God's silence

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By LEONARDO BOFF*

We live in a tragic world. Could we have no way back or, forced by the situation, will we recover sensitive and sensible reason?

We live globally in a tragic world, full of uncertainties, threats and questions for which we do not have satisfactory answers. No one can tell us where we are going: towards the extension of the current way of inhabiting the Earth, devastating it in the name of greater enrichment for a few. Or will we change course?

In the first case, the Earth will certainly not be able to withstand the voracity of consumers (by now we need an Earth and a half to meet the current level of consumption in rich countries) and we will be faced with crisis after crisis, such as the coronavirus and global warming. unstoppable (we release 40 billion tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year). We may have no way back and we will face the worst.

Or, forced by the situation, we will recover sensitive and sensible reason, as it has now gone crazy, we will define a new course that is more friendly towards nature and the Earth, more fair and participatory towards all humans. We will work from the territory, designed by nature, as this can be sustainable and create true participation for everyone. Then a new kind of history will begin with a future for the life-system and the Earth-system.

Will we have the time, courage and wisdom for this ecological conversion? Human beings are flexible, have changed a lot and adapted to different climates. Furthermore, the story is not linear. Suddenly the unexpected and the unthinkable appears (a leap upward in our consciousness) that would inaugurate a new direction for history.

While we wait, we suffer from the evils that are occurring on Earth: there are 17 places of war. Pope Francis has often said that we are already in the third world war in pieces. It is not impossible that an entire nuclear conflict could break out and lead to the loss of all humanity.

In this context, we put ourselves in Job's shoes and cry out to God in the midst of so many innocent deaths, genocides and highly lethal wars.

“God, where were you in those terrifying moments when Benjamin Netanyahu's genocidal fury decimated 13 innocent children and more than 80 people and mothers in the Gaza Strip? Why didn't you intervene if you could have? More than 500 homes, hospitals, schools, universities, mosques and churches were razed. Why didn't you stop that murderous hug? Your beloved Son, Jesus, satisfied about 5 thousand hungry people. Why do you allow hundreds and hundreds to die of thirst and hunger?

Where is your mercy? These victims are also not your sons and daughters, especially dear, because they represent your crucified Son.

I remember with pain the words of Pope Benedict XVI when he visited the Jewish extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau: “How many questions arise in this place. Where was God in those days? Why was He silent? How could you tolerate this excess of destruction, this triumph of evil?”

Job was right to recognize that “God is too great for us to know” (Good 36, 26). He can be and do what we do not understand, because we are limited. Yet Job stubbornly professes his faith, saying to God: “Even if you kill me, I still believe in you” (Good 15,13)?

Unforgettable is the testimony of the Jew before being exterminated in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943. He left writing on a piece of paper placed inside a bottle: “I believe in the God of Israel, even if He has done everything to make me not believe in Him. He hid his face... If, one day, someone finds this little paper and reads it, they will understand, perhaps, the feeling of a Jew who died abandoned by God, this God in whom I continue to believe firmly.”

We do not pretend to be God's judges. But we can like the son of man in the Garden of Olives and on the top of the cross. Jesus, almost desperate, cried out: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?Mark 15, 34)?

Our laments are not blasphemies, but a painful and insistent cry to God: “Awake! No longer tolerate the suffering, despair and genocide of innocent people. Wake up, come and free those you created in love. Wake up and come, Lord, to save them.

In the midst of this melancholy, our hope prevails, because through the resurrection of our brother, Jesus of Nazareth, our good end was anticipated. This is what gives us some sense and prevents us from despairing in the face of the dramatic situation of humanity and the Earth.

*Leonardo Boff He is a theologian, philosopher and writer. Author, among other books, of Inhabiting the Earth: what is the path to universal fraternity (Voices) [https://amzn.to/3RNzNpQ]


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