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Monday, 12 January 2015

Salvation and the Social Gospel

Apparently Catholics of one stripe* are upset that the Holy Father devoted a goodly portion of the Urbi et Orbi message to the poor and suffering in the world.
"Jesus is the salvation for every person and for every people" [some of whom]"for too long now have suffered the effects of ongoing conflict, and who, together with those belonging to other ethnic and religious groups, are suffering a brutal persecution." 
Anyone have a problem with that?
I wouldn't think so.
And still other Catholics have a problem that the aforementioned Catholics have  the aforementioned problem.

I think, as so very often, seeming differences of opinion are really  a matter of emphasis, of priorities.
The second mentioned type, quote this from the first, type, as if it proved  the former second, (albeit first in THIS sentence,) group's point:
While I wish to distract neither from the horrible plight of so many suffering around the world today nor from the genuineness of the Holy Father's sentiments, I find myself wondering: Did Christ come to save us from these things?
... and then asks if those who harbor such thoughts AND QUESTIONS are "for real".
Well, again, anyone seriously have a problem with that?
Because I think it is incontrovertibly true.
Christ did not come down and become one of us to save us from poverty, from hunger, from disease, from oppression.
At least not in their earthly forms. The spiritual oppression of the devil, the disease of sin, the need for, ache for, Bread Come Down From Heaven, not pumpernickel....
Those are not what the Lord wished and wishes to free us from.
Yes, we believe what He said in Matthew 15, whatever we do to the least of His brethren we do for Him and are COMMANDED to do -- but such actions work the salvation of the doer, not the done upon. Works of Active Love, (my preferred definition of caritas.)

Because, um... Matthew 16.
For he that will save his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it. For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul?

What profit in a full belly, a warm bed, and freedom from earthly terrorists, if Heaven is not the destination?

It is to the spiritual benefit, the vastly more crucial benefit, of those who in trying to give earthly benefits to the less fortunate, become the face of Christ to their fellow men.

But answering those earthly needs, assuaging that earthly hunger is only a means to an end,  for the Christian.

*I myself am of neither stripe, but am quite, quite spotted.
Maculata, if you wish.

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