Thursday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
The social problem, nowadays
Jesus … asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. Mt 16,13-18
“But who do you say that I am?”. We were pondering this verse of the today’s gospel in the garden of the house of Castiglioncello, when an african with a large store-bag rang the bell. We opened and explained that we did not want to buy anything, but we were available simply to offer something to him. Because he insisted with a certain arrogance, we laid him off and he left protesting in his language. Then we returned to our verse: “But who do you say that I am?”, but that mishap had disturbed us and we had been no longer able to continue the meditation. Indeed, the focus of our thoughts had shifted and that question appeared to us being addressed by the african, no longer by Jesus. We questioned on our own: “It will be an illegal immigrant arrived with the barge. This is certainly a needy person. But is it right to go around pretending to be helped? Where is the legality? But he is a needy person”. These and other thoughts passed through our minds and one in particular was the subject of our family thought: “God or the man exists by the centre of the gospel?”. The man is certainly the recipient of the message of the gospel, but “God or the man exists by the centre of the gospel?”. These are questions which do not involve only the church. Even the social institutions should ask themselves the same question: “At the heart of the service is the person as such, the citizen, or there are the rules?”. Everyone should give his answer respecting his values and the role of the service which he covers. At the end, a definitive answer and shared by everyone does not exist, because no one is allowed to give it on behalf of everyone; but, above all, no answer can fairly take into account all the components of the problem. This reminds us of the parallax error, which we make in the laboratories of physics when we make a reading on a graduated scale. If we are too moved from one side we make a mistake, if we are moved to the other, we make the opposite error. If we consider only the law we are wrong, if we consider only the solidarity, we are equally wrong. How can we give to God what belongs to God and to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, if we have one only coin? This is the problem of justice currently to be resolved in our western civilization.