Sunday, December 14, 2008

A little about the man whose birth we celebrate

“Jesus is different from John the Baptist.
He does not lead a life of withdrawn asceticism apart from the world.

He does not cut himself off and retreat into a monastery like the Qumran sect.

He approaches people and lives among them.In one sense he could be said to be an enlightened secular man.

To him the world is God’s good creation;

and its things are good gifts to mankind.

He is not too proud to eat with the rich or to be supported by pious women (Lk 8.2-3). Nor, on the other hand, is he a ‘liberal’ like the Sadducees.

He does not think he can satisfy his religious obligations by the correctness of the orthodox, and specific cultic and ritual observances.

The will of God takes over totally.

Many of his sayings reveal a total claim and fundamental seriousness. He is concerned about everything.

This ‘abandoning all’ leads him to a break with his family (Mk 3.20-21; 31-35), makes him homeless in this world (Mt 8.20).

But he is no zealot or fanatic.
His zeal is never brutish.

And he is different from the Pharisees.
He is not pious in the average meaning of the word.
He teaches neither religious technique nor moral casuistry.

He calls God his Father,
whose love breaks down all categories and frees people from anxiety (Mt 6.25-34).”

From Walter Cardinal Kasper
Jesus the Christ, p. 68

Photos courtesy of Flikr Creative Commons

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