UCAN Spirituality Catholic Church News

Luke and Liberty

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Brendan Byrne

Luke’s account of Jesus … is shot through with a vision of faith. The essential core of what Christians believe about Jesus – that his death upon the cross under Pontius Pilate was followed by his resurrection and exaltation to the right hand of God – colors the entire account from beginning to end. It forms a thick “lens” through which any details of his historical life have to be discerned. It determined what details were remembered and how such memories were embellished and extended as they were passed on through the decades in a context of faith and worship. Very influential in this process … was the understanding of Jesus as the fulfillment of hopes and promises embedded in the Scriptures of Israel (for Christians the Old Testament)…

Thus the Jesus portrayed in the Gospels is the risen Lord active in the community today. The whole aim of the narrative is to engage the reader in the drama in such a way as to effectively communicate the sense of being a participant, not a spectator, in what is going on. I am the widow whose son Jesus raised…. I am the woman who touched the fringe of his cloak.… I am the leper who returned to say thanks…. This is not make-believe. Behind it lies the reality for the believer, that Jesus really is alive and that those whom his Spirit touches undergo an experience of salvation that is just as immediate and real for them as it was for those who saw him, heard him and felt his touch in Galilee and Judea….

We would not read the Gospel of Luke at all if we did not recognize that it is in some sense “our story” too. The hopes and longings voiced for liberation by characters in the Gospel remain our hopes today. Like them, we stand between promise and fulfillment. The “day” of salvation is “far spent,” but it is by no means fully achieved…


Gustavo Gutiérrez  

The God of Exodus is the God of history and of political liberation more than he is the God of nature….

If there is no friendship with [the poor] and no sharing of the life of the poor, then there is no authentic commitment to liberation, because love exists only among equals.