Monday, April 21, 2014

Who are those who are Pastorally Sensitive?

Father Paul has a good reputation among his Christians. He is devoted, zealous in his pastoral work, and in his religious exercises. He shows a great concern for the works of charity, helping  those living in difficult straits. In his sermons, he talks a lot about the need to practice the virtue of love in our daily lives.

He relates well with the wealthy and is rarely seen with the poor  or the alienated of our society. He does not  speak with them. He does not have the opportunity to hear the cry of pain  and oppression coming from this segment of society. He is living with  security, a sense of justice or social consciousness is missing, and he does not look favorably on those with head ribbons and those shouting rallying words.

This is the introduction to an article in a bulletin for priests written by a priest. He reminds us it is right to speak about love and to do works of  charity, but at the same time it is necessary to do something about the unjust  and immoral structures and to work to change these structures. This concern has also to be shown when it comes time to vote so we don't side with those who are not concerned with the poor and the alienated of  society.

“Life is not determined by consciousness, but consciousness by life.” The priest uses these words of Karl Marx, but there are  many who agree with this kind of assessment, he says, and they have a  large following.  He explains this to mean that the books we  read or what we have learned are not as  important as the people we have met and the  environment in which we live.

Christians read the same Scriptures, and say the same  prayers and yet when  it comes to voting there is a big difference in those in the East and those  in the West of the country.  There is a tendency to be opposed to each other, and this  does not  change with the passage of years. Of course, there are  elements that influence  the individual.

He quotes another saying of Karl Marx: "God made us in his likeness... and we make him into our likeness." The poor and those who desire change,  and those who are satisfied with the status quo  have two different  images of God. What one sees as incorrect we try to justify or rationalize. We see ourselves on the side  of truth and of God. Instead of searching for the will of God, we see our perspective  as correct. Our wills are filled with egotism, prejudice, error, greed and the like.

There is the expression: "We have to see the world from beneath to see it correctly."To see justice and truth correctly we have to see our reality from the perspective of those in the lower strata of society. We will then have a social consciousness and become aware of reality. We then want to see change, and become one with those hurting.

He concludes his article with a quote from one of our Korean bishops. "A Christian is one who follows our Lord.  Jesus did not stay in one place but moved around to meet people. Different from other religious leaders, he associated with those that society  didn't want to  see, the alienated, those pushed to the sides, those that many considered the  dregs of society."

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