Lent, Liberation, andPraxis: Doing Theology in a World of Oppression
Introduction The significance of Christ‘s life, death, and resurrection (His liberating act) What this should mean for us as beneficiaries of this liberation living in a world of oppression (Praxis)
Lent and Liberation From what have we been liberated by Christ’s sacrificial act? Luke 4:16-21
What does it mean to be setfree from the oppression ofsin? Gal 5:1 ―For Freedom, Christ has set us free.‖ Gustavo Gutierrez says that Paul is referring to liberation from sin ―insofar as it represents a selfish turning in upon oneself. To sin is to refuse to love one‘s neighbors and, therefore, the Lord himself. Sin -a breach of friendship with God and others- is according to the Bible the ultimate cause of poverty, injustice, and oppression.‖
Restoration of communitywith God and neighbor ―Paul asserts not only that Christ liberated us; he also tells us that he did it in order that we might be free. Free for what? Free to love. In the language of the Bible… freedom is not something man has for himself, but something he has for others… It is not a possession, a presence, an object, … but a relationship.… Being free means being free for the other, because the other has bound me to him. Only in relationship with the other am I free. The freedom to which we are called presupposes the going out of oneself, the breaking down of our selfishness and of all the structures that support our selfishness. The fullness of liberation- a free gift from Christ- is communion with God and neighbor.‖ –Gustavo Gutierrez
Praxis and ‗Doing‘ Theologyin a World of Oppression How should we as the beneficiaries of Christ‘s liberating act behave in a world of oppression? How are we called to continue his work of liberation in the world? If the foregoing is our orthodoxy, then what should be our orthopraxy?
Vessels of Restoration andLiberation for theOppressed ―Because of the sufferings and struggles of the poor, the church in its evangelization should seek to urge all Christians to live their faith in such a way that they also make it a factor for transforming society in the direction of greater justice and fellowship.‖ –Leonardo Boff Although salvation may begin in our hearts changing us from within, it can not end there. It should change our lives such that we, as the Church, become vessels of restoration for the oppressed within our communities and our world.
The kind of fast Jesuschose Isaiah 58:6-9 ―Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you…, Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.‖