Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The God who gives life and who invites us to call him Father

This is based on an excerpt from something I wrote recently after reading a portion of Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez, OP's book The God of Life:

Because we are called into covenant as a people, as God’s people, and because God, while "tenderly loving" and always faithful, is also a demanding and even jealous covenant partner, the question, in what does this life-giving faith, this response to God, which response necessarily takes place in a community, consist, forces itself upon us. As is pointed out in the The Dogmatic Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, issued by the fathers of Vatican Council II, "the renewal in the eucharist of the covenant between the Lord and man draws the faithful into the compelling love of Christ and sets them on fire. From the liturgy, therefore, and especially from the eucharist, as from a font, grace is poured forth upon us; and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God, to which all other activities of the Church are directed as toward their end, is achieved in the most efficacious possible way." "One expression of the jealousy of this God," this covenant partner, whose faithfulness and not ours is the guarantor of the covenant, writes Gutiérrez, "is the necessary connection between worship and the practice of justice, between sacrifice and fellowship among human beings, between religious offering and the work of liberation." Gutierrez observes that there are "two fundamental dimensions of Christian life: contemplation and commitment." An integrated life consists in connecting these two dimensions. One concrete way of connecting worship and justice is forgiveness, which is gratuitous and brings about reconciliation. The gift of life is only fully realized when, once forgiven, we, in turn, practice justice. Our worship is only authentic if we practice justice, which, among its many implications, means standing ready to forgive, and to be members of reconciling community, which is the only kind of authentically Eucharistic community. Being a truly Eucharistic community means standing in solidarity with the poor and the oppressed, who are, as Fr. Gutiérrez poignantly demonstrates, formed as people by their "hunger for God" and "hunger for bread." Therefore, solidarity "with the poor and the oppressed should be a source of joy, not a strain."

I posted another excerpt from this piece on our parish blog, The People of St. Mary Magdalene, for Trinity Sunday.

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