Human diversity

It is enormous indeed, although our common craddle is Africa, according to paleoanthropologists (please, if you  understand French, don’t miss this lecture: http://www.college-de-france.fr/site/jean-jacques-hublin/course-2016-10-04-17h00.htm), and we all have the same mother from the genetics point of view. Perhaps from an inner point of view, the landscape is more boring.

That is the perspective of our Luke gospel text for this 34th Sunday in ordinary time (the last one of the cycle C: The following Sunday reopens cycle A in Advent time). So, for the most critical moment of life,  Luke 23: 39 and 40  distinguishes allegorically two kinds of persons, no more. They are side by side next to God. The language from Peshitta is very expressive. I will try to translate the Syriac version of Luke 23:39 as skilfull as possible to me:

One of the criminals (literally, “one from those ones of the house of iniquity”) who were crucified with Him (the capital letter is mine) was insulting Him by saying: “If you are the Messiah, then free yourself! Free us, also!”

Obviously, this kind of person wouldn’t be afraid by the apocalypse that we were reading in Malachi 3 on last Sunday. As a matter of fact, personally, I also think  that in 20th and 21st centuries there are pieces of information that are more efficient in the generation of fear tan biblical apocalypses: TV news, for example, and horrible images from Vietnam (when child), African Great Lakes (when my children were still children) or Syria (now) terrify me much more than medieval iconographical descriptions of hell. But, thank goodness, there are more ways to come to Jesus. Solidarity, compassion … are presumably stronger than fear. What about going on with Luke 23:40?

His comrade scolded him by telling:”You will not have fear of God, not even when you are side by side to Him in the scaffold!”

We will never know if the scolded one reacted but his comrade made the right effort. After all, perhaps the “bad” one was not so completely bad: His last cry was a sort of prier. Free us!

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