Only One Talking About Jesus Is a Buddhist

Discussion in 'News of/from Rome' started by Admin, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. Admin

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    The Pope in Mission Territory. But the Only One Talking About Jesus Is a Buddhist

    28 nov

    There was only one moment in which Jesus was named and his Gospel proclaimed, in the speeches on the first day of Pope Francis’s visit to Myanmar.

    Only that the one who spoke these words was not the pope, but the Burmese state counsellor and foreign minister Aung San Suu Kyi, who is of the Buddhist faith:

    "Jesus himself offers a 'manual' for this strategy of peacemaking in the Sermon on the Mount. The eight Beatitudes (cf. Mt 5:3-10) provide a portrait of the person we could describe as blessed, good and authentic. Blessed are the meek, Jesus tells us, the merciful and the peacemakers, those who are pure in heart, and those who hunger and thirst for justice.

    "This is also a programme and a challenge for political and religious leaders, the heads of international institutions, and business and media executives: to apply the Beatitudes in the exercise of their respective responsibilities. It is a challenge to build up society, communities and businesses by acting as peacemakers. It is to show mercy by refusing to discard people, harm the environment, or seek to win at any cost."

    It is true that San Suu Kyi took these words from the message of Francis for the world day of peace on January 1, 2017. But it is striking that the only one to mention the name of Jesus and to make his Gospel resonate should have been she, and not the pope.

    The complete text of the speech by the Nobel peace laureate, delivered at the beginning of the meeting between Francis and the authorities and representatives of civil society, can be read on this other page Settimo Cielo:

    > "Jesus himself in the Sermon on the Mount…"

    While this is the speech delivered immediately afterward by Pope Francis, a speech that instead was completely “secular,” except for the final invocation upon those present of “the divine blessings of wisdom, strength and peace":

    > "A peace based on respect for each ethnic group and its identity"

    Also on the morning of Tuesday, November 28, in meeting with representatives of the various religions present in Myanmar – Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Anglican and Catholic Christians – Francis did not say anything specifically Christian, but instead insisted on the fact that “every confession has its wealth, its traditions to give, to share”; he invoked a “harmony” among the religions in respect for differences; he condemned the “cultural colonization” that presumes to “make all equal” and therefore to “kill humanity”:

    > "Desde esas diferencias uno aprende del otro, como hermanos"

    And yet, was not a Church that “goes forth,” more “missionary” than ever, precisely the objective that pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio put in first place in the agenda-setting text of his pontificate, the exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium"?

    And what could be more “forthgoing” and more “missionary” than a journey of the successor of the apostle Peter to a “periphery” of the world like Myanmar, which remains almost entirely to be evangelized?

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    POSTSCRIPT – In confirmation of what Pope Francis means by evangelization has come this response of his during the press conference on the flight back from Bangladesh, on Saturday, December 2, to a question from French journalist Etienne Loraillère: "What is your priority: evangelizing, or dialoguing for peace?":

    "First distinction: evangelizing does not mean proselytism. The Church grows not by proselytism, but through attraction, which means by witness. This is what Pope Benedict XVI has said. What is it to evangelize? It is living the Gospel, it is bearing witness to how one lives the Gospel: giving witness to the Beatitudes, giving witness to Matthew 25, giving witness to the Good Samaritan, giving witness to forgiveness seventy times seven. And in this witness, the Holy Spirit works and there are conversions.

    "But we are not very enthusiastic about making conversions right away. If they come, they wait…, your tradition…, has it that conversion is the response to something that the Holy Spirit has moved within my heart, as a result of Christian witness. At lunch with young people at World Youth Day in Krakow - around fifteen young people from all over the world - one of them asked me this question: 'What should I say to a fellow student at university, a friend, a great guy, but one who is an atheist? What should I say to change him, to convert him?' The response was this: 'The last thing you should do is to say something. You live the Gospel, and if he asks you why you do this, you can explain to him why you do it. And let the Holy Spirit draw him.'

    "This is the power and the meekness of the Holy Spirit in conversions. It is not a mental persuasion with apologetics, reasons... no. It is the Spirit who brings about conversions. We are witnesses of the Spirit, witnesses of the Gospel. In Greek the word for 'witness' is 'martyr': the martyrdom of every day, also the martyrdom of blood, when it comes...

    "Your questions: what is the priority, peace or conversion? Well, when one lives with witness and respect, one brings peace. Peace begins to fall apart in this field when proselytism begins, and there are many kinds of proselytism, but this is not evangelical."

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