Jesus, the Liberator

Jesus, the Liberator

Rejino Santoso, SX.

In our Christology class we reflected a lot of Jesus’ question about his identity. As you know, Jesus asks his disciples whom he has called to be with him, “Who do people say that I am?” The disciples answer the question accordingly. Jesus then gives them another question, “Who do you say that I am?” This question is very personal, in which it demands a personal answer which should come from the bottom of the heart, the core of our being and the dwelling place of the Spirit within us. Peter answers the question, “You are the son of God.” Jesus praises him not because either his answer is correct or he is, perhaps, the most intelligent among the disciples but rather the Holy Spirit who dwells in him, reveals Jesus’ identity to him. If the same question should be addressed to you too, what would be your personal answer? St. Conforti, surely, gives an answer to the question. Through some of his preaching, we come to know that, for him, Jesus is the prototype of the human person, the holy one and the long-waited Liberator. We are sure that he preaches what he himself believes in and he lives out what he preaches.

1. The prototype of human person.

St. Conforti portrays Jesus’ human as a prototype for all his followers and for the  Xaverian Missionaries in particular. He does not mention Jesus’ human characters in details which we should follow. But by putting Jesus’ humanity as the perfect example for us, he, perhaps, wants to help us to envision our life journey into the same pattern of Jesus as a human person. Jesus’ humanity is quite complex, thus we are going to pick up some significant characters of his human qualities based on the gospels.

First, regarding his ordinary activity, Jesus starts and ends his ministry with prayer. For example, when he wakes up in the morning, he goes to a quiet place and prays (Cf. Mrk 1,3). When the night is about to come He goes to the mountain and prays. (cf. Lk 6,12)  Besides, prayer purifies his project and strengthens his ministry. For example, before calling his disciples on the next day to be with him in his life and ministry, he prays. He also goes to a quiet place to take a rest and to pray. The more he is busy in his ministry, the more he always has time to pray. For him, there is no contradiction at all between his ministry and his prayer life. Amazing!!! We use to rationalize our lack of time for prayer in order to justify our busyness  {or monkey business, oups} in our ministry. Further, he prays all the times. During his ministry, he prays for healing of the sick, the blind and the lame. Even in his difficult moments of his life especially when hanging on the cross, he prays. In Short, Jesus, the prototype of the human person, is a man of prayer.

Second, Jesus was the “trouble-maker” of the society at his time. The situation of his society was such that it was normal for someone to avoid befriending of the sinners, to welcome the marginal, and to talk to the poor.  It was also normal to put aside those little ones from the society. Jesus who lived in such social condition, created a mess for those who saw him as  ”trouble-maker” and yet, he was a liberator for the little ones. He came to break those barriers in the society. Instead of avoiding the sinners, he ate and drank together with them and shared the joy of friendship with them. He welcomed the prostitutes and talked to the poor. By doing so, he brought a change not only in the society but also a change in the life of the individuals. For example, Zacheus’ encountering experience with Jesus has changed his personality. He wastax collector and, now, he converts. He becomes a generous man and follows Jesus.

2. The Liberator and the greatest degree of perfectionhe

St. Conforti describes the sinful human condition as the result of Adam’s falling into sin. Because of what he did, he experienced a vulnerable life and lost his blessed condition. Adam experienced sadness, shamed, oppression and condemnation. He could not save himself from this terrible situation. Only God himself can save him. Thus, God, the Father, sent Jesus, the only begotten Son, from above to save him and his descendants and to bring the world back to its blessed condition. In other words, he is our liberator. He breaks “sinful walls,” which keep us separated from our loving Father and makes  a “bridge” which is Jesus himself, for us so that we are able to mingle with God. In short, “through him, with Him and in him” we can go back to our blessed condition to unite with God, the creator of all.

Being Liberator, then, Jesus has achieved the greatest degree of perfection, in the sense that He is God who is holy becoming a man like us in every aspect except sin in order to reconcile us to God and to renew our broken world, which has been contaminated by sin. Through Jesus, our broken humanity will be perfected. He is the way to holiness. In connection to this, St. Conforti has faithfully followed His way. Thus, he enjoys heavenly life together with other saints. They have shown us that the perfect life or holiness is possible to be lived out in our daily life even though we all are broken. The Holy Spirit, the advocate, guides us into this journey. In addition, we need to listen to God’s word, to open enough our hearts and minds to see his will and to put into practice what we believe as the truth for our life in this world.

To sum up, what we can learn from Jesus as a human is that he is the man of prayer, the “trouble maker” and the liberator. As a man of prayer, his personal prayer is the overarching element in dealing with all his works and deeds. The more he is busy with all his services, the more he finds time for prayer. As a Liberator, Jesus elevates humans from a vulnerable place to a blessed condition not only physical but also spiritual. He breaks any “walls” which keep us separated from God and our neighbors and bridges us so that we are able to mingle with others and to unite with God. He brings a change into a society. Indeed, He is the true missionary whom we have to follow.

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