Translated by Jack McDonald
Question: What is the Gospel for?
Answer: To keep our indignation alive and kicking.
Christ’s preaching – and that is where Christ’s power and truth lie – struggles for a mankind who stands tall. When everything else condemns us to failure, destitution and mediocrity, the Gospel bravely trumpets: “Blessed are the poor!”, “The poor come first”, a death-knell for our browbeaten resignation and torpor. When nothing can stir us into action, when we languish in the desiccated slumber of our tired ideals, when it becomes so tempting to give in to the established order of things and to cave in to the size of the job at hand, the Gospel marshals its troops, troops of untouchable lepers, of the mad, the poor and the sick. Those whom we have no wish to see are placed by Jesus under our noses. Such insolence on Jesus’ part, to say nothing of the fact that he sees himself as the incarnation of this Gospel message: to announce to the world, to announce to those who want to hear, the infinite value of every person. This is the Good News: no one shall be condemned to invisibility. Because everyone counts in God’s sight, everyone must be recognised as human by his brother and sister. “Every Christian theology is a theology of liberation” writes the black American theologian James Cone, erstwhile friend of Martin Luther King, to whom the Faculty of Protestant Theology in Paris has just given an honorary doctorate. To read the Gospels is to dare to look the ugly and the tragic in the eye, the better to confront them. It is to allow ourselves to be summoned by the preaching of indignation against what should make us indignant. To speak of Jesus Christ is therefore a demanding and combative task. To proclaim Christ is to announce the union of God and humanity and to align ourselves with the acts of God for the freedom of mankind. The human being of the Gospel does not walk with shoulders bowed and head held low: he is saved, he is risen, he is freed from the forces which attack us and grind us to a halt. The men and women of the Gospel stand tall!
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