The activity of Jesus

By Fr. Gerald Curry, SFM
September 2000

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The Jubilee, ‘a year of the Lord’s favour,’ characterizes all of the activity of Jesus. It is not merely the recurrence of an anniversary in time.”

In his 1994 letter heralding the arrival of the third millennium, Pope John Paul II reminded Christians that the year 2000 was also a Jubilee year, and challenged us to celebrate not millennium, but the biblical traditions of Jubilee.

Christians around the world responded to this challenge. In Canada Scarboro Missions joined with the now 37 other organizations participating in the Canadian Ecumenical Jubilee Initiative. The Initiative calls Canadians to reflection and action on the Jubilee themes of Release from Bondage, Redistribution of Wealth, and Renewal of the Earth. We introduced some of these reflections to our readers in our September 1998 issue.

A year later, in the September 1999 issue, we featured further reflection on the theme “Release from Bondage”, and also presented the “Ten Building Blocks of Catholic Social Teaching” and a “Ten-Point Global Action Against Poverty”.

In this issue we focus on the third theme, “Renewal of the Earth” and establishing just relationships with Aboriginal peoples.

We learn from the creation story of the Sabbath rest. As human beings we need to rest ourselves and we need to allow the land to rest. In doing so, we give ourselves time to dwell on our relationship to God, to each other and to the Earth. We discover this relationship to be one of interdependency. In this broader context we learn to rid ourselves of pride and arrogance and to walk humbly with our brothers and sisters and with the Earth. We begin to see the Earth and all in it, not as “a collection of objects, but as a community of subjects.” (Fr. Thomas Berry, CSSp)

Living in harmony with the land for thousands of years, Aboriginal peoples around the world share with us a way of living in right relationship with the Earth.

Scarboro missionaries have stood in solidarity with Aboriginal peoples in the Philippines, Brazil, Guyana, and Ecuador. Throughout the world and here in Canada, Aboriginal peoples continue to struggle for their treaty rights to land and to a decent living.

“Jubilee...characterizes all of the activity of Jesus.” How are we as Christians not to take Jubilee seriously? In Chapter four of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus opens his ministry and challenges his followers to be “Good bind up hearts that are broken, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim liberty...and the year of the Lord’s favour!”

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