Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Christological Drama

“They will kill you claiming to be doing God's will.”

This today from Somalia: Sister Leonella, a Catholic nun who devoted her life to helping the sick in Africa, used to joke there was a bullet with her name engraved on it in Somalia. When the bullet came, she used her last breaths to forgive those responsible. “I forgive, I forgive,” she whispered in her native Italian just before she died Sunday in Mogadishu, the Somali capital … The shooting was not a random attack and could have been sparked by Muslim anger over recent remarks by Pope Benedict linking Islam and violence … Sister Leonella, whose birth name was Rosa Sgorbati, had lived and worked in Kenya and Somalia for 38 years.

The reason why the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against the Church is because the most vicious and conspicuous attempts to expel the Gospel and those who embody it reenacts the drama that reveals it.


Mark Gordon said...

Welcome to the blogosphere, Gil. Despite your ambivalence about the medium, I know you're going to make an important contribution.

This morning I overheard two radio talk show hosts talking about the murder of Sr. Leonella. One host, ostensibly a faithful Catholic, just couldn't comprehend the unqualified forgiveness extended by the nun during her last moments. The idea of forgiveness without confession and contrition was unthinkable to him. When the second host reminded him of the unmerited forgiveness Jesus offered from the Cross, the host replied, "Yes, but Christ aside, that's a stupid idea."

What caught my attention was not the "stupid" remark. Jesus (and Sr. Leonella) can take that. It was the preface: "Yes, but Christ aside ..." How many times do we say "Yes, but Christ aside," and try to reach back, past the revelation of the Cross, to the old consolation of violence and revenge?

Athos said...

In the gospel for today, 9/21/06, Jesus says, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."

Jesus succinctly reveals the will of God in the first sentence and gives all his followers an imperative, so read, in the second.

John Paul the Great said the Church proposes, it never imposes. "Calling" does just this.

Rather than slaughter sinners -- "infidels" -- the gospel tells us to call them. This is going to be harder than we thought. We may have to learn Arabic just to make our "calling" understood!