Doing BEC:Passion for the Liberating Kingdom Mission

(“Journeying through the less travelled road”)

Foreground:

Just before Jesus went to Jerusalem to pursue the apex of His Liberating Kingdom Mission, He spent tediously His evangelization ministry in the rural outskirts. Initially, His liberating Kingdom Mission revolved around Bethsaida, Corazin and Capernaum. This was the “Evangelical Triangle” of Jesus, where He first and foremost, passionately proclaimed to the Poor, the Good News of the Kingdom. The Good News to the Poor according to the conciouseness of Jesus is liberty from the grip and dominion of the exploitative political power, enslaving and dehumanizing the Poor in that area and in that era.

Jesus denounced the oppressive political power as much as He rebuked the slavish culture of the people, which reinforced the exploitative systems and structures. The proclamation of the Good News of the Kingdom as liberation of the poor from the shackles of slavery has disturbed and unsettled the political empire. The “tripartite” power composed by the legalistic minds, religious top brass and political lords, plotted to kill Jesus. Judas’ entry into the scene has fulfilled the “dramatic” betrayal and capture of Jesus into the hands of the enemies of the Kingdom. Jesus was indicated into a crime of rebellion, accused of installing Himself as King while allegedly instigating the people to rise up and snatch power from the empire.

The summit of Jesus’ Liberating Kingdom Mission was dramatized and fulfilled in Jerusalem, when He confronted the throne of political lordship, hierarchized religion and the magistrates of civil laws. As expected, Jesus’ mock trial ended into a verdict of a maximum penalty of death by crucifixion. Using the “pressure of the mob” as convenient excuse, the Roman Curator pronounced and imposed on Jesus the verdict of death penalty. Jesus’ crucifixion was preceded by unendurable suffering, emotionally and physically. Jesus was nailed to the Cross and died a “savage death”. The nemesis of God’s Kingdom, anticipated a victory, rejoicing over the death of the “one” whom they considered as “opposition” to their lordship. But their fun fare was temporary. Jesus death did not end in the grave. After 3 days, as foretold, Jesus resurrected from death. By His resurrection, He conquered death. He defeated the power of evil and the Kingdom of God, triumphed.

Suffering and death were the “high price” of Kingdom Mission and the noble prize is Liberation from the bondage of exploitative political power, from the grip of dehumanizing culture and from the shackles of economic poverty. Fullness of Life as Dignity and Liberty are essentials of the Kingdom of God. Such is the Good News proclaimed by Jesus to the Poor. Such was the foundation and focus of the radical spirituality of Jesus’ Kingdom Mission. And such was the supreme cost of Jesus’ death. Jesus’ Kingdom Mission has its price to pay and it has its prize to reap.

Quite noteworthy about the Kingdom Mission of Jesus is “liberation of the poor”. It also must be underscored that fullness of life, dignity and liberty are fundamental essentials, orientation and focus of Jesus’ Kingdom Mission. However, fullness of life, dignity and liberty are maligned by oppressive political systems, happening in Jesus time. This could be seen then as very valid reason why Jesus, has to passionately denounce political lordship in His time. The Kingdom of God must prevail, not the political kingdom pillared by oppression and lust for power.

BEC described as concretization of the Kingdom Mission, must likewise be anchored on this premise. BEC must have the fundamental essentials like fullness of life, human dignity and freedom. To concretize these, political systems, cultural patterns and economic situation which prevent realization of these essentials, must not be skipped out, but it must be confronted and addressed with intensity, consistency and passion. This is the radical spirituality of BEC. BEC shall be implemented in this framework. Otherwise, BEC will just be a mere “replica” or a duplication of the old traditional institutional religion, which, very sadly, has been auxiliary to the oppressive political culture, victimizing and enslaving God’s people, quite contrary to the very essence of the Kingdom of God.

Consistent to the vision of integral renewal espoused by the Universal Church, and pursuant to the declaration of BEC as the Pastoral Thrust, BEC was implemented in the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia. However, it must be underscored that not all the BEC implemented, are faithfully adherent to the framework of the Liberating Kingdom Mission. This can be evaluated by seeing judging the present Life situation, which could have been the main focus of the mission of BEC. Seeing and judging the present Life situation will immediately prove that the many BECs implemented did not create relevant impact, as can be seen very evidently in the existence and persistence of political dynasty, economic poverty and cultural decadence gripping, stagnating and deteriorating the life of many Families, majority are Catholics.

Did BEC as the “new way of being church” and or as the “concretization of the kingdom mission”, really had a transformative impact? Or was it merely used as tool and auxiliary to further and aggravate the oppressive system perpetuating dehumanizing poverty?

The following literature of experiences will present BEC in the framework of the Liberating Kingdom Mission. It is a literature of experiences extracted from the 3 Mission Journeys in San Vicente, Tagudin and Sinait. This literature of experiences shall not claim merit, will not declare as it is the perfect BEC. But it is simply a strategy of writing down the “history of mission”, so that it shall offer an alternative understanding, paradigm and judgment. “Let not be the Truth distorted”. It is not the hierarchized institutional religion which will say, “Which is correct and which one is wrong”. The God of History is the final Arbiter.