Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Jesus of Nazareth - Africa and the Good Samaritan

A passage out of sequence
Because I have been asked about it, I skipped ahead several chapters to translate part of the Holy Father's commentary on the parable of the Good Samaritan which concerns Africa... and which has attracted much of the press attention in recent days. It's worth reading carefully and in full. (Usual apologies for any defects in translation)
The relevance of this parable is obvious. If we apply it to the dimensions of globalised society, we see how the populations of Africa find themselves robbed and pillaged and this concerns us very closely. We see how they are our neighbours; we also see that our way of life and the history in which we are involved have defrauded/stripped them and continue to defraud/strip them. Above all, this includes the fact that we have wounded them spiritually. Instead of giving them God, the God so near to us in Christ and instead of welcoming from their traditions everything that is precious and great, and bringing those things to fulfilment, we have instead brought them the cynicism of a world without God, in which only power and profit matter; we have destroyed moral criteria so that corruption and the unscrupulous desire for power is evident. And this doesn't only apply to Africa.
Yes, we must give material assistance and we must examine our way of life. But we give much too little if we only give material things. And don't we also find man defrauded/stripped and tormented closer to home? The victims of drugs, of person-trafficking, of sexual tourism and people who are internally destroyed, who are empty despite an abundance of material goods. All of this concerns us and calls us to have an eye and a heart for our neighbour, and also the courage of love towards our neighbour. Because, as I have said, the priest and the Levite pass on the other side perhaps more out of fear rather than indifference. We need, starting with our interior selves, to learn again the risk of goodness; we are only capable of goodness if we become interiorly good, if we are interiorly neighbours and if we have the ability to identify what type of service in our surroundings and in the broader scope of our lives is demanded, what is possible for us and therefore what is given to us as our duty. [pp 235-236]
For the sake of completeness, it should be noted that Benedict has an awful lot more to say about the parable of the Good Samaritan.

1 comment:

RC2 said...

How I love this pope!
This seems to indicate your reading of him in the previous post was correct. Thanks for skipping ahead for me.