Aparecida 132-133: The Family of Christ

Jesus offers a connection, something beyond that of servant, beyond the one who simply bows at his feet and submits.

132. With the parable of the vine and the branches (cf. Jn 15:1-8) Jesus reveals the type of bond that He offers and that he expects of his own. He does not want a bond as “servants” (cf. Jn 8:33-36), because “a servant does not know what his master is doing” (Jn (15:15). The servant does not have entry to his master’s house, let alone to his life.

Jesus offers himself as a friend and brother. How do we make that a deeper relationship than just the perfunctory way in which we sometimes treat those close to us? The Aparecida bishops suggest this relationship requires some “movement” on our part. We pay attention. We listen. We cross some threshold and “enter” into a new place: the reference is John 10:9; Jesus is the gate through which we enter into a privileged existence.

Jesus wants his disciple to be bound to Him as “friend” and as “brother.” “Friends” enter into his Life, making it their own. Friends listen to Jesus, know the Father and make his Life (Jesus Christ) flow into their own existence (cf. Jn 15:14), marking the relationship with all (cf. Jn 15:12). A “brother” of Jesus (cf. Jn 20:17) shares in the life of the Risen One, Son of the heavenly Father, and hence Jesus and his disciple share the same life that comes from the Father, although Jesus does so by nature (cf. Jn 5:26; 10:30) and the disciple by participation (cf. Jn 10:10). The immediate consequence of this type of bond is the condition of brothers and sisters acquired by the members of his community.

And to remember that God’s initiative is a preexisting condition of our movement:

133. Jesus makes them his family members, because he shares the same life that comes from the Father and asks of them, as disciples, intimate union with Him, obedience to the Word of the Father, so as to produce fruits of love in abundance. So attests St. John in the prologue to his Gospel: “he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name,” and they are children of God who “were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God” (Jn 1:12-13).

For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in 2007 Aparecida document, bishops, evangelization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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