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

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Catholic Revolution

When we return to the gospels, it is always a revolution. Pope Francis has launched the necessary revolution of a Church always renewing herself. For Christianity, revolution is not a rupture but always an anticipated and continual return to the Source--the Son of Man who taught with authority, challenged the religious legalists, and did good to those most in need and most forgotten.

Marshall McLuhan famously said that "the medium is the message." McLuhan (by the way, a convert to Catholicism) told us something about the gospel. How you teach, how you speak to people, how you encounter the other reflect your message. Jesus never imposed, always proposed--as he did with the rich young man who rejected him. Jesus reserved his ire for the arrogant and powerful religious elite. He reached out most forcefully to those lowest on the social scale: children, women, the poor, the unfortunate and maimed in life. He spoke strong words about the danger of riches. He proclaimed a kingdom which inverted the order of prestige and status which put the proud and powerful on top.

When that style--that medium--is missing or goes dormant, the message suffers. With Francis, the message is again going full throttle because the style is the style of the gospels. How you encounter people tells people what you think of them. Francis' style tells people all they need to know: the message is compassion for everyone, not lecturing or condemning from a podium. As Francis says, we are here to accompany others in the complicated journey of life. Like the Good Samaritan, we approach those who may disdain or dislike us. We show who we are by what we do.

(Image of Good Samaritan by van Gogh in public domain)