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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Radical Luke

Edward Schillebeeckx

[In Luke’s gospel] there were all kinds of conflicts between the rich and the poor! Luke wrote his gospel with these conflicts in mind. What the rich young man in Luke’s gospel couldn’t do, then, these twelve men [the apostles] were able to do.

In another part of his gospel, Luke presents Zacchaeus, the tax collector, to his church as an example. Luke tells us the tax collector was a rich man who promised to give half of his property to the poor. So we have two examples – first the twelve who had voluntarily become poor and then Zacchaeus, who gave away half of his possessions. These are held up before the people who belonged to Luke’s community as orientation figures. [Today] we sit here and talk about whether we should give over two or three percent of our income to the poor. Luke however says: “Give half of your goods to the poor!” He is saying something very radical here – and he is saying it to the middle class Church, which is what we in fact are. None of us gives half of our goods to the poor! But that is what Luke is asking the Church to do in his gospel.

Edward Schillebeeckx, born in 1914, a Dominican and one of the foremost Christian philosophers of modern time, stressed that theology ought to reflect on the practice of faith.
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