sexta-feira, 23 de outubro de 2015


See now that I myself am he!
There is no god besides me.
I put to death and I bring to life,
I have wounded and I will heal,
and no one can deliver out of my hand.

Deuteronomy 32:39 (read 32:36-39) NIV

The Book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament was put into writing about 420 years before Christ and is based on ancient oral traditions of Hebrew tribes. It reflects the experience of the people in relation to the Divine. In its point of view all events were run directly by the hand of God. They interpreted the phenomena of nature and political events as acts of God beyond human control. God was seen as capricious and demanding! He rewarded those who pleased him and punished without mercy those who did not do as he so willed. Disobedience resulted in misery and submission was rewarded with prosperity. God gave life and put to death. He wounded and healed. He hardened the hearts of men so that he could have reason to punish them.

With this concept of the Divine, the religious and political authorities had in hand a powerful weapon to control the people. They dictated laws and established standards in the name of God. They practiced "spiritual terrorism" by threatening eternal punishment to the disobedient. Even today many religious groups use this concept of God to use blackmail tactics in order to manipulate others.

Jesus portrayed God otherwise. God is a "Daddy with a Mommy’s heart. The prodigal never ceases to be welcome. The doors are always open festively for the return of the wanderer.

The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem is an illustration of his vision of God. Jesus did not come as a mighty conqueror, mounted upon a stead of war. He entered into Jerusalem as poor servant, riding on a borrowed donkey. He was not escorted by bodyguards to protect him from the people, but was in contact with the common crowd, identifying with ordinary folks. His relationship with men and women was as with equals.

Even with this friendly vision of God, our world is nevertheless full of harsh realities. There are forces that harm and kill, that heal and give life. These forces are unpredictable. What looks like good can bring misfortune, and bad things can result in benefits. We are unable to control the consequences of our actions.

Life is capricious. It is full of irresistible forces. Our well-being depends on our wisdom to deal with that which is beyond our control. Old age and death are inevitable and irresistible, but we can prepare for their arrival.

Given the harshness of life, we are tempted to look for easier ways and pursue false illusions. Today's idols are not stone, clay or wooden statues. They are systems of values that idolize success, power and elegance. They use schemes for self-advantage at the expense of others. Sometimes schemes backfire. In the long run it is better to live in solidarity. In damaging the environment today we are destroying the world of our descendants. To violate the honor of others by prejudice is to forfeit our own dignity. The injustices of the world do not justify the lack of integrity on our part.

The world is not under our control, but we can control ourselves. We can be free to do a little better. Our lives can make a positive difference for someone. We can at least be missed when we are gone.


36 The Lord will vindicate his people

    and relent concerning his servants when he sees their strength is gone

    and no one is left, slave or free.

37 He will say: “Now where are their gods,

    the rock they took refuge in,

38 the gods who ate the fat of their sacrifices

    and drank the wine of their drink offerings?

Let them rise up to help you!

    Let them give you shelter!

39 “See now that I myself am he!

    There is no god besides me.

I put to death and I bring to life,

    I have wounded and I will heal,
    and no one can deliver out of my hand.

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