sexta-feira, 12 de agosto de 2016


Turn! Turn from your evil ways!
Why will you die?
Ezekiel 33:11 (read 33:7-11) - NIV

The context of this passage is the Babylonian captivity about 586 years before Christ. The prophet Ezekiel lived with his fellow Jews who had been taken there as prisoners. The text tells about the fatal consequence of evil and the need to warn the people of its danger. It speaks of the responsibility of those who know the need for change and for them to warn others.

We can only guess what the specific evils of Ezekiel’s contemporaries were. But that does not make the text lose its value for today’s world. Our evils are different from theirs, but do not cease to be equally or even more fatal. What Ezekiel wrote to his companions in Babylon 2592 years ago is still valid – evil kills.

I once attended the funeral of a young person (pastor’s son) who got indebted to drug dealers and paid with his life. The plight of the evil that was prematurely claiming the lives of millions of young people and causing unimaginable disorders in families was completely ignored during the funeral services. There was no mention of concern about the forces of evil that threaten today’s youth. The opportunity was missed to sound an alert, and I, too, remained silent.

Early death is a frightening reality in modern societies. Violent death has become routine in the media in both the news and fiction. We are shocked only when death strikes close by. We have become immune to the suffering and death of millions of fellow beings through armed violence, starvation, natural disasters, torture, poverty and social injustice around the world. Greed and corruption are left unchecked. Also we ignore our abuse to our ecosystem and the grave danger that it presents to the very existence of life as we know it on Earth. We have come to the point that a single error of judgment by some unknown person behind the monitor of some remote military computer could unleash a violent chain reaction that will destroy humankind.

Christianity gives much emphasis to individual piety. Honesty, decency and uprightness of character have no substitute, but represent only one of many facets of spirituality. The collective aspect is another which is equally vital and is generally ignored. We have trouble following Jesus’ example and teachings in exercising compassion to the needy masses by acting as salt and yeast. Purifying salt and fertilizing yeast have value only when they enter and modify society. We have adopted the economic philosophy of the survival of the fittest. The poor deserve their fate!

The world of the twenty-first century represents a challenge never before seen! Despite technological advances in all areas of knowledge the planet is dying. Wars are increasingly focused on the civilian populations and economic exploitation is globalized! Every day terrorism increases. Species of flora and fauna are daily becoming extinct as a result of human activity. Global warming is a reality, and viruses are increasingly resistant to antibiotics. The secular prophets are warning of the danger, but the dominant political, religious and economic interests ignore them. Humanity is on the path of self-destruction.

Will we heed this prophetic call to "change our way of acting" and the wake-up question: "Why will you die?"


“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.

“Son of man, say to the Israelites, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?”’ Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’

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