As I was reflecting, it was striking me that I was feeling negative about what I was hearing. I had to stand back as I do not know Fr Gabriel and why should I be critical of him, a man taking risks and doing great work? Then it hit me. Listening to him was putting me in touch with fear within, the fear of how we can easily become outdated and left behind. If that happens, what do we do? In fact, most do nothing.
This time of the next new normal calls forth risky initiatives and creativity, or else we do face the possibility of becoming outdated. So we need to move beyond the safe shelters of the institutions of our time, acknowledging who and what really matters. We are all sacred, created, and loved by God. We show that not just by what we do in safe, institutional confines but by what we do on the margins of life. We need more than institutions to sustain us and make us relevant.
In the words of a great theologian of last century, Karl Rahner:
“The Christian of this century will be a mystic or nothing at all”
Extraordinary. To think it took a virus and an Irish priest in Kenya to remind me.
Out of this health pandemic, respect is the key theme I see arising regarding human behavior. Leadership that shows no respect for the other is not leadership but control. The authority that shows no respect for the other is not authority but brute power. Care that shows no respect for the other is not care but compulsory humanitarianism.