and executed. “The kingdom of God” was the absolute value for him.

The conclusion is obvious: the strength, the energy, the sense of purpose, the reason and the ultimate meaning of Christianity is “the kingdom of God,” and nothing else. The only criteria to measure the Christian identity, the truth of any spirituality or the value of what the Church is, is always subject and at the service of the “kingdom of God.” In a nutshell, the only way to look at life as Jesus did, the only way to feel things as Jesus felt, the only way to act as Jesus did, is to guide all our lives toward building a more humane world.

However, many Christians have not yet heard what is the “kingdom of God.” One of the most serious heresies which we, with the passing of time, have introduced in our Christian rationale, is to make of the Church an absolute principle; worst still, to identify our Church with the “Kingdom of God.” It is a serious error to think that the Church is the center to which everything else must be subordinated. It is a serious mistake to make of the Church the “replacement” of the kingdom of God. This is what Pope Francis calls a self-referential church. This error and mistake has led us to worry more for the organization and the strengthening of the juridical, liturgical aspects of a triumphal Church, rather than taking care of the suffering in the world and fighting for the building of a more equitable and just society. Often the official church has looked at the other side in front of flagrant social injustices, in order to maintain her privileges.

It is not easy to maintain our Christian convictions oriented toward serving the values of the kingdom of God, but when we do try working in that direction, then faith becomes more creative and, above all, more evangelical and Christian.

 

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