PRUDENT AS SERPENTS
Human beings are social by nature, having to form groups under the most varied forms. It is natural that groups are formed by political, cultural, religious affinity. Including one of the elements that have most helped the growth of humanity is the existence of a diversity of trends and orientations within human communities.
The problem arises when the options are strained and come to all kinds of confrontation. If we look closely, we see that the entire history of humanity has been characterized by wars and conflicts of all kinds. Many wars have been “civil”: among the members of the same nation.
The text of Father Claret, which we comment now, tells us precisely of the difficulties encountered at the moment of announcing the Good News of Jesus in the middle of a war between fellow citizens. His main concern was that the Word of God has to reach everyone, for which it was essential that he did not favour any of the contending groups. This is what he cared about; he was not especially concerned for his personal safety.
In such a situation, so that the content is not lost, a special skill is necessary on the part of the preacher, without giving the impression of being in favour of some and against others; he cannot show himself indifferent to the suffering of all. Our message, without being naive or disassociated from reality, has to be in favour of the weakest (cf. Mt 25:31-46), but without exacerbating divisions that lead to nothing.
Perhaps we are seldom called on to be in the middle of a war, but often we need to make the transition between conflicts, confrontations and divisions. It will be necessary not to forget our mission to proclaim the Gospel of reconciliation and peace and encourage all initiatives to dialogue.
Have I had to deal with any especially controversial situation? What means have been most effective in achieving reconciliation between opponents?