LIGHT A FIRE
There are more than enough Christians who are deeply attached to a situation of well-being and tend to consider Christianity as a religion that invariably ought to be concerned with maintaining the law and the established order.
That’s why it ends up so strange to hear sayings from Jesus’ mouth that invite, not to staying put and conservatism, but to a profound and radical transformation of society. «I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already… Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division».
It’s not easy for us to see Jesus as someone who brings fire, destined to destroy so much lying, violence and injustice. A Spirit capable of radically transforming the world, even at the cost of challenging and dividing people.
The one who believes in Jesus isn’t a fatalistic person who resigns self in the face of any situation, seeking above all tranquility and false peace. She isn’t someone stuck, who justifies the status quo without working eagerly, creatively and in solidarity for a better world. Nor is he a rebel who is motivated by resentment, and tears everything down and then takes the place of those he has cast down.
The one who understands Jesus acts because she is moved by the passion and the aspiration to collaborate in a complete change. The true Christian brings «revolution» in his heart. A revolution that isn’t an «overthrow», just another change of government, insurrection or political change of the guard, but rather the seeking of a more just society.
The world order that we frequently defend is still in disorder. Because we haven’t succeeded in giving food to all the hungry, or guaranteed each person’s rights, or even eliminated wars or destroyed nuclear arms.
We need a revolution that is more profound than our economic revolutions. A revolution that transforms people’s and nations’ consciences. H. Marcuse wrote that we need a world «in which competition, the struggle of individuals one against another, deception, cruelty and massacres no longer have a reason to exist».
Whoever follows Jesus, goes about ardently seeking that the fire lit by him burn all the more in this world. But before anything else, a radical transformation is demanded within his own self: «The only thing we ask of Christians is that they be authentic. This truly is the revolution». (E. Mounier)
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf