THE LAST GESTURE
Jesus was realistic. He knew that he couldn’t transform from one day to the next a society where he saw so many people suffer. He didn’t have political or religious power to provoke a revolutionary change. He only had his word, his gestures and his great faith in the God of those who suffer.
That’s why he so much liked to do gestures of goodness. «Embrace» the children of the street so that they didn’t feel themselves orphans. «Touch» lepers so that they didn’t see themselves excluded from the villages. «Welcome» amicably to his table sinners and undesirables so that they didn’t feel themselves rejected.
They aren’t conventional gestures. They’re born of his will to make a world that’s friendlier and more in solidarity, in which people help each other and take care of each other mutually. It’s not important that they seem small gestures. God keeps in mind the «cup of water» that we give to those who are thirsty.
Above all Jesus likes to «bless». Bless the little ones and bless above all the sick and unfortunate. His gesture is charged with faith and love. He wants to wrap the ones who most suffer, with God’s compassion, protection, and blessing.
It’s not strange that when Luke narrates his parting, he describes Jesus raising his hands and «blessing» his disciples. It’s his last gesture. Jesus enters into the unfathomable mystery of God and his followers remain wrapped in his blessing.
For quite a while now we may have forgotten it, but the Church should be in the midst of the world as a fountain of blessing. In a world where it’s all too frequent to «curse», condemn, damage, denigrate, it’s more than ever necessary that the followers of Jesus be present and know how to «bless», seek good, do good, draw toward the good.
A Church that is faithful to Jesus is called to surprise society with public gestures of goodness, breaking out of schemes and distancing herself from strategies, styles of acting and aggressive language that has nothing to do with Jesus, the Prophet who blessed the people with gestures and words of goodness.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf