"In our Latin American continent, there have always been attempts to answer the troubling question about Him," Bishop Moronta of San Cristobal said, according a Catholic News Agency report.
"He has been identified as a 'revolutionary,' a 'guerrilla', to the point that he has been depicted in paintings crucified on a cross of rifles. In our own national debate, he has been presented as a 'Socialist'."
"The person of Jesus, with his actions and teachings, has always inspired amazement and admiration in many, as well as questioning and even rejection in others," the bishop said in an article for a local church paper.
"In modern times as well," Bishop Moronta said, "the question about Jesus remains. The answer given is in accord with those who do the asking: Some have claimed he is an alien who has come from who knows what planet or galaxy in order to carry out a mission.
"Some have claimed he is a kind of 'guru' who, after his death in Israel, supposedly traveled to the Far East to achieve complete wisdom. Some claim he is a great teacher of wisdom. There is even no lack of those who would say he is a myth or an invention of the first Christians," the bishop wrote.
"In every age," Bishop Moronta said, "to not see Jesus in his true dimension produces in many a reaction against the Church, who is Mother and Teacher."
"Therefore," he recommended, "more than confronting those who do not understand the Church's reasons, what we must do is show where the source of our answers is: in the Gospel, which is the Word of God," where we find Peter's profession of faith: 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God'."
"Here is the authentic answer to the question about Jesus. It is the recognition of his divine mission, of his divinity, of his final objective - the salvation of humanity," the bishop stressed.
"When somebody claims something about the person of Jesus," Bishop Moronta added, "the attitude of believers in Christ must be that which is inspired by the Gospel: a profession of faith, made without hesitation and without fear, not to condemn another, but to invite him to understand what the true meaning of the existence of the person and work of Jesus the Lord is."
"Therefore, neither a revolutionary, nor a Socialist, nor a hippie, nor a philosopher, nor a Gnostic deity, nor an alien, nor a ghost, nor a myth: Jesus is Lord, the Son of the living God, the Savior, the Word incarnate who has made the mystery and plan of God known to us, the Beginning and the End, the faithful witness, the same today, yesterday and forever," Bishop Moronta concluded.
Jesus was no socialist, guru, or hippie, but rather the Son of God, says Venezuelan bishop (Catholic News Agency, 13/3/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Bishop Mario Moronta (Catholic Hierarchy)
14 Mar 2007