By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Way to End the Journey

A beloved 80-year-old Bronx priest retires; and we see the face of Jesus at, of all places, this N.Y. Times link. For years, he walked the streets of his parish, a parish in a dangerous "hood." I have always wondered, since the days I had a small urban law office near a large Catholic church, why more priests do not "walk" their city parishes and mingle with the people, "their" people.

If this Bronx priest could do it in that neighborhood, certainly, more could do it in much safer areas. Jesus was peripatetic, so should his priests be, in one form or another. At one point in the article, one cleric clumsily and inartfully remarks that this old priest's social concern is "passé" nowadays. With all due respect, the Gospel is never passé. It was not just "social concern"--it was being Jesus to others. "Social concern" is too reductionistic. Today, a whole range of people show "social concern"--it is de rigeur and very respectable and bourgeois in many settings. Mere "social concern" is a very common, even conventional, phenomenon; but agape is not as common and usually comes in more humble guises.