Verbum Incarnatum: An Academic Journal of Social Justice


Tarcisio Beal


Christianity in the 2 I 51 century runs the risk of becoming just another religion fit keeps distancing itself.farther and farther from its Jesuan and apostolic origins which must always remain as the benchmarks for evaluating its authenticity. The lemptation has always been, and continues to be, to accommodate itse(f to the ways of the world, to go for earthly success, numbers of converts, power, security etc. Already in the early 3rd century this accommodation began to shape the Constantinian turnaround that made the Christian church an ally of the Roman state and of the rich and powerful in the early 4th century. It encountered resistance, however, and the Good News of Jesus announced to the poor and the weak was preserved intact by many Christian communities; hence the many reform movements and saintly lives which, throughout the centuries, have constantly tried to return to the pristine example of the church of the first two centuries. The church's faithfulness to the Good News of the Reign announced to the poor, now usually referred to as the "preferential option for the poor, " will always remain as the one unique trait that translates Jesus' central command to "love thy neighbor as thyse(f (Mt 5: 42-48; 12: 19; 19: 22, 39-40; Jn 13: 34-35; 15: 12-17; Rm 13: 8-10; 1 Cor 13: 1- 18). This faithfulness in fashioning God's Reign cannot be genuine unless Christianity upholds and exempl[fies the example of Jesus in terms of insisting that the wealth of the earth must benefit all ofGod's children and that poverty is the result of injustice.