Jesus is the Suffering Servant of God who anoints him with the Spirit. He brings forth justice to the nations. Hence, he and nationalism cannot mix.
What he himself has seen and what Cornelius has told him make Peter sure that God is not partial. That is to say, God accepts those who are in awe of him and do what is right; what nations they are from does not count. Hence, there is the suggestion that we have to get over nationalism, racism, exclusivism.
But nationalism breaks out anew (FT 11), and, yes, among the baptized. No, there is no lack of Christians who back it. They seem to feel that faith prods them or at least lets them “support varieties of … nationalism” (FT 86). Hence, it is still a problem.
For it leads to “new forms of selfishness and a loss of the social sense” that come under the guise of national interests. It fools us, too, so that we think we can grow on our own, heedless of the ruin of others. It so lures us that we come to hold as true that to be safe means to close our doors to those who are not like us. Most of all, to the weak, to the poor and to the immigrants (FT 141).
No to all nationalism
But that is not how it should be. For “only a social and political culture that readily and ‘gratuitously’ welcomes others will have a future.”
No, God does not save us as individuals but as one people (LG 9). Phil 2, 3-4 asks us: “Take others to be of more worth than yourselves. And do not look out for your own interests, but each one for those of others.
And there is a warning, too, that we watch out for all nationalism. There is the rule that we are not to speak ill of other countries (CRCM:VIII:14). And there is the hint that we tear down the wall that keeps nations apart (SV.EN V:229; SV.EN:VI:307. 308. 351. 579; (SV.EN XII:24-26. 60). For there is the wish that we speak the language of the country to which to bring the Good News.
Still and all, what counts more is that we speak the mother tongue. And this is the language of Jesus; it brings calm, guides, warns and prods. He, of course, says: “This is my body which will be given up for you. This is the cup of my blood that will be shed for you.” But what counts more is that he does what he says. For he lays down his life for us on the cross. He washes the feet of his disciples. And it is not void of meaning. For later he cleanses them and us from all sin.
Lord Jesus, grant that we defeat all nationalism by word and deed.
10 January 2021
Baptism of the Lord (B)
Is 42, 1-4. 6-7; Acts 10, 34-38; Mk 1, 7-11