Here, very quickly, is an excerpt from the BBC’s Thought for the Day from April 5, given by Dom Anthony Sutch, OSB, the former headmaster of Downside School. After this, I will attempt to post something longer on redemption in the next day or so, and that will be all from me until after Easter. –
The Christian faith demands response to as well as engagement in and commitment to all God’s Creation. In the parable of the sheep and the goats, Christ says to the condemned: “when I was hungry you did not feed me, when I was thirsty you gave me no drink, when naked you did not clothe me, when in prison you did not visit me”. The condemned reacted with amazement and bewilderment asking when had they seen him in these conditions. The answer was: when anything like this happens to even the least of the people on earth it happens to him. Or as St Paul would have it:” we are all responsible to all for all.”
Christian ethics go beyond response into pro-active engagement. God’s people and His Creation are to be nurtured and loved. Recently I heard a story of the man who died and went to judgement. An angel asked him “Where are your wounds?” “I have no wounds” said the man. Discouraged the angel responded “Was there nothing for which it was worth fighting?”
Christ’s Incarnation and wounds were beyond just a response to Man’s plight: they were a complete commitment and engagement with him. We cannot just pass by. The Book of Revelation puts it succinctly: “You are neither hot nor cold. I spew out the lukewarm.”
The problems of the world do seem vast. It seems as if there is an endless stream of people in crisis needing our generous response. Yes indeed. Respond we must, but in reality we need to engage and commit ourselves to a just solution to the great gulf between the haves and the have-nots. As a young friend noted recently, “the enemy is lack of personal involvement”.