LIVING IN THE MINORITY
In his Gospel, Luke has redacted a few words, full of feeling and love, words directed by Jesus to his followers. All too often these words pass us by unnoticed. Nevertheless when they are read today attentively from the perspective of our parishes and Christian communities, they offer a surprising timeliness. It’s what we need to listen to from Jesus in these times that aren’t easy on faith.
«My little flock». Jesus looks on his small group of followers with immense tenderness. They are few. They have the vocation of being a minority. They don’t need to think about great things. It is thus that Jesus always imagines them: as a little bit of «leaven»’ hidden in the dough, a small «light» in the midst of obscurity, a handful of «salt» that gives taste to life.
After centuries of «Christian imperialism», Jesus’ disciples need to learn to live in the minority. It is wrong to long for a powerful and strong Church. It is deceiving to seek worldly power or play at dominating society. The Gospel isn’t forced upon anyone. It’s spread by those who live according to the style of Jesus, making life more human.
«Don’t be afraid». This is Jesus great concern. He doesn’t want to see his followers paralyzed by fear, or sunk into discouragement. They don’t need to worry. Even today we are a small flock, but we can stay very united to Jesus, the Pastor who guides us and defends us. He can allow us to keep living peacefully in these times.
«It has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom». Jesus reminds them one more time. They don’t need to feel themselves orphaned. They have God as their Father. God has confided to them the project of the kingdom. It is God’s great gift. This is the best we have in our communities: the task of making life more human and the hope of guiding history toward its definitive salvation.
«Sell your goods and give alms». Jesus’ followers are a small flock, but they never need to be a sect, closed in on their own interests. They won’t live with their backs turned on the needs of anyone. They will be communities of open doors. They will share their goods with those who need help and solidarity. They will give alms, that is, «mercy». This is the original significance of the Greek term.
We Christians will still need some time in order to learn to live in the minority in the midst of a secular and pluralistic society. But there is something that we can and ought to do without waiting for anyone: change the climate we live in within our communities, and make it more Gospel-like. Pope Francis is marking the way for us with his actions and his way of life.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf