Friday, March 28, 2014

Love & Betrayal

Love & Betrayal

Peter the Shepherd: When they had eaten their meal, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?"
'Yes, Lord,' he said, 'you know that I love you.'
"Then feed my lambs, replied Jesus"

A second time the Lord asks, 'Simon Peter, do you love me? Yes, Lord, replied Simon Peter.' 
Jesus replied,'then tend my sheep.'
A third time Jesus asked him, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me?' Peter, hurt because he asked a third time, replied,'Lord, you know everything. You know well that I love you'.
Jesus said to him, 'feed my sheep.' When the Christ had finished speaking to him, he said," follow me."

John 21:15-19

Many of us are familiar with what happens at the end of the Christ story, even if we have not ever heard these words spoken to Simon Peter by the Christ. The Bible in its whole is a story of love, foretold by betrayal at the hand of one who loves. So it seems this particular story serves to address one of the greatest of paradoxes, the intersection of great love and its betrayal by one close to us.

In our modern, western world, we have been raised to the ideas of science and technology, among others, and to the notion that we can not only shape events but control them through knowledge and other means. In his book, Church and Revolution, author Thomas Bekenkotter explores modern political philosophy and traces its context within a civil religious society. He writes about critical thinker, French philosopher and Catholic theologian, Jacques Maritain. A champion for the advancement of social justice and human rights, Maritain developed during the war years 1939-1945, parts of his beliefs while living in the United States as an exile from Nazi occupied France.

Maritain wrote in response to the human condition: let them not kill in the name of Christ the King, who is not a military leader, but a King of grace and charity for all.
Further he opposed the growing bourgeois belief of man's chief value being for labor and what he may produce.
Maritain moreover held that capitalism and consumerism were the ultimate betrayal of the common good with respect to the social order.
It was these beliefs that formed the whole of the 1948 United Nations document as adopted on Human Rights, and still today forms the majority of thought regarding human rights and the personalism of mankind.
It was this personalism which became part of Maritan's answer for the call of the Christ 'to tend my sheep'.

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